Jun 8 2017 8:30am

A Definitive Ranking of Every One of Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons Books

Note: This post may contain spoilers for anyone who hasn't read all of the Bridgerton books by Julia Quinn. 

The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn

In light of the recent release of Julia Quinn’s latest Bridgerton prequel, The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband, (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) it seems like a good time to rank the eight original Bridgerton books. In these latest books, Julia Quinn is giving readers the HEAs of the Rokesbys, ancestors of the beloved Bridgertons who captured readers hearts, especially when battling each other with a rousing and sometimes tetchy game of Pall Mall. Each of the original books have their own unique story about the eight siblings named in alphabetical order from A to H (Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth).

Where do these oft-reread books fall on my scale? Read on to find out.

8. The Duke and I (Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Bassett)

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I have a great fondness for The Duke and I because it the first book in the Bridgerton series. It is a romance with a fake relationship as its two main characters decide to use each other to keep their family off their backs about marriage. Daphne hasn’t had any luck finding a husband and is tired of the marriage mart. Simon is her older brother’s best friend, and he is seriously tortured. The setup is great, but when the two are forced to marry, Simon deliberately withholds his seed from Daphne during sex in order to prevent pregnancy. Daphne is devastated and ends up taking advantage of a drunk Simon in order to get pregnant. While many things about this book worked for me, this story line did not and is the reason that this book falls to the bottom of my rankings.

An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn

7. An Offer From a Gentleman (Benedict Bridgerton and Sophie Beckett)

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I will admit that this is the one book from the series that I have only read once. The story itself is a lovely take on the Cinderella fairytale with Sophie meeting Benedict at a masquerade ball that she snuck into. However, Sophie is the illegitimate daughter of an earl and as a result is not accepted into society. The Bridgertons accept her (as one would expect), but Benedict and Sophie end up living a quiet life away from their family and show up in the rest of the books in the series only sparingly. My heart was left a bit unsatisfied at the end of this one.

6. On the Way to the Wedding (Gregory Bridgerton and Lucinda Abernathy)

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In this, the last of the Bridgerton books to be published, Gregory Bridgerton finds himself in love with the perfect woman, who is unfortunately in love with someone else. Lucinda is the perfect woman’s best friend and offers to help Gregory win his perfect woman’s heart. Things, however, do not go as planned (do they ever?) and Gregory has to fight  to win Lucinda’s love. On the Way to the Wedding is a fun read, but I missed the Bridgerton bickering and family dynamics in this one. Sadly that isn’t a surprise as all of Gregory’s siblings are married with families by this point.

5. To Sir Phillip, With Love (Eloise Bridgerton and Sir Phillip Crane)

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I adore Eloise Bridgerton. In Romancing Mr Bridgerton, we learn that she is up to something that leaves her hands stained with ink. Turns out she has been corresponding with Sir Phillip Crane and has accepted a marriage proposal from the mysterious gentleman and father of two young children. Phillip has little idea what to do with Eloise when she arrives on his doorstep as she is nothing like he expects. My favorite part of this book is when all of the Bridgerton brother’s arrive on Phillip’s doorstep to force Eloise’s hand about the marriage.

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

4. The Viscount Who Loved Me (Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sheffield)

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Anthony Bridgerton knows exactly who he wants to marry but his intended’s sister (Kate) has no intention of letting a betrothal happen and intervenes whenever she can. An intense attraction develops between Anthony and Kate as they battle which makes for an intense romance. The Viscount Who Loved Me is full of Bridgerton family antics, including the infamous Pall Mall making it one of my favorites of the series.

3. It’s In His Kiss (Hyacinth Bridgerton and Gareth St. Clair)

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Hyacinth might be my favorite heroine of the series (right ahead of Penelope). She is one of the most comical of the Bridgerton siblings, and I adore her romance with Gareth. Gareth needs help translating a diary from Italian and Hyacinth offers to help, setting the two off on a fun treasure hunt. There is a great deal of comic relief in It’s In His Kiss, mostly provided by Lady Danbury, a staple of the Bridgerton books and Gareth’s grandmother.

2. When He Was Wicked (Francesca Bridgerton and Michael Stirling)

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

When He Was Wicked is one of the darkest and most angst-filled books of the Bridgerton series. Michael Stirling has been in love with Francesca since he first met her—right before she was to marry his cousin. He returns home after his cousin’s death, as the heir to the cousin’s title and estate. Francesca is in a bad state after her husband’s death and she has trouble when she starts to develop feelings for Michael. This one with its ever-brooding hero never fails to rip my heart out.

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

1. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington)

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

While I have mad love for most of the Bridgerton books, there is something so amazingly wonderful about Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington. Colin is the pretty, dependable brother who doesn’t seem to stand out much from his older brothers while Penelope, his sister Eloise’s best friend, is a woman that has been in love with him for years. After returning home from years abroad, Colin actually sees Penelope. Their story is wonderfully romantic and uplifting—not to mention Lady Whistledown’s unmasking is a thing of beauty.

What are your thoughts? Which books are your favorites? Your least favorites?

H&H Editor Picks:

First Look: Julia Quinn’s The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband

5 Unusual Historical Best Bets for May 2017

June 2017 Romance New Releases






Jennifer Porter, a mild-mannered librarian by day, runs the review site Romance Novel News and is a compulsive romance reader. She has a tendency to live tweet her craziest reads as @JenniferRNN

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EC Spurlock
1. EC Spurlock
The Bridgertons are my comfort read; I can't tell you how many crises they've gotten me through! I agree with most of your rankings except I'd personally reverse your #1 and #2; When He Was Wicked is my favorite just because the relationship and tension between Michael and Francesca is so electric, and it's so wonderful to see Francesca slowly breaking out of her propriety and becoming a little wicked herself.
Heather Waters
2. HeatherWaters
All of these books are precious to me--can't imagine how stressful they were to rank! I don't think I could begin to...
3. wsl0612
I disagree with your rankings and I'll meet you at dawn! Name your weapons, Madame! Never will I accept When He Was Wicked as anything other than last!! Francesca is the most terribly annoying and undeserving of all heroines!!! I say to you, Good Day!!

