In honor of the third season of Bridgerton coming out (soon I hope!!) on Netflix, I read all 8 of the books by Julia Quinn and ranked them from worst to best for you. Coming up with this list is truly splitting hairs because each book is fantastic and captivating. Each book features a different Bridgerton sibling and their quest for love. They can be read in any order as they are each stand alone novels, but reading them in order does add to the story as the Bridgerton siblings all make appearances in each book. Their presence in books that are not about their love story does not take away from the sibling in the spotlight. I love books like this because I always want to know what happens to characters after they find their person – I love to see them happy after their book is complete.
If you want to read them in order: The Duke and I, The Viscount who Loved Me, An Offer From a Gentleman, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, To Sir Phillip With Love, When He was Wicked, It’s in His Kiss and finally, On the Way to the Wedding.
I will start at my number 8 book and work my way to the best book in the series!
Book 5 – To Sir Phillip, with Love: Eloise Bridgerton’s Story.
I will preface this book’s ranking as my least favorite by saying that it is a good book, not great in my opinion, but it still deserves to be read. It also is so hard for me to separate the Eloise from the Netflix show and the woman in the books. I cannot imagine the show version of Eloise running off to the countryside to go meet a man she only knows through letters like she does in the book, so I struggled to connect to this book. Maybe the ranking would be different if I had never seen the show… After Penelope and Colin’s wedding, Eloise runs off to meet Sir Phillip Crane. Once her brothers discover where she is and who she is with, they come to the country and demand that the two get married. She’s been staying with a single man and his children for almost a week without a chaperone, so of course she cannot come back to London unmarried.
Book 8 – On the Way to the Wedding: Gregory Bridgerton’s Story.
When Gregory meets Lucy, he is determined to make her best friend, Hermione, his wife. He needs Lucy’s help to get her friend’s attention. While the two are working on Gregory’s relationship with Hermione, Lucy realizes she has fallen in love with the youngest Bridgerton. Only problem is that Lucy is practically engaged herself. Her uncle, the man who raised her after her parent’s death, is set on the match and will not let Lucy marry Gregory. Gregory literally waits until the moments before Lucy’s wedding to pursue her and when the two of them get to the bottom of why Lucy’s uncle is set on that particular match, Gregory and Lucy are able to be together.
Book 7 – It’s in His Kiss: Hyacinth Bridgerton’s Story.
This book has a heavy dose of Lady Danbury, and she is one of the best parts of the book. Hyacinth and Lady Danbury are friends, with the younger woman reading to the elder every week. One afternoon when Lady Danbury’s nephew, Gareth, comes to see his aunt at the same time, changes Hyacinth’s life. Gareth needs help translating an old diary from Italian as it is his last hope in preventing his father from ruining their family’s name and leaving Gareth with nothing. Hyacinth knows enough Italian to help him with the journal and the scavenger hunt that the book leads them on is the perfect activity to help two young people fall in love. The hunt’s ending was a little ‘blah’ in my opinion and just didn’t keep my attention like some of the other books in this series did.
Book 1 – The Duke and I: Daphne Bridgerton’s Story.
The first book of the series follows Daphne’s society entrance and her fake relationship with the Duke of Hastings. Simon does not want to be the center of attention in society, but his propensity to stay away from London makes him all the more intriguing to the young ladies and their mamas. So in attempt to keep them away from Simon while elevating Daphne’s status to men of the ‘ton who want to be married, these two agree to send time together in a fake courtship. Eventually feelings catch up with the both of them and they realize their relationship isn’t fake after all.
Book 4 – Romancing Mr Bridgerton: Penelope & Colin Bridgerton’s Story.
When (SPOILER ALERT) Colin discovers Penelope’s secret identity as Lady Whistledown, he becomes very protective of his friend. He believes she is in great danger in her attempt to continue her business of writing the society scandal sheet, after all Lady Whistledown has made a few enemies with the things she has printed. They eventually realize that Penelope’s long standing feelings for her friend and his newly realized feelings for her make a great foundation for a marriage and the two get married… finally!
Book 3 – An Offer from a Gentleman: Benedict Bridgerton’s Story.
This book is Julia Quinn’s take on a Cinderella Story and the end result is a beautiful love story. Benedict meets a lovely masked woman at his mothers annual mascarade ball and when she disappears, he is sure he will never find her again. But a chance meeting two years later throws these two back together. However, Benedict does not know Sophie’s backstory and believes her to be below his position in society and tells her that he wants her to be his mistress until he marries. Sophie adamantly refuses. But when the truth about her family comes to light (and with some meddling and some help from Lady Whistledown) these two can finally move to the country to live together forever.
Book 2 – The Viscount Who Loved me: Anthony Bridgerton’s Story.
As an oldest sibling myself, I found myself relating the most to the character of Anthony. He is fiercely protective of his 7 younger siblings and puts his duty as the Viscount above all personal matters. He is determined to keep love out of his marriage as he sees marriage simply as a fulfillment of his duty as the Viscount. He also was most deeply impacted by the death of his father, Edmund Bridgerton, and bore witness to the pain his father’s death cause his mother. He is determined to protect his future wife the same grief as he is certain he, like Edmund, will suffer a premature death. After being found in a compromising situation (according to one gossip minded mama of the Ton) with the older sister of the woman he was attempting to court, Anthony is forced into a marriage with Kate Sheffield. Kate, like Anthony, is an oldest sibling, fiercely protective of her younger sister and willing to put the needs of her sister above her own. Kate also suffered the loss of both her parents and in processing the loss of her mother early in life, she leans on Anthony to face that grief with her best friend at her side. Kate and Anthony eventually open up to each other and realize they both are in love with the other.
And the book at the top of my list is…
Book 5 – When He was Wicked: Francesca’s Story.
This book captured my emotions from the first chapter. Francesca suffers an unimaginable loss, the death of her dear husband John. My heart broke reading Julia Quinn’s words and I sobbed. From then on, I wanted Francesca to heal and find love again. The character of Michael, her second husband and cousin to the deceased John, is lovable and fiercely protective of his cousin’s widow, who he has secretly been in love with for years. The rollercoaster of emotions experienced in this book as Francesca and Michael find their way to loving each other is full of up and downs and I couldn’t help but root for them.
Have you read these books? Do you agree with my ranking? Let me know in the comments!