The Regency set romance novel has been transformed into a new Neflix series – but what is the book its based on like?

Sometimes all that we need is a little bit of escapism and romance done in a heartwarming way. This is exactly what is provided in Julia Quinn’s first Bridgerton novel The Duke & I, which provided the inspiration for the new popular Netflix series.

This particular book concentrates on the story of Daphne, the eldest Bridgerton daughter who is really good at forming friendships with the eligible men of London – but has yet to find someone who truly wants to marry her. In contrast, Simon Basset Duke of Hastings who has recently returned to London – with no wish to marry. Together they decide to pretend to the world that they are courting – but of course perhaps them courting isn’t so much of a pretence as they both originally thought.

Written with warmth and humour, it is easy to fall in love with all the characters that the reader encounters – from Daphne’s overprotective brothers to the straight talking Lady Danbury there are plenty of characters to pick as your favourite.

It should be noted that although this is a Regency set book, there are plenty of contemporary ideas that are thrown in – particularly with regards to the strength and independence of the female characters. Perhaps it is not historically authentic – but it still makes for an enjoyable read, particularly if you wish to be whirled into a world of romance.

The dialogue sparkles – particularly between the two central characters. Daphne is an instantly likeable and down to earth character who adores her family and looking forward to having one of her own. This makes for an interesting contrast with Simon Basset who has strong opinions with regards to having a family – he has been broken emotionally by his past and it is interesting to see how their relationship develops – leading to mistakes by both of them. It is honest and believable insight into a complex relationship – which Quinn writes about with great ease.

For anyone looking for a bit of romantic escapism, this is a perfect place to start – then go ahead and enjoy the Netflix series.

By Emma Clarendon

Bridgerton: The Duke & I is available to buy now.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