Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series was already wildly popular before being adapted into a show by Netflix, but its popularity has skyrocketed since the beloved characters have been seen on the screens!
However, the show has only covered the first two books in the series so far, and longtime fans of the novels will be the first to tell you how much of a difference in plotline there is between the show and the books.
If you’re in desperate need of more Bridgerton family drama or want to follow their stories as they were initially written, keep reading this article to see the novels ranked from best to worst–so you’ll know exactly which one to start with first!
About the Bridgerton Books
Set during the regency period in England, The Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn follows eight siblings–Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth–as they navigate life and find love.
The first eight novels were initially published from 2000 – 2006. Although it isn’t talked about in-depth in this article, there is also a book titled, The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After, published in 2013.
It is a collection of “second epilogues” to the Bridgerton series, which provides a glimpse into the characters’ lives after the end of the original books.
There are also four books in the Bridgerton prequel series, which were published from 2016 – 2019. The prequel series includes: Because of Miss Bridgerton, The Girl With The Make-Believe Husband, The Other Miss Bridgerton, and First Comes Scandal.
There are eight books in the main series, which is the series that we’ll be taking a look at today, and each book follows one sibling’s romantic escapades.
Book #1, The Duke and I – Follows Daphne Bridgerton, the fourth Bridgerton sibling. She and her love interest, the Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset, enter a fake relationship that benefits them both.
Book #2, The Viscount Who Loved Me – Follows the eldest sibling, Anthony Bridgerton. He falls for his soon-to-be bride, Edwina’s older half-sister, Kate. The two have an enemies-to-lovers romance.
Book #3, An Offer From a Gentleman – Follows the second eldest, Benedict Bridgerton. He falls for Sophie Beckett in this Cinderella-esque novel.
Book #4, Romancing Mister Bridgerton – Follows Colin Bridgerton, the third Bridgerton sibling. Eloise’s childhood best friend, Penelope Featherington, has been in love with him for half her life, and he’s just now starting to reciprocate those feelings.
Book #5, To Sir Phillip, With Love – Follows the fifth child, Eloise Bridgerton. The novel has the pen pal trope. Eloise is mostly uninterested in marrying, but she ends up meeting with a man she’s never met in person before and falls for him despite his imperfections.
Book #6, When He Was Wicked – Follows Francesca Bridgerton, the sixth sibling. Michael Sterlington meets and falls in love with her just a few days before she is set to marry his cousin.
Michael refuses to hurt his cousin by admitting his feelings, so he becomes Francesca’s best friend. Until…
Book #7, It’s in His Kiss – Follows Hyacinth Bridgerton, the youngest child, and her romance with Gareth St. Clair. Gareth finds an old family diary that may contain past secrets but can’t read it because it’s written in Italian.
He’s introduced to Hyacinth–who knows Italian–and the two go on an adventure together, discovering Gareth’s past and unlocking their future together.
Book #8, On the Way to the Wedding – Follows Gregory Bridgerton, the second youngest. Gregory is in love with Heromoine Watson, but she is in love with someone else. Her best friend, Lady Lucinda Abernathy, tries to help Gregory win her over but falls for him.
But who will Gregory end up with?
All eight books tell exciting stories and take readers along for wild adventures.
Whether you’re looking for something dark or lighthearted, sweet or steamy, angst-filled or happy-go-lucky, the Bridgerton series has at least one book that everyone can enjoy. But which is the best? Keep reading to find out!
All Bridgerton Books Ranked from Best to Worst
Book #2 – The Viscount Who Loved Me
The best book of the Bridgerton series has to be The Viscount Who Loved Me!
It’s an enemies-to-lovers romance that brings all the passion, intensity, chemistry, and steam that a reader could hope for, as well as quick-witted banter and hilarious dialogue that’ll leave a lasting impression.
The characters are very charming apart–Anthony is a handsome and fierce yet damaged man, and Kate Sheffield is selfless, brave, and wonderfully outspoken–but they’re even more lovable together.
Kate’s refusal to take any of Anthony’s crap forces Anthony to grow into a better person. Both Kate and Anthony must work through their trauma and conquer their fears after experiencing tragic pasts, which makes the slow-burn romance all the more satisfying.
We get to see them work through their issues separately in order to be able to come together as a couple, and the wait for their romantic relationship to officially start is so worth it!
Book #6 – When He Was Wicked
A close second, When He Was Wicked, is an incredible novel because of the angst, pining, unrequited love, and emotional storytelling as it deals with the subjects of loss and grief.
Michael is fiercely loyal to his cousin, John, and refuses to act on his strong feelings for Francesca because of it. He settles for having an agonizingly painful friendship with the love of his life…
Until an unfortunate circumstance allows him the chance to pursue her.
Michael is an incredibly lovable character who single-handedly makes the book one of the best in the series.
He’s an endearing sweetheart of a man who also happens to know how to turn up the steam when the time comes–if there were an award for dirty talking, he’d win it–but he’s also cowardly at times and not perfect by any means. He’s three-dimensional, which is always an A+ in my book.
Francesca, for her part, is a bright and lively character who ends up having her whole life turned upside down. It’s easy to root for her as she finds the strength to cope with her circumstances and eventually rise above the grief that plagues her.
You can find When He Was Wicked here.
Book #7 – It’s In His Kiss
It’s In His Kiss is a bit different from the rest of the Bridgerton books because of its adventurous plotline. Hyacinth and Gareth set out to discover the hidden secrets of the past and essentially end up going on an intriguing treasure hunt.
