Missing ‘Bridgerton’? Satisfy yourself with these sexy books until season 2
For the last two weeks, the entire internet has been thirsting after the characters in Netflix’s Bridgerton. With its shirtless fight scenes, sexy rendezvous, and plenty of sex scenes, it’s no wonder the Shondaland show is a hit amongst the quarantined girls, gays, and theys. Based on Julia Quinn’s book series, Bridgerton, the show sells the Regency romance fantasy to a wider audience.
If you have finished the show, are left wanting more, and have just realized that most onscreen Regency romances end with a kiss, not a gazebo, then the best place to get what you really want is in the library. More recent romance novels break out of the non-consent & blubbering girl stereotypes and many books cater to a wide range of body types & races than in the past. Here are a few to get you started.
The Bridgerton Series — Julia Quinn
Missing the show? Read the source material! Author Julia Quinn first introduced us to the Duke of Hastings & the Bridgerton clan in 2000 and while some of the plot points haven’t aged well (losing weight for a guy? Forcing a pregnancy?), the sex scenes hold up. Overall swoon worthy, you’ll understand why Shondaland ultimately picked this romance series as their first Netflix project.
The entire series includes The Duke and I about Daphne & Simon, The Viscount Who Loved Me covering Anthony’s love life, An Offer from a Gentleman following Benedict’s fairy tale love story (and no, no sex clubs are involved).
After the first three books, Quinn jumps eight years in the future and continues the story with Romancing Mr. Bridgerton featuring Penelope & Colin, To Sir Philip With Love with Eloise, When He Was Wicked detailing the little-seen Francesa’s romps, It’s in His Kiss with a grown-up Hyacinth, and On The Way To The Wedding closing out the series looking at Gregory’s road to marriage.
Spoiler Alert — Olivia Dade
The first season of Bridgerton focused on the torrid romance & marriage of Daphne Bridgerton & Simon Basset, especially the secrets the pair kept from each other. Though a modern-day romance, Spoiler Alert still rocks many of the romance tropes you love from the series, including secret-keeping and unlikely romance. It also makes fun of Game of Thrones.
Plus-size geologist April Whitter is a huge Gods of the Gates fan, the biggest show on television, so much so she writes fanfiction about it. Unbeknownst to her, her most-trusted collaborator is none other than its star Marcus Caster-Rupp. After bullying on Twitter leads the two on a date in real life, Marcus must navigate being with April and keeping his online identity a secret.
The Hathaway Series — Lisa Kleypas
If you love the sibling shenanigans of the Bridgerton children, then The Hathaway Series is for you. Consisting of five books instead of eight, the series follows The Hathaway siblings as they take responsibility for their family’s estate and their own lives. With similar plot points to the Bridgerton books, The Hathaways might best read when both the Bridgerton books and show have been consumed for the third time.
The series consists of Mine Till Midnight, Seduce Me at Sunrise, Tempt Me at Twilight, Married by Morning, and Love in the Afternoon.
Suddenly You — Lisa Kleypas
A rare standalone novel by Kleypas, Suddenly You’s hero is strikingly similar to Duke of Hastings, passionate, just, and secretive. Society girl & novelist Amanda Briars is pushing thirty and looking for someone to take her virginity. Jack Devlin, publisher and Irish immigrant, shows up on her doorstep at exactly the moment her man of the night is supposed to arrive.
If you like all the dramatics that go into a Shondaland relationship and a historical setting with a modern sensibility, Suddenly You may be the book you are looking for.
The Accidental Bride — Jane Feather
While The Accidental Bride is part of Jane Feather’s Bride series, this second novel stands out for its “steamy” scenes. Like Daphne Bridgerton, our heroine Pheobe is completely clueless about sex until she enters an arranged marriage with the much older Marquis of Granville, her best friend’s dad (yeah, we know its weird but welcome to the romance genre where all lines are blurred. You get used to it.)
If you like some of the more *risque* scenes in Bridgerton, i.e. Taylor Swift in a gazebo scene, The Accidental Bride should float your boat. Also, Phoebe’s sexual awakening & naivete are very similar to Daphne’s. Though it’s the middle book in the series, you don’t need to read the previous book to get the gist of the story. It’s romance, not rocket science!
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake — Sarah MacLean
If the dueling, horseback riding, and “will they/won’t they” dynamics of Bridgerton are more your thing, Nine Rules to Break When Seducing a Rake is both action packed and steamy.
Lady Calpurnia Hartwell (these names right?), has been living her whole life by society’s standards and has officially been placed on the spinster shelf. She decides it’s time to really live her life and creates a list full of debauchery & unladylike things to do. It’s like if Penelope Featherington came of age earlier in the show.