I started the Bridgertons series by Julia Quinn last year when I heard that there would be a Shonda Rhymes Netflix adaptation. Last month, I read Book 3 in the series, An Offer From a Gentleman. It was pretty good, just like the first two books in the series. When I headed on vacation, I knew I needed to download a romance novel on my Kindle before (the only genre I read by the pool, of course). So I went with Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, the fourth in the Bridgerton series. And this has been my absolute favorite in the series by far!
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The summary, from Amazon:
Everyone knows that Colin Bridgerton is the most charming man in London . . .
Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend’s brother for . . . well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret . . . and fears she doesn’t know him at all.
Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought of as nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can’t seem to publish an edition without mentioning him. But when Colin returns to London from a trip abroad, he discovers nothing in his life is quite the same—especially Penelope Featherington! The girl who was always simply there is suddenly the girl haunting his dreams. When he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide . . . is she his biggest threat— or his promise of a happy ending?
Buy Romancing Mr. Bridgerton here!
First of all, I went into this book excited because I already had come to love Penelope and shipped her with Colin HARD. Penelope reminds me of someone I would want to be friends with. She might be shy, and she was bullied growing up, but as an adult she has a subtle way of taking no shit that I adore. Colin is a great match for her in that he’s kind and doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. He does have a temper, but he shows it so rarely that people are surprised when it comes out.
What I really liked about this book is that Colin and Penelope don’t have to work hard for their Happily Ever After. They have been friends for years, and Penelope always has loved Colin. Finally, Colin has grown up enough to see her the same way, and it isn’t long before they get married. The rest of the book deals with them helping one another through two struggles. Penelope faces the potential unearthing of a major secret of hers that could lead to scandal. Colin deals with his insecurities in that he wants to leave a legacy, and feels unsure about doing so through his major skill, writing. Colin is a little unreasonable dealing with Penelope’s struggle at times, but it all ties back to his own jealousy/insecurity. Because I’m used to reading romances about two people pining for one another and taking ages to be happily in a relationship, it was refreshing to read a book where two people got together, then worked hard to help one another succeed in life.
I also liked this book because as I’ve said before, the Bridgertons aren’t known for understanding consent. In the first three books, I’ve found something to roll my eyes at. Colin is more than happy to attempt to distract Penelope and/or himself with sex, but when she tells him to stop because they have more important plot points to deal with, he backs down and faces the facts. So, yes, Colin is my favorite Bridgerton so far. But I DO have high hopes for Eloise after having seen the beginning of her story unfold in this one, and I immediately downloaded Book 5 in the series on my Kindle after finishing this read.
Find out more about how I rate books here.
Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This has been my favorite in the series so far! Penelope and Colin are both lovely, and they don’t have to work too hard for their HEA – they’re together fairly quickly, and the second half of the book deals with the two of them struggling together with a possible scandal that could affect Penelope as well as Colin’s personal insecurities. Plus, we get lots of insight into the wonderful friendship between Eloise and Penelope. All in all, I loved this one, and it was also the first time a Bridgerton completely behaved his/herself when it came to consent. 🙄😂 I was going to take a break from the series but now I need to know what happens in Book 5!
Update: Bridgerton vs. the books
In the books, Colin does not have a history with Marina, though I think featuring that shows he has looked at other women romantically and always viewed Penelope as a friend. Watching the show reminded me just how sweet and kind Colin is. He is easily my favorite Bridgerton brother and one of my two favorite heroes in the series. Penelope is up there for me as far as the heroines go, too. I hope that the show tells this story almost exactly the same as the books did, though I do hope Penelope’s full secret keeps going throughout the entire TV series – though with Eloise figuring it out, who knows? Penelope and Colin’s story has been announced for Season 2 of Bridgerton, despite the fact that Benedict and Sophie’s story is Book 3 in the series. IMO, this makes sense for the show. Read my full thoughts on the differences between the books and the Netflix show here.
Book Club Questions
- What changes that allows Colin to see Penelope as a romantic interest rather than a friend?
- How will Colin and Penelope’s marriage affect both of their relationships with Eloise?
- What do Penelope and Colin have in common? How are they different? How does this work for them as a couple?
- Do you wish anything different had happened in this book – for instance, Penelope keeping her secret longer or something similar?
- For fans of the show, do you see Colin and/or Penelope’s story/stories playing out differently or the same on Bridgerton?
Interested? Buy Romancing Mr. Bridgerton.
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