4. wsl0612
I disagree with your rankings and I'll meet you at dawn! Name your weapons, Madame! Never will I accept When He Was Wicked as anything other than last!! Francesca is the most terribly annoying and undeserving of all heroines!!! I say to you, Good Day!!

5. JenniferPorter
@wsl0612 LMAO!!! Can we throw books at each other?? I knew that When He Was Wicked was the controversial choice, but I LOVE Michael so, so much.

@HeatherWaters I went back and forth on these rankings more times than I care to admit. Ranking books in series is not easy!
Jennifer Proffitt
6. JenniferProffitt
Okay, my first romance EVER was The Viscount Who Loved Me so that one is my No. 1 always and forever... and I don't know about anyone else, but I was horribly disappointed in Colin and Penelope's book! I liked it but I overhyped it after reading the other books!
EC Spurlock
7. Betsy Fraser
I don't know how I could possibly rank this series given the number of times I've read them. A saying that has become useful in committees (and in reviewing) is that every book has its reader and this is obviously the case here. There are times when I'd say it has to be Penelope and Colin as #1, and then others when I'd wonder how anyone could rank higher than Anthony and Kate? Although, I just finished re-reading Gregory and Lucinda's story, and how can you resist that flash?
8. PeggyC
I could never pick one over the other. I would place An Offer From A Gentleman higher. I enjoyed their moving away to live happily ever after. As if nothing else mattered but that they were happy together. :) Also, we get to see Violet go full on Mama Bear and...well, how can you not love THAT?
EC Spurlock
9. Ellen2321
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton will always be the single best romance novel to ever exist and no one can tell me otherwise. I was so happy to see it at #1. Although I would have placed An Offer From A Gentleman at #2. It was the first Bridgerton book I ever read and I just loved Benedict.
EC Spurlock
10. LibbyWaterford
Love this topic...and I love your #1 and #2 choices. Those are my personal favorites of the series. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton is one of my all-time-favorite books ever. But An Offer From a Gentleman totally needs to be higher. It was also the first Julia Quinn novel I read, and I've reread it almost as many times as Romancing Mr. Bridgerton and When He Was Wicked. So good! I also forget how good Eloise's story is. And Kate and Daphne's stories are great, too, but I don't reread them as often. Ugh. The whole series is just fantastic.
EC Spurlock
11. twink
I also have to disagree with your rankings. Mine are:

8. It's In His Kiss
7. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
6. An Offer from a Gentleman
5. To Sir Phillip with Love
4. On the Way to the Wedding (Heart-wrenching.)
3. The Duke and I (Oh, Simon...)
2. The Viscount Who Loved Me (So close to #1. I reread this one a LOT.)
1. When He Was Wicked (Haunting, Erotic...Just so different from anything JQ has ever written!)

Each book is so different that it is natural that we would all disagree. This series truly has something for every historical romance lover!
EC Spurlock
12. librarianmillie
I almost agree with all of this! I love Romancing Mr. Bridgerton; it's definitely my favorite. I am glad someone agrees with me! I find The Duke and I super problematic, because of how Daphne takes advantage of Simon.

While I really enjoy The Viscount Who Loved Me, I'm putting it at number 4. It's erotic and sensual, but does not have the feel of a Julia Quinn novel. I love her plucky and witty heroines. With that said, give me Kate, Hyacinth, and Penelope any day!

Here are my rankings:

8. The Duke and I
7. On the Way to the Wedding
6. An Offer from a Gentleman
5. To Sir Phillip with Love
4. When He Was Wicked
3. It's in His Kiss
2. The Viscount Who Loved Me
1. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
EC Spurlock
13. bookaday19
I can't imagine anyone not loving Kate and Anthony and the antics in their book enough to rank it #1 (it ranks in my top 10 favorite historical romances of all time). When I first read Romancing Mr. Bridgerton I was disappointed; subsequent readings made me love it (it's essentially a redo of Kate and Anthony in so many scenes, from Pall Mall to the intimate scenes - these are the only two from the series I reread pretty much yearly). I have absolutely no recolleciton of It's In His Kiss - must have not been that good to me. Ditto On The Way To The Wedding - the only thing I remember about that one is the epilogue. The biggest drawback of To Sir Philip is we missed out on Eloise learning the truth about Penelope - a huge mistake, IMO. Probably would have loved Francesca's book more but she was essentially a stranger when her book came out as she didn't exist in most of the others before hers.

8. It's In His Kiss (maybe need a reread of this one)
7. On The Way To The Wedding
6. The Duke And I
5. To Sir Philip With Love
4. When He Was Wicked
3. An Offer From A Gentleman
2. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
1. The Viscount Who Loved Me
EC Spurlock
14. Debbie S.
Love seeing everyone's opinions. I'd have to rank The Viscount Who Loved Me as my #1 pick. I loved both Anthony and Kate and it was the first book I read in this series. Then it's a close 2nd and 3rd between Colin and Benedict's story. I have to admit Francesca's or Eloise's stories as my least favorite which is sad because I was so looking forward to Eloise's story.
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