Hyacinth is a strong-willed, witty, and intelligent character, while Gareth is a swoon-worthy character who somehow manages to get under Hyacinth’s skin and leave her at a loss for words quite often.
This book has some of the best dialogue in the series, and reading Hyacinth and Gareth’s back-and-forths never gets boring.
It’s also a pleasure to watch them fall in love throughout their adventure, making the eventual marriage proposal much more satisfying.
Book #3 – An Offer From a Gentleman
An Offer From a Gentleman being number four on my list is fitting, considering how ‘just okay’ it was. It isn’t the worst novel in the series by any means, but it isn’t the best, either.
It’s essentially a Cinderella retelling–which is grossly overdone–but it’s a good retelling, so you can’t be too mad at it. Sophie is a likable and sympathetic character, but Benedict’s character sours the romance–and the entire book.
On top of not seeing as much of him as the other Bridgerton boys throughout the other books and not being able to form much of an attachment to him because of it, he’s also frequently seen to be manipulative and selfish.
He eventually realizes that he’s kind of been treating Sophie like dirt and apologizes for it, but it comes too little too late.
Sophie and Benedict’s romance is also not all that convincing. Benedict wants Sophie to be his mistress while he’s still fantasizing about the ‘true’ love of his life coming back to him, and by the time he realizes that Sophie is the right one for him, the novel is nearly over.
It can be grating, but I would still consider the novel to be a worthwhile read.
Book #4 – Romancing Mister Bridgerton
The chemistry between Penelope and Colin is what lands this novel further up on the list than it could have been.
Penelope is a lovely character who has been in love with Colin throughout their childhood, and Colin is unaware of his feelings for her at first but eventually realizes how much he cares for her as well.
Their romance is convincing, and fans of the childhood friends-to-lovers trope will enjoy this novel.
However, Colin’s personality is often offputting and quite the opposite of what you’d expect after reading the other books in the series.
In the other books, Colin is a delightful character–sweet, thoughtful, and entertainingly witty–but in this book, he’s moody, concerningly temperamental, overly jealous, and extraordinarily immature.
He comes off as arrogant and spoiled, and ultimately, readers might be left thinking that Penelope deserves better than him.
Book #8 – On the Way to the Wedding
If you enjoy reading a character’s internal thoughts more than dialogue or actual interactions, this book will probably make it way higher on your own ranking.
Much of the book seems to take place inside Lucy and Gregory’s heads, which isn’t always bad, but it doesn’t allow readers to see much of their romantic chemistry.
The novel somewhat has a mystery aspect, making it a more interesting read, and the characters by themselves are enjoyable.
Lucy is sensible and sweet, and Gregory is a true romantic who differs from the other Bridgerton siblings because he wants to fall in love while they are reluctant.
But together, Lucy and Gregory aren’t the most compelling couple. Their love feels sudden, forced, predictable, and underdeveloped, which makes their love confessions underwhelming.
Book #5 – To Sir Phillip, With Love
To Sir Phillip, With Love is different from the other novels in the Bridgerton series in that it has a much darker start than the others.
Phillip’s wife has committed suicide before the book even starts, so he is struggling to deal with his grief and the guilt of being a horrible father to his two children.
Because of this, the book could have been a heartwarming and emotionally jarring read but, unfortunately, turns out to be stale.
Phillip comes off as immature, and it’s easy for any sympathy you may feel for him initially to dwindle out. He tries to fix his problems with sex and can’t seem to make up his mind–does he want Eloise around or not?
Eloise is also a lively and unorthodox character in the other novels, but her light is dimmed in this one.
Despite never having been interested in settling down before, she suddenly decides that she must settle down. And with a man who refuses to acknowledge the problems in their relationship, at that.
It’s a frustrating read at times, and the protagonists are morally gray at best.
Book #1 – The Duke and I
Finally, we have The Duke and I, which lands at the bottom of my ranking.
Daphne is likable at first, and she and Simon have amusing interactions, which leads to them ending up in several hilarious situations.
The book is very humorous but often cheesy, which isn’t such a bad thing if you’re a fan of cheesy romance, but if you aren’t a fan of clichés, then this novel isn’t for you.
The plot is predictable, which can make it a boring read, and halfway through, rather than reading it for enjoyment, you might find yourself continuing to read it just to be able to say that you finished it and can finally mark it off on your list.
The characters are shallow, manipulative, and incredibly problematic at worst.
The romance between them is hard to root for when it’s made clear that Simon would quite literally rather die than get married, and Daphne takes it upon herself to coerce him to have a child with her.
Well, some would call it coercion, and others would call it flat-out rape. Regardless, it’s wrong, but the book paints it as no big deal. Needless to say, it’s hard to enjoy this novel with that in mind.
Everyone has their preferences and opinions regarding bests and worsts. Still, hopefully, this ranking has helped you solidify your own ordering of the beloved Bridgerton books or choose which novel to read first as you prepare to step into the Bridgerton universe!
Why are the Bridgertons so rich?
Generational wealth, careful planning, and making money from investments and rental properties allow the Bridgertons to live luxurious lifestyles.
Which is the raunchiest Bridgerton book?
When He Was Wicked.
Is Penelope Bridgerton fat in the books?
Penelope is plus-sized in the novels.
Do you have to read the Bridgerton books in order?
No, they can be read interchangeably.
Does Queen Charlotte appear in any Bridgerton books?
No, the character is first seen in Netflix’s show.
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