"Bridgerton": Netflix's Smash-Hit Adaptation Of Regency Novels

A new take on Regency romance 20 years in the making
Bridgerton Poster
Official Netflix Poster from IMDb

On Christmas Day of 2020, Netflix premiered Bridgerton, an 8-episode series set in Regency Era England (1795-1837) took the world by storm. Twitter timelines blew up with conversation over the new series. The show was applauded for presenting the Regency Era to a modern audience through its riveting storytelling, color-blind casting choices, beautiful costumes and elaborate decorations, and even the fun recreations of modern pop songs into contemporary music pieces. Fans of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice will adore this series as they are taken once more through her novels' era in another romance.

This Netflix Original was created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes, whose work includes the famous series Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. In addition, the narrator of the series, Lady Whistledown, is none other than Julie Andrews, most widely known for her portrayal of Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music

Bridgerton follows the story of young Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of the Bridgerton family who has made her debut in society and is now in search of a husband. However, most of the suitors who come calling at her family's manor aren't what she's looking for, but then she walks into Duke Simon Bassett (Regè-Jean Page) at a ball.

The Duke, on the contrary, isn't looking for a wife and is striving to avoid marriage at any cost. Thus, the two make a deal: they pretend to be courting in order to thwart off the Duke's guardian's worries of him never marrying while also driving up interest in Daphne from better suitors. 

Its premiere engaged and shocked viewers with every episode. While most Regency period pieces maintain a pure and 'proper' vision of what life was like back in that era, Bridgerton did away with it by throwing in a darker, wilder undertone. Sexuality, familial abuse, the reliance of women upon male relatives, and other conflicts mar the often fantasized time period and grounds it closer to the reality of what it was like to live in such a time.

Behind the beautiful silk and lace gowns and bustling pleasure gardens, there is a real-world coping with a restrictive society. Not everything was simpler back then. In fact, they were harder, especially for women.

However, what's most shocking for a lot of viewers is the fact that Bridgerton is based on a series of romance novels that started publication in 2000.

The Origins of Bridgerton

Original Cover
Original cover from JuliaQuinn.com

The novel that the first season of Bridgerton is based on is Julia Quinn's The Duke and I, published almost 20 years before its adaptation to the screen. It is the first of 8 books in the Bridgerton Family Series, with each book following every Bridgerton child: Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth. 

Now a prolific romance writer, Julia Quinn is one of only 16 authors to have been made a member of Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame. In addition, she has won the organization's RITA Award for three of her novels. However, she did not start out trying to be an author. 

A graduate of Harvard University, she had a degree in Art History and was studying for medical school when she wrote her first novels. She published her first novel at age 24 when it was heavily sought after by publishing companies upon auction, a rarity for first-time writers, but she continued to work towards medical school. She was in Yale School of Medicine when her third book got published, and it was then that Julia Quinn decided to drop the scalpel and become a full-time writer. 

Since then, she has published 38 novels. Quinn has multiple series, all of which are romantic period pieces. Currently, they are translated into 35 languages and are widely available all over the world, even in Japan and Vietnam. That's not the only thing extraordinary about her: she had even competed in and won the jackpot prize of $79,000 from The Weakest Link in 2001 for her aptitude in everything literature and British. As said in her official bio, "Julia Quinn loves to dispel the myth that smart women don't read (or write) romance." 

I'm a writer in university just trying to find my groove. I write mainly entertainment and lifestyle articles.

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