A Brief Synopsis of All Eight Bridgerton Books

The Bridgerton family Credit - Courtesy of Netflix

Warning: Possible spoilers ahead.

Netflix’s Bridgerton is based on the book series of the same name by American romance author Julia Quinn. Each of the Bridgerton books, written between 2000 and 2006, follows the lives of one of the eight Bridgerton siblings as they find love matches spanning across Regency-era England—from 1811 to 1820—and slightly beyond, under the watchful eye of London’s elite society.

The show takes a lot of liberties with the book characters and plots but generally stays true to the central theme of each book. Beyond the titular series, there are a few more Bridgerton books and short story collections about other Bridgerton relatives, as well as dowager Viscountess Violet’s marriage with the late Edmund Bridgerton, and extra epilogues covering the siblings’ marriages. This summary will just focus on the eight siblings’ initial stories. Because these are romances, everybody will live happily ever after. Read on for hints as to what future seasons of Bridgerton may cover.

Book 1: The Duke and I

Daphne Bridgerton is everybody’s friend but nobody’s girlfriend. Not that there’s anybody interesting in London.

Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, known about town for being aloof and arrogant, is back in town. He witnesses a young lady being harassed by a suitor and is about to intervene when she knocks out the lout with a single punch. Simon is smitten, but then finds out she’s his friend Anthony’s younger sister, Daphne. Game over! However, the two are friendly after this encounter.

Soon, Simon hatches a plan to sidestep all the women vying for his attention as the most eligible bachelor in London, the same plan deployed on the show: He and Daphne will fake an attachment which makes Daphne a catch, and Simon unavailable. Besides which, he enjoys her company. Anthony hates this, even after he learns that it’s all for show.

The two fall in love, and Daphne seduces Simon by luring him out into the garden during a ball. They kiss, but are interrupted by Anthony, who demands Simon marry her now that she is compromised. Simon refuses. Anthony challenges him to a duel. Daphne steps in and persuades the duke to marry her for honor’s sake. Simon agrees but warns her he can’t have children. They marry.

The housekeeper tells her about Simon’s horrible childhood and father. During this talk, Daphne finally understands that Simon is choosing not to have children.


The two fight; Daphne refuses to have sex with him again unless he changes his mind about children. The duke goes out one night to drink his depression away, and he returns home extremely drunk and passes out. Daphne rapes him and forces him to finish inside her. Simon leaves and tells Daphne she is only to contact him if she’s pregnant. Daphne heads back to London. The assault is never discussed again, which is problematic though consistent with the fairy-tale tone of the series.

Two months later, Daphne writes to him: she is pregnant. Simon returns only to find out she’s mistaken and it’s just a delayed period. He misses her, and tells her so. She tells him she knows about his terrible childhood and unloving father and that she would love their child no matter what. They reconcile and have children.

Book 2: The Viscount Who Loved Me

Anthony Bridgerton is ready to get married after gallivanting around London. He believes he is destined to die young like his father, and so refuses to marry for love which would only make things complicated.

Kate Sheffield (called Kate Sharma in the show) has arrived in town with her younger half-sister Edwina and stepmother Mary. She’s enthusiastic about finding Edwina a match, but because she’s in her late twenties and basically a spinster, she doesn’t think that’ll happen for her. She reads that Anthony is a rake in Lady Whistledown’s society papers and when Anthony begins to court Edwina, Kate tries to intervene. Kate does not approve of Anthony’s pursuit and tries to push him off course, but his persistence leads to them butting heads. However, they share some tenderness when Anthony catches Kate cowering during a thunderstorm at Aubrey Hall. They later kiss. Oops!

Bridgerton. (L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma in episode 203 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022<span class="copyright">LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX—© 2022 Netflix, Inc.</span>
Bridgerton. (L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma in episode 203 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX—© 2022 Netflix, Inc.

Anthony and Kate finally start to reconcile after Kate witnesses some good behavior on his part and Kate gives her blessing for him to court Edwina while the two have a tete-a-tete in the garden. A bee stings Kate on her chest and Anthony panics: he takes the stinger out, restrains her, and sucks the venom out. His mother, her stepmother, and the Bridgertons’ neighbor Lady Portia Featherington all walk in to see what appears to be Anthony kissing Kate.

