Desert Isle Keeper
The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After
To celebrate the arrival of Netflix’s Bridgerton, AAR is running, in reading order, our reviews of the original nine books in the series.
(originally published on June 19, 2013)
When I first chose this book to review, I did not realize that it was a collection of short stories about the Bridgerton family; I only initially noticed that it was another Julia Quinn book. When I discovered that it was not a novel, but eight “second epilogues” and a novella about matriarch Violet Bridgerton, I kept putting off reading it. I am both chagrined and glad that I put reading this book off. I did save the best in this lot of books for last.
I would recommend that readers wait until they have read all eight of the books in the Bridgerton series before tackling this one though. This book is for all of us who loved meeting each and every Bridgerton and revelling in their individual HEAs.
The first chapter deals with Simon and Daphne Bridgerton Basset from Quinn’s The Duke and I. The next sees us reacquainted with Anthony Bridgerton and his wife Kate and the third chapter is dedicated to Posy Reiling, the stepsister of Sophie from An Offer From a Gentleman. In Chapter Four, we get additional details about the elusive Lady Whistledown and other characters from Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, and in the next chapter we find Amanda Crane (Eloise’s stepdaughter from To Sir Phillip, With Love all grown up and having her own adventure.
All of the above stories were either good or wonderful, but when I got to Chapter 6 and read Francesca and Michael Stirling’s second epilogue from When He Was Wicked I actually cried (I am glad my husband was not in the room at the time. He would have made so much fun of me and my tears). It takes a lot to make me cry while reading a book, but this chapter was just so poignant that my emotions got away from me. Then to my utter dismay, Julia Quinn made me cry AGAIN in two more of her stories. The final novella about Violet Bridgerton was a fitting end to this remarkable series and the remarkable woman who gave birth to them.
Only two of the stories could be considered less than stellar. Amanda Crane’s story is told in the first person while all of the rest of the stories are in third person. This was actually good in terms of getting into her head, but made it hard to develop the character of her love interest at all. It was a good story, just not as good as most of the other nine. The second epilogue for Romancing Mr. Bridgerton was good as well, but not great. This story dealt with the disclosure of a big series secret. If we could compare this anthology to a fashion runway show, the critics might claim this individual outfit/story was well made and nice to look at, but did not quite fit in with the rest of the collection.
After reading all of Julia Quinn’s books in her Bridgerton series, The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After was like coming home and revisiting beloved friends and relations. I think short stories must be more difficult to write in order to get everything that belongs in the story and do it with a minimum of words. Julia Quinn succeeds exceptionally well in this book. Of course, we do have the backstory for each one of these “second epilogues,” but this book far exceeded my expectations and made me want to go back and re-read each and every one of her books about the Bridgerton family.
Only two of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton books received DIK status here on AAR (although most received very good ratings). However, I am going to make a bold statement and say that I think this could possibly be the best yet as far as I am concerned. So, if you have read all of Julia Quinn’s books about the Bridgertons, go on and get this book. If not, read them as soon as possible so you CAN read this one.
Editor's note: While this book is technically an anthology of nine separate stories, this book was reviewed holistically in and of itself, and also as a part of the larger Bridgerton series.