As a reader, there is nothing better than discovering a new author that you love. What is even more exciting is when that same author has an extensive back catalogue of books, allowing you to settle in and binge everything they have ever written. That’s pretty much what happened when I first discovered Julia Quinn.
I couldn’t tell you the exact date, it was maybe around 2005, but I do know I was in a small, independent bookshop in Cromford, Derbyshire (Scarthin Books, if you’re interested) desperately hunting for some bargain romance novels. (I love a romance novel, and I love a bargain!) There amongst the stacks and stacks of books I found a hidden gem – Splendid, by Julia Quinn, an author I had never heard of until this moment but would come to know very well indeed.
I tore through Splendid, loving the characters, the mixture of light-hearted moments with high romance and serious drama and the anachronistic writing style in a Jane Austen setting. It felt like somebody had put a copy of Pride & Prejudice and Bridget Jones’ Diary in a blender and out popped the most fabulous romantic mixture imaginable. A period drama told as a modern day rom-com.
A quick internet search would lead me to a list of every book Julia Quinn had ever written, and it would only be a matter of time before I would stumble across a series that would completely capture my heart – The Bridgerton siblings novels.
The Bridgerton series features a family of eight siblings, all named alphabetically, and each of the eight books tells the tell of how that sibling reaches their “happily ever after”. Each book offers something different, with everything from a Cinderella re-telling, to a brother’s best friend romance, to more serious and meaningful story lines including grief, depression and childhood trauma.
All of the plot lines are handled sensitively, with Julia Quinn’s perfect blend of humour and drama. I love each of the books for different reasons and my favourite will change daily depending on which book I’m reading.
Also in the books are a mix of fantastic supporting characters, some of whom flit in and out of other spin-off series by Julia Quinn. Some of the characters even get books of their very own.
Over 10 years after I read my first Julia Quinn novel, I still get a rush of excitement every time I hold one of her new books for the first time and I have yet to find one of her novels that I didn’t love from beginning to end. These are probably the books that I have re-read most in my life – my copies are looking distinctly well-loved!
So, you can possibly begin to imagine my excitement when I heard that the Bridgerton series was being adapted into a Netflix series by Shondaland, the production company behind Grey’s Anatomy. Finally, after years of loving these characters privately in my own home, I was going to get to see them come to life on screen.
And I know I’m not alone in my excitement. Julia Quinn has a HUGE fan base all over the world, especially in the US, UK and, perhaps unexpectedly, Brazil! The response from these fans on the news of the Bridgerton series has been incredible and Twitter and Instagram is filled with fan accounts, eking out every morsel of information they can find about the upcoming episodes.
I have recently joined an online read-a-thon group, which is partly what prompted the increase in book content on this blog. With this group, we are reading one of the Bridgerton series each week and then having (lengthy) discussions of the books on Discord and in YouTube live streams. It has been wonderful to meet so many other Julia Quinn fans, who are all as enthusiastic and enthralled by the books as I am. It’s also been fascinating to compare opinions and see how everyone has different favourites when it comes to books and characters.
Bridgerton will be released on Netflix on 25th December 2020, and frankly, I’m not sure I need any other presents. So, if you call me on Christmas Day, don’t be surprised if I don’t answer. I’ll be chilling with the Bridgertons and getting swept away in the romance of The Duke and I.
There is a teaser trailer available online, so if you are into romance, period dramas or just want to see what all the fuss is about, I highly recommend you check it out.
Now, I need to catch up on some reading – this week’s book is To Sir Phillip, With Love and it’s my absolute favourite