Can't get enough of 'Bridgerton' Season 3? Try reading the Julia Quinn books in order

Dearest gentle reader, the flowers are in bloom, the weather is fair and if you’re feeling misty-eyed, it may be due to a unique kind of “Polin season.”

We’re talking, of course, about the love story in Season 3 of “Bridgerton,” a long-awaited friends-to-lovers tale between Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington. Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton star in the steamy, swoon-worthy period drama on Netflix.

But before "Bridgerton" became a binge-worthy blockbuster, it was a popular book series. Here’s everything to know about the show's source material.

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in one of the more intimate scenes in "Bridgerton" Season 3.
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in one of the more intimate scenes in "Bridgerton" Season 3.

Who wrote Bridgerton?

Julia Quinn is the author of the "Bridgerton" series, historical romances that follow the eight Bridgerton siblings as they search for love.

The Pacific Northwest-based author has written 38 books. According to her website biography, Quinn was inspired in part to write "Bridgerton" from the romance books she loved as a teen.

Shonda Rhimes created the Netflix series, which currently includes three seasons and the prequel “Queen Charlotte.” Rhimes, a producer and screenwriter, is also behind popular TV dramas “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.”

How many Bridgerton books are there?

There are eight Bridgerton books in the original series, plus an epilogue collection. Each book focuses on one Bridgerton sibling and their love story, weaving tales of the other siblings throughout.

Here are all eight books in order, plus which Bridgerton they follow:

  • “The Duke and I”: Daphne’s story

  • “The Viscount Who Loved Me”: Anthony’s story

  • “An Offer From a Gentleman”: Benedict’s story

  • “Romancing Mister Bridgerton”: Colin and Penelope’s story

  • “To Sir Phillip, With Love”: Eloise’s story

  • “When He Was Wicked”: Francesca’s story

  • “It’s In His Kiss”: Hyacinth’s story

  • “On the Way to the Wedding”: Gregory’s story

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After” contains eight epilogues and a novella about the dowager viscountess Violet Bridgerton, the mother of the eight siblings.

In 2023, Rhimes and Quinn teamed up to co-author “Queen Charlotte,” which accompanied the Netflix “Bridgerton” prequel.

Another prequel series centers around the aristocratic Rokesby family, the Bridgertons’ neighbors. The Rokesby series follows the aunts and uncles of the Bridgerton eight in the late 1700s. The eldest Bridgertons appear as children in this series.

There are four “Rokesby” books:

  1. “Because of Miss Bridgerton”

  2. “The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband”

  3. “The Other Miss Bridgerton”

  4. “First Comes Scandal”

Quinn also co-authored two anthologies alongside Suzanne Enoch, Karen Hawkins and Mia Ryan. “The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown” and “Lady Whistledown Strikes Back” each contain four stories with accompanying Whistledown columns.

L to R: Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton, Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton and Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton in Season 3 of "Bridgerton".
L to R: Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton, Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton and Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton in Season 3 of "Bridgerton".

Season 3 vs. the books: Differences in Colin and Penelope's love story

In what order should I read Bridgerton?

The best way to dive into the “Bridgerton” world is to read them chronologically. The series starts with Daphne, the eldest daughter. After you’ve finished the original eight, step back in time and read the prequel, “Queen Charlotte” and then reminisce on Lady Whistledown’s gossip with the two anthologies.

  1. “The Duke & I”

  2. “The Viscount Who Loved Me”

  3. “An Offer From a Gentleman”

  4. “Romancing Mister Bridgerton”

  5. “To Sir Phillip, With Love”

  6. “When He Was Wicked”

  7. “It’s In His Kiss”

  8. “On the Way to the Wedding”

  9. “The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After”

  10. “Queen Charlotte”

  11. “The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown”

  12. “Lady Whistledown Strikes Back”

The popular Netflix series, however, has not followed Quinn’s chronology. Season 1 followed Daphne and was based on “The Duke and I,” Season 2 was Anthony’s story in “The Viscount Who Loved Me” but Season 3 skipped ahead to book four, “Romancing Mister Bridgerton.”

In part, this decision gives Benedict more time to develop and “let him have more fun before he settles down,” showrunners told Entertainment Weekly. It also continues the tension between Colin and Penelope and her crush that was bubbling to the surface in Season 2.

Actress Claudia Jessie, who plays Eloise, told USA TODAY she’s not sure who will get the starring spot next season, but she’s not in any rush.

"I don't know anything," Jessie said. "But I'm going to be so brokenhearted when I have to stop playing Eloise. I just want to be here as long as I can."

When is Bridgerton set?

Bridgerton is set in the Regency Era and takes place between 1813 and 1827, according to Quinn.

The Regency Era describes a period of British history in the early 19th century when the Prince of Wales (King George IV) took over for his father, King George III, after he was declared unfit to rule. He became known as “Prince Regent.”

The “marriage market” portrayed in “Bridgerton” has a basis in historical fact – the family fortunes were a consideration, compatibility was favored over romantic passion and chaperones were essential in courting, PBS reports.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: All the Bridgerton books in order: A guide to Julia Quinn's romances