By the time you read this, people won’t be talking so much about the new Netflix series, Bridgerton, based upon the Julia Quinn series. A check into my Kindle tells me I read the first book, The Duke and I, in 2014. It was published nearly a decade-and-a-half before that.
As far as historical romance goes, I was a bit late to the party. I’d read contemporary romance for fifteen years or so and been writing it for ten. I didn’t see an appeal to the nobility that seemed privileged and ridiculous in practice. Of course, I’m speaking of actual nobility, not the romanticized version of it. But I didn’t know the difference.
I didn’t know that there could be feminism found in women taking their power wherever they could at that time period, in claiming their sexual pleasure, in love. I didn’t know until a friend (and fellow author Landra Graf) begged me to read a historical. We often talked shop, but our conversations always moved to the books we were devouring.
I didn’t know until I found Sherry Thomas, Courtney Milan, Eloisa James, and Julia Quinn. My goodness, I ate their books up, mined their backlists, and then branched out into more authors. They had introduced me to a wonderful, huge subgenre of romance, and I was enamored.
Fast forward to Christmas Day, 2020. I sat down, determined to control the remote for a change. I had the next ten days off and I would be partaking in the Netflix series made about a family I had loved so much.
I very much didn’t expect my oldest daughter, who likes so many different things than I do, who does not enjoy romance, to become hooked. She rarely commits to viewing a show with me, for her own reasons, and I understand them. I never really ask, anymore, because I don’t want to cause her anxiety. But Bridgerton? She dared me to watch without her.
I don’t know how to describe how strange it was for the two of us to binge ten episodes in a mere week, and romance at that. How much she enjoyed it, so much that she is reading the book.
And it’s absolutely wonderful that she has different interests than me in many ways. We find plenty to connect with (video games, I’m giving you a hard look right now). But I love so much that this show made this world– historical romance books– accessible to her.
I know there are criticisms of the book and the show for myriad reasons. I am not negating or arguing any of those. But I am glad the show was made, especially by Shondaland. Some choices were made by those making the show that made these stories available to a slew of new viewers and readers. Everyone benefits from that.
Final words: if you haven’t watched Bridgerton, go now. Netflix has a 30-day trial and trust me when I say you can view this in 30 days. This was made for binge-watching. Enjoy.