Bridgerton: The Duke and I

The inspiration for season one 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, but there’s a reason the book is always better, even if the adaptation is solid. That reason is 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.

That comparison being made, 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 & 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 of the mamas who parade their own daughters before him in hopes of a match with a duke.

It doesn’t take the reader very long to realize that try as they might to just stay friends, Simon and Daphne are fooling themselves. Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor – Simon Basset and Daphne Bridgerton respectively, of course – have some really steamy onscreen chemistry, but that 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 as it does if it relied solely on the development of relationships. They needed to show Simon and Daphne as their own people in order for the audience to truly care about them. If they’d been together as a couple from the 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 ton’s latest events, there are plenty of people in the ton she can use as secondhand 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.


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