Millions of people have watched the Netflix show Bridgerton, based on the book series by Julia Quinn. Viewers love the sexy plotlines, over the top fashion moments, and beautiful settings within the Bridgerton world. The show has brought a lot of attention to regency romance novels, stories set in Great Britain in the early 1800s. However, regency romance novels have long been one of the most popular subgenres within historical romance.
Whether you like Bridgerton for the romance, the side characters, the diversity of the actors, or the ambiance, here are eight regency romance novels fans of the show will love. From long-time beloved romance authors like Lisa Kleypas and Bridgerton author Julia Quinn, to newer writers creating more ethnically diverse stories like Vanessa Riley and Adrianna Herrera, there are many wonderful historical romances to choose from.
The first Regency romance Bridgerton fans might want to read is the source material itself. The Duke and I is the first book in the series. It follows Daphne and Simon who each have their own reasons for wanting to start a fake relationship. When the feelings between them grow in very real ways, they might have a scandal on their hands if they don’t go through with getting married. This funny, romantic book is a romance classic for a reason, and fans of the show will have fun spotting the differences between the book and the on-screen version.
Kleypas is another regency romance writing legend. This is one of her most adored romance novels, featuring Sara, an author who goes to London for research and witnesses a crime in progress. She ends up saving the life of Derek Craven, one of the most powerful and dangerous owners of a gambling club. The chemistry between the pair is instant and irresistible. Derek tries to keep Sara at arm’s length for her own good, but neither of them can hold out against the physical attraction buzzing between them.
Patience is a West Indian heiress who loses her money, her freedom, and her newborn son when she raises doubts about her English husband’s suicide. To get back to her son, she pretends to be a servant and secures a job as her baby’s nanny. Her son’s new guardian, Busick the Duke of Repinton has no idea. He is committed to putting his roguish ways behind him and making a secure future for his new charge. But the chemistry between Patience and Busick is undeniable. With a shared goal to take care of the baby, an unbreakable bond is forged between the two, even if it is based on lies.
Marena runs an apothecary that is becoming very popular with aristocrats because of her unparalleled skills; however, the never-ending demands and entitled attitudes get on her nerves. Still, she puts up with it to support her thriving business. When the Duke of Linley makes her an offer she can’t refuse, she finds herself on a new adventure. As maddening as the duke is, there is something enticing about him, and Marena just can’t resist.
Lady Sesily Talbot has been the biggest scandal of the London aristocrats for years. She wears low-cut dresses, meets men for romantic trysts in the garden, and basically does whatever she wants. But what few realize is that her outrageous behavior covers up a deeper purpose. Sesily is determined to protect the women of London and get revenge on the dishonorable men who take advantage of them. When Caleb Calhoun, a friend of Sesily’s older sister, discovers the truth, he is both in awe of her and determined to stop her. He wants to keep her safe; yet, as the two fall in love, he must accept that nothing will stop Sesily from her true mission.
If you love Eloise in Bridgerton, this is the historical romance novel for you. Minerva is known in London society as a wallflower. She wears glasses, unfashionable clothes, and rarely dances at balls. But behind her quiet appearance is a scandalous past and a strong political conscience. When Robert, the Duke of Clermont, sees through her act, sparks fly between them. What follows is a story with fake dating, witty banter, and a pro-union plot to take down England’s unfair social hierarchy.
Lady Delilah is a young widow on her way to visit her stepdaughter before her upcoming wedding. Elliot, the Duke of Huntington, is crossing the country to visit his bride-to-be. An accident of fate strands them both at the same rowdy country inn with a conundrum … there is only one vacant room. They give in to temptation — just one night of intense passion — and assume they’ll never see each other again. The next day, they discover that Lady Delilah’s stepdaughter is Elliot’s fiancée. It appears they won’t be able to get rid of each other as easily as they had planned.
This romance comes highly recommended for fans of Bridgerton’s matchmaking storylines. Griffin, the Duke of Halford, doesn’t want to get married, but his mother has other plans. She insists he visit Spindle Cove, nicknamed “Spinster Cove” and choose a bride from the women who live there. To get back at his mom, Griffin chooses one of the serving girls. Pauline is in on the prank. If she goes along with their fake engagement, Griffin promises to give her enough money to quit her job and open a bookstore. The pair hopes to embarrass Griffin’s mother, but then Pauline becomes a huge success in London society.
For more romance-inspired reading recommendations, check out Books Recommended by Bridgerton Author Julia Quinn.
About the Author: Alison Doherty
Alison is a writing teacher and part time assistant professor living in Brooklyn, New York. She has an MFA from The New School in writing for children and teenagers. She loves writing about books on the Internet, listening to audiobooks on her way to work, and reading anything with a twisty plot or a happily ever after.