Staff Review – Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

Dearest Gentle Reader, have you taken the time to binge through part 1 of the latest season of "Bridgerton" on Netflix? Season 3 is upon us, which means it's time for Colin and Penelope's story. While their story is season 3 of the show, it's the 4th in the book series following the Bridgerton siblings as they find love and marriage (the show is skipping over Benedict's story, for now). While the show grows in popularity, this review will focus on the novel by Julia Quinn. It's 1824, and Colin Bridgerton has returned from his time abroad in Greece. Could this be the year Mr. Bridgerton finally finds a wife? And was his longtime friend Penelope Featherington always so compelling, interesting and, well, beautiful?

Of all of the Bridgerton novels I've read so far (6 out of 8), "Romancing Mr. Bridgerton" has been my favourite. This is the first novel in the series where the love interests knew each other prior to their novel beginning. This friends-to-lovers romance really worked well for me - while Penelope is a big part of the TV series, the Featheringtons aren't major characters in the novels, so we don't actually know too much about Penelope at this point. However, since we did see her over the novels, it was nice to learn more about this great character, and see her relationship with Colin blossom. In both the show and novels, Penelope has been secretly in love with Colin for some time, but she is much more than a sad woman out of the spotlight. While readers know Colin better at this point, taking center stage in the marriage mart gives him a different perspective. As with most of Quinn's historical fiction novels, this book is steamy and spicy - don't worry, there's a carriage scene in both the book and the show (if you know, you know)! 

Another difference between the show and books is, at this point in the book series, the reader (and characters) do not know who Lady Whistledown is. This is, of course, a spoiler free review, so no secrets will be revealed here. Lady Whistledown's identity does come to light in this novel, and personally, I prefer the reveal in the book to the way it was done on the TV show. I was glad the secret was kept longer and revealed to less people (until it was revealed to everyone). I also loved the interactions between the Bridgerton siblings - especially when they are all together, the siblings are witty, snarky and altogether entertaining to read. While the books are a series, they can be read as stand-alone novels as well, so be sure to pick up Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn today!