Books to movies – Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
The second season of Bridgerton is approaching at a quick pace and those waiting for it to start, including myself, are getting antsy. How to solve this? Read the books, of course.
But, wait! Books?!? But Bridgerton is a TV series!
Most viewers know that already, but Bridgerton is based on a series of books written by Julia Quinn some 2 decades ago (!). The Duke and I and The Viscount Who Loved Me were both released in 2000 and were incredibly successful among the readers. However, their sale skyrocketed in late 2020 when, amid Covid lockdowns and restrictions, Netflix released a series based upon the first title in the series, The Duke and I.
Like many romantic novels set in this period, it’s all about white nobility in Regency England, the need for an heir, proper behavior and the wish for something different. As a representation of that time in our history, it’s a great romance novel and I would (and still do!) recommend it to any person interested in this kind of literature.
Making it work on film
But what do you do when society has changed so much that actually having a only white cast would make filming it impossible? Not to say absurd. How do you solve the dilemma of wanting to be diverse and give all people equal rights and opportunity? Shondaland came up with a wonderful idea and an even better solution: Let’s make this whole story more ‘modern’. Let’s make people as equal as possible within the possibilities presented by nobility in England. Let’s make it work.
And work it did! This new, experimental recipe turned out to be successful, thanks to great show runner, wonderful writers and very. What might work on paper but not on screen has been masterfully transformed in the first season, and we can only hope for more of the same expertise for the second.
As mentioned above, the TV series is based on a series of books written by Julia Quinn between 2000 and 2008, plus an ‘extra’ title released in 2013. Julia Quinn wrote many other books about this historical period including many of the secondary characters from this series – all books very well-written within the genre.
The first season of Bridgerton tells the story of Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Bassett, the rakish Duke of Hastings, and it’s based almost entirely on The Duke and I.
The second season features Anthony Bridgerton, an unwilling viscount in need of a wife, and Kate Sheffield, in theory the opposite of whom Anthony would want as a viscountess. This season will be based on The Viscount Who Loved Me, but I believe it will probably have elements from later books, as well as more scenes about characters only mentioned in some passages in the books.
Combining book and film
I can’t say enough how impressed I am with all Shondaland did with this series. I’ve heard many complains about the fact that there were no black nobles in Regency times, that people should not change books that much and such. I’ll leave their opinion to them, but I confess I really loved their adaptation. It’s not a literal translation, but an interpretation of an original written in a certain time, to a more modern and “up-to-date” setting.
But even though the TV series is not a perfect adaptation of the book series, they are both great to see and read in its own right. We cannot judge one by comparing it to the other, because we should not forget they represent two very different media and could never be the same.
I love film and series, and enjoy watching themoften, but books are still my first love. So I might love all those adaptations, or love to hate them (as happens MANY times…), but I’d still rather read the book and maybe watch the film later.
What would you rather do?
Read on and remember: go check our website, or get in touch with us at one of our stores.
Quarteto Smythe-Smith – DF
Bridgerton by Julia Quinn in reading order:
The Duke and I
The Viscount Who Loved Me
An Offer From a Gentleman
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
To Sir Phillip, With Love
When He Was Wicked
It’s in His Kiss
On the Way to the Wedding
Happily Ever After