Bridgerton, Julia Quinn’s Regency romance series, has no doubt taken the world by storm. It first captivated readers with its witty dialogue, and then enchanted viewers with its Netflix adaptation. The first season, based on Book 1 in the series, “The Duke and I,” follows Daphne Bridgerton, the eldest daughter of a powerful family, as she enters London’s marriage market.

In a scheme to secure a suitable husband, she forms a fake courtship with the elusive Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset, igniting a passionate affair that challenges societal expectations.

Both the book and series offer us an adequately delightful escape into a world of elegance, scandal, and undeniable chemistry, leaving us eager for more. But did the series live up to the book’s charm?

Viewers who happened to have read the book (of this category, I belong) have been pointing out details in the book that didn’t make it to the series, as well as details in the series which aren’t originally in the book.

Let’s see whether these changes made in the adaptation were necessary, in the spirit of creative license.

 

(Spoilers included, but duh)

 

Key Differences Between the Book and the TV Series

Internal Monologue v External Drama

While reading the book, readers get a deeper understanding of Daphne’s insecurities, Simon’s trauma, and the other characters’ motivation. The book focuses more on internal conflict and emotional growth. The series on the other hand, sacrifices most of this introspection for external drama. Visually, it is stunning; the diverse characters, their costumes and the sets bring the era to life and adds a new dimension to the story. This is an understandable change.

 

Daphne’s Debut

Daphne's Debut

Daphne’s Debut

In the book, Daphne is less desired in the Ton and is even entering her second season, whereas in the series, she’s just entering her first season, instantly admired and declared “flawless” by Queen Charlotte. This detail, though tiny, makes a whole lot of difference on how Daphne’s character is perceived by viewers and the entire ton.

 

Plot and Pacing

Daphne and Simon's First Meeting

Daphne and Simon’s First Meeting/Source: Monsters and Critics

Readers will agree that the book takes its time to build the romance between Daphne and Simon. But because of obvious episode length constraints, the series accelerates the pace of their romance, heightening the drama but sacrificing the subtlety and gradual emotional building which is felt in the book.

Daphne and Simon’s first meeting, for instance, is in a different setting in the book, they don’t “bump” into each other, it’s more playful and teasing. In the series however, it’s filled with instant chemistry and longing glances.

 

Intimacy Scenes

Undeniably, the series amps up the steam factor with more passionate and explicit scenes compared to the book’s suggestive descriptions.

 

Subplots

The series improves the story considerably with subplots. For instance, the book makes little to no mention of characters like Queen Charlotte, the Featheringtons, Lady Danbury, among others. The series, however, brings these characters and their storylines to life, adding intrigue to the plot. Queen Charlotte, for instance, is a spinoff of the Bridgerton series.

 

Marina Thompson’s Storyline

Marina Thompson

Marina Thompson/Source: Reclamation Magazine

Just like some other characters introduced in the series, the Featheringtons’ distant relative’s storyline is expanded and changed to the pregnant, lovestruck teenager who enters the Featherington household and changes a lot of dynamics in it. As against the book where her character dies after a suicide attempt, she doesn’t attempt a suicide in the series but instead tries to abort her pregnancy, which was unsuccessful.

 

Lady Whistledown’s Identity

Lady Whistledown

Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers/Source: Pinterest

In the book, readers do not get to know the character hiding behind the Lady Whistledown facade until much later in the book series. But her identity is revealed early in the TV series; in season one, to be precise.

 

Both the “Bridgerton” Book 1 and season 1 of the TV Series are definitely fun to experience, but just in different ways. In the end, it’s up to you to decide which one you like better, and if you’re like me, maybe both, equally. But which do you like better? The book or the TV series? Feel free to share your thoughts.

 

Stay tuned for the next Bridgerton Series Review…

 

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