The inspiration for the first season of the Netflix series, Bridgerton:  The Duke and I by Julia Quinn details the complicated relationship of Daphne Bridgerton, the fourth child and eldest daughter of the Bridgerton family, and Simon Basset, the reluctant Duke of Hastings who also happens to be Daphne’s oldest brother Anthony’s best friend.

Netflix pulled off another solid in its adaptation, but there’s a reason the book is always better: simply more details.  So many more juicy details.  Fellow New York Times bestselling author Jill Barnett describes Quinn as “Truly our contemporary Jane Austen,” and she’s not wrong.

However, Bridgerton:  The Duke and I may not be the Austen-esque novel the reader is expecting.  That’s because it’s not a true enemies-to-lovers story like Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  Daphne and Simon’s relationship begins as one of convenience — Daphne is sick and tired of her mother parading her around the marriage market at one party after another, and Simon gets to avoid all the mamas who parade their own daughters in front of him in hopes of a match with the duke.

It doesn’t take the reader very long to realize that try as they might to just stay friends, Daphne and Simon are fooling themselves.  Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dnyevor — Simon Basset and Daphne Bridgerton respectively, of course — have some really steamy on-screen chemistry, but body language can only tell the audience so much.

That’s probably why Netflix expanded the plot.  After all, the show wouldn’t have as much depth if it relied solely on the development of their relationship in the book.  They needed to show Daphne and Simon as individuals in order for the audience to truly care about them.  If they’d been together as a couple from the very first scene, one never leaving the other’s side, it probably wouldn’t be a very interesting show.

The book makes the romance interesting by adding Lady Whistledown, a gossip columnist who writes using a pseudonym.  No one in her real life knows who she is, but she knows everything about everyone else.  And if she doesn’t have a firsthand account of the town’s latest events, she has plenty of people in the ton she can use as second hand sources — the latest, hottest gossip always travels fast. 

If this first book is any indication, the rest of the books in the series won’t disappoint.


by Julia Quinn

Avon (Media Tie In, Reprint edition)

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