Anthony says he will marry her, and Whistledown (and the rest of society) accepts the idea that Anthony was courting Kate this whole time, not Edwina. Edwina is delighted; unlike the Edwina from the show, book Edwina is not oblivious and realized they had the hots for each other ages ago. Kate and Anthony marry.

The rest of the book handles them struggling with their parental traumas and feelings for each other. After the marriage, when Kate finally tells Anthony she loves him, he freaks out. He eventually realizes he must tell her he loves her, and chases after her while she’s chaperoning an outing between Edwina and her suitor. Anthony watches their carriage crash and fishes Kate out of the wreckage while telling her that he loves her. He dotes on her and her broken leg and they live happily ever after.

Read More: Breaking Down the Bridgerton Family Tree

Book 3: An Offer From A Gentleman

Sophie is the bastard daughter of the Earl of Penwood, though he claims she is just his ward. The earl marries a cruel woman named Araminta with two daughters, and when he dies, Sophie is relegated to the role of a maid. It’s a Cinderella story!

When Araminta and her daughters head to a masquerade ball at Bridgerton House, the housekeeping staff get Sophie all dolled up in a silver dress and gloves belonging to the earl’s late mother, and tell her to leave the ball at midnight, so she doesn’t get caught.

Benedict sees her at the ball and is starstruck. They dance, kiss, and at the stroke of midnight she flees, leaving her glove. Benedict notices the crest on the glove and asks his mother about it in the morning. He heads to the Penwood house.

Araminta makes her daughters lock the beautiful Sophie in the closet. Benedict sees that neither daughter is whom he’s looking for and leaves. Araminta watches him pull a glove out of his pocket as he leaves, and figures out what Sophie did. Sophie is kicked out of the house.

Three years later, they meet again—but Benedict doesn’t recognize her. She winds up employed at his mother’s house and the two grow closer except they can’t be together because she’s a maid. They eventually get to the altar, evildoers get their comeuppance, and the pair live happily ever after.

Book 4: Romancing Mr. Bridgerton

Penelope Featherington harbors a childhood crush on Colin Bridgerton, secretly hoping one day he’ll feel the same way too. Until she catches him telling his brothers it’ll never, ever happen. She tells him off, they reconcile, and remain friends.

Ten years later, both of them are still single. At dowager Viscountess Violet Bridgerton’s birthday party, Colin and Penelope chat with Lady Danbury, who is bored this season. Danbury decides to introduce some drama: she’s offering 1,000 pounds to whomever unmasks Whistledown, the pseudonymous purveyor of gossip.

Later, Penelope is at Bridgerton House to meet with Colin’s sister and her best friend, Eloise. Eloise is delayed so Penelope hangs out and catches a glimpse of Colin’s travel journal. She is hooked, and as she turns the page to read more, Colin walks in. He’s furious. Before Penelope can apologize, he cuts his hand on a letter opener, and Penelope dresses his wound. She tells him his writing is so good she couldn’t help herself. Colin is flattered and realizes how much he values her company.

Colin tells Penelope that he hates that society sees him as nothing but an aimless charmer. Now Penelope is furious—he’s able to do whatever he likes to change his situation whereas she’s a spinster with no real options in the world. She leaves. Colin remembers what he said years ago.

Colin comes over to see her later and tells her that he thinks Eloise is Whistledown. Penelope plays it off. Penelope randomly asks him if he would kiss her so that she doesn’t have to die without ever being kissed. He does. He realizes she thinks he kissed her out of pity and kind of hates himself for that.

He leaves, and then accuses Eloise of being Whistledown to her face. She tells him that her fingers are just inkstained because she writes a lot of letters. In her newsletter, Lady Whistledown announces she’s retiring.

Later at an event, Cressida Twombley (née Cowper) announces that she is Lady Whistledown. Lady Danbury asks Penelope what she thinks. Penelope says she thinks she’s lying and Danbury demands proof.

Colin heads to the Featherington house the next day to see Penelope but finds her taking a hired carriage somewhere—without supervision. He follows her and discovers she’s been Lady Whistledown this entire time.

He takes her back to the fancy part of London in his carriage and they fight about why Penelope doesn’t just let Cressida take the credit, her recklessness, and his lack of direction. They end up kissing, and when the carriage stops outside the Featherington house, Colin proposes.

Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 301 of <i>Bridgerton</i><span class="copyright">Courtesy of Netflix</span>
Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 301 of BridgertonCourtesy of Netflix

At their engagement ball, a new edition of Whistledown emerges and Colin is furious—he assumed that he and Penelope made an agreement for her to retire from spreading gossip and to let Cressida take the credit. Penelope is upset because she believes Colin is ashamed of her. He insists that he isn’t. They end up having sex, and tell each other that they’re in love.

The wedding is moved up. Colin reveals to Penelope that he’s actually jealous that she has a life’s work that she was so good at and he doesn’t. He’s also afraid for her, should the secret come out. She says she’d like to support him in publishing his travel journals, and she sets to editing them.

Cressida realizes that Penelope is Whistledown, after matching something she says to what’s in the text, and blackmails her. At a ball held by Daphne and Simon, Colin reveals to the entire party that Penelope is Lady Whistledown (in a good way) to ruin Cressida’s plan, and Lady Danbury leads the crowd into cheering. Yay!

This book overlaps with Eloise’s love story.

Book 5: To Sir Philip, With Love

Remember Eloise’s ink-stained fingers? She’s struck up a correspondence with the husband of her late cousin Marina. He invites her to come to meet him to see if they’ll be a suitable match for marriage. She accepts and quietly leaves Daphne and Simon’s ball in a hired carraige before Colin’s speech revealing Whistledown’s identity.

She arrives at his place to find that Philip is a brooding, brutish man who cares about one thing only: his plants. He has no idea what to do about his unruly, unparented twins.

Philip is shocked to find out that she’s beautiful and incredibly opinionated. Eloise slowly starts putting his life—and heart—back together. It’s sort of like Beauty and the Beast.

Her brothers figure out where she’s been and force the two to wed. They also, somehow, end up happily ever after, and it turns out Eloise is really good at mothering those twins? Who knew?

Book 6: When He Was Wicked

Francesca Bridgerton has always been the more reserved one in her gregarious family. She marries John Stirling, the Earl of Kilmartin, and departs to his home in Scotland. At the wedding, she meets John’s cousin, best friend, and total cad, Michael. Michael falls in love with her immediately and spends years tamping his feelings down. Francesca and John live happily together, unaware of Michael’s feelings.

John, like the Bridgerton patriarch Edmund, dies way too young. Francesca is pregnant. If she has a son, he will be the Earl of Kilmartin.

But she miscarries and the title passes to Michael, who is horrified not just because he’s taking the title of a man that was like a brother to him, but also because he’s madly in love with his widow—who is turning to him for comfort in her grief.

The two begin a sexual relationship but Francesca refuses to marry him out of guilt; he declares that if she does end up pregnant, they will wed no matter what. She does, they do, they stop being so hard on themselves and—you guessed it—they live happily ever after. You’ll never guess what they name their son.

Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury Season 2 of <i>Bridgerton</i><span class="copyright">Courtesy of Netflix</span>
Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury Season 2 of BridgertonCourtesy of Netflix

Book 7: It’s in His Kiss

Gareth St. Clair’s dad hates him and is trying to squander the family fortune to render him penniless. What his father doesn’t know is Gareth has an old family diary with secrets about his life and possibly treasure. The problem? It’s in Italian. The solution? Hyacinth Bridgerton, who conveniently knows Italian and hangs out with Lady Danbury, his maternal grandmother.

The problem is, he doesn't relish the idea of spending a lot of time with the outspoken, clever, and at times, exhausting Hyacinth. But the two strike up a deal and they’re on the hunt for treasure. Will they ever find it? The ensuing search ends up leading the two of them right to each other.

Book 8: On the Way to the Wedding

Unlike his older brothers, Gregory Bridgeton is a hopeless romantic. He meets Hermione, the girl of his dreams, and enlists the help of her best friend, Lucy, to help him woo her.

Lucy’s down to help because she believes Hermione’s current object of affection is unsuitable. Lucy’s advice works and Hermione starts to question her feelings. Lucy and Gregory begin to feel something for each other, but Lucy is betrothed to be wed to someone else, in a setup by her cruel.

Eventually Hermoine realizes that she’s in love with Lucy’s brother, and Gregory realizes he actually needs to be with Lucy just before she is about to be wed. Will Gregory get there in time? Obviously.

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