The Duke and I

With the massive success of the Bridgerton series on Netflix (63 million views and counting), and the inevitable controversy that has sprung up as a result, I had to go back and read the book that the series is based on. And, since Valentine’s Day is this month, what better than a Regency romance for this month’s book club pick.

Bridgerton is a series of eight books by American author, Julia Quinn. As is often the case with romance novels, the series is focused around a family of siblings, each one getting his or her own love story.

Book one, The Duke & I, focuses on the relationship between the eldest Bridgerton daughter, Daphne, and Simon, the Duke of Hastings. In terms of Regency romances, this one has all the expected elements; an eligible rich bachelor, lots of balls and dances, and a maiden who simply must marry. For the most part, it’s exactly what a reader would expect from the genre. That said, Quinn’s novel is not as chaste as most Regencies so if you’re looking for a sweet romance, this isn’t it.

This brings me to the Netflix series, produced by Shondaland. Shonda Rhimes (founder, writer, producer), is known for innovating stories so the changes she’s made to Quinn’s original work are, in my opinion, right on brand.

Of course, storytelling isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of deal, so there’ll always be die hard fans and harsh critics. That just something we get used to in this business. The one comment that has me scratching my head is that the film version relies on fantasy and therefore isn’t historically accurate.

Well pardon me all to pieces, but the last I checked nobody ever picked up a period romance to get a history lesson. We read it to escape the mundane. It is, by its very nature, fantastical. It’s entertainment. It’s anything but reality.

I mean, come on. What are the chances that someone we know will introduce us to a Duke who thinks that our flaws are charming?

Sometimes, you’ve got to relax and have a little fun and what better way than with the Bridgerton series of novels?

Audiobook Review

The entire Bridgerton audiobook series is narrated by Rosalyn Landor who does an excellent job with the voices. Quite often when women do men’s voices, or men do women’s voices, it sounds … odd. Not so with Rosalyn Landor. Two thumbs up!

Note: If there are little ears around, you’ll want to use headphones.

About the author 

Valerie Francis

Valerie Francis is a bestselling author, literary editor, and podcaster with a passion for stories by, for and about women.

Each month, Valerie recommends books from literature’s best female authors. Selections come from every genre because women write, and read, in every genre. The Women’s Fiction category offers up some terrific novels, but these days there’s a strong female presence in thriller, horror, crime, and other genres traditionally dominated by male writers. No matter what the publishing companies may think, in the 21st Century, Women’s Fiction is whatever we want it to be.

stories for women, by women, and about women