I just read that Bridgerton season 3 will not be Benedict’s story but rather be about Penelope and Colin! I’m so excited!
That makes sense. Now that Eloise knows, if Colin’s going to help Pen deal with the ton, it’s time.
I finally saw the official confirmation of this and I’m the opposite. The actor who plays Colin has, to me, all the charisma of wilted lettuce, and he and Nicola Coughlin have no chemistry whatsoever. I will also confess to hoping that the series would have the courage to work with the insane chemistry Coughlin HAS had with Claudia Jessie (Eloise) – it’s not like they’re meticulously following the books anyway. Why not give us a happy lesbian story?
Basically the only thing in this season I’m at all interested in is seeing Kate step into being Viscountess Bridgerton. I really loved the actress and I’d like to see the character grow
I agree that Colin and Pen have little chemistry. But Eloise has chemistry off the charts with her printer dude–I think imagining her with Pen is somewhat offbase given Eloise’s interest in this young man.
I hope that in the same way the show rehabilitated Anthony, they’ll make Colin hot somehow. It could happen.
My sense–which is worth nothing–is that Shonda isn’t really interested in Bridgerton at this point. The new show about Queen Charlotte seems to have a lot more buzz.
I’m with you about rehabilitating Colin. I didn’t like Anthony at all in Season 1 but loved him in Season 2. Penelope has been a star throughout both seasons so we need someone worthy of her. I so hope they can get Colin to where he needs to be!
What a load of CRAP!
Ridiculous and pathetic. Netflix’s diversity agenda bores me and more. This series Says once again More about the US-American society or better its ill relation with ethnicity than about the time it is supposed to portray. It’s not only ridiculous and pathetic – it’s dangerous, for it plays down the omnipresence of the most horrible racism of the so-called Western World in the 19th century. A time when blacks were exhibited to the fine European aristocracy like animals in zoos. And exploited and enslaved and hunted down in the colonies. Now, why don’t go a step further and make a “romantic” series about a black SS-officer falling in love with a transgender Jew of Chinese heritage in Nazi Germany during the late 1930s? Hey, in the end it is only romantic fiction, right? Who cares about a little bit of historical accuracy?
Season 2 reviews are coming in. Here’s a really positive one from Entertainment Weekly:
I cannot wait for this! It looks like it is going to be a slow burn of the most delicious type;)
I wonder if Eloise will have a different suitor than she does in the books. That would make sense given Season one.
I don’t think they’ll introduce her suitor just yet. My speculation is that it’ll still be Sir Phillip, but that they’ll change the actor. Netflix has done that before with To All The Boys.
This is why I wondered:
Anthony’s feisty sister Eloise (Claudia Jessie) is still on a mission to uncover the true author’s identity — who viewers know to be Eloise’s brilliant but perpetually underestimated best friend, Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) — though it results in a more nuanced and substantive storyline for each character this season. Eloise’s investigation leads her to cross paths with Theo Sharpe (Calam Lynch), a working-class intellectual who shares her progressive ideas.
Ooh good point! Theo might be a good fit for Eloise actually, particularly if he shares her progressive ideas. I did however love her pairing with Sir Phillip – so it’ll be a little sad if that goes ahead.
What they SHOULD do is give up and let Eloise hook up with Penelope because those two want each other so bad.
It returns on March 25th!!!
Season Two trailer is here!!!
We are thrilled Anthony and his sideburns are a thing of the past!
She’s lovely and Anthony is looking good- but did they just decide that they weren’t going to put obvious makeup on the ladies this season? It looked like she was missing her lipstick. As they are still going with the sequined gowns and Claire’s sparkly tiaras they really shouldn’t shy away from a little lip rouge.
I will of course be watching it as soon as it hits Netflix so I can both compliment it and complain about it as needs be.
I’m really, really hoping the humor from the book translates to the screen!
Dumb storyline. Daphne bridgerton is a selfish, entitled, gaslighting bitch!
I love the visuals of the aristocrats in bridgerton! And the inclusion of black aristocrats! I made a painting that falls in that realm https://www.etsy.com/listing/886296552/our-lady-archival-matte-paper-print-10-x?ref=shop_home_feat_1&frs=1
Your painting is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.
Could Dr.Jackson Avery replace the former Duke of Hastings on the series??
And there are all new covers for the books–think these are the actual actors?
Fun article from Nicola Coughlan about women in TV. I do wonder at the use of the word romance, however, to refer to the friendship between Eloise and Penelope.
I just love all the quotable lines from the show! I thought I’d put this here for any other major fans!
OK. This is totally off color but Kate McKinnon is always on fire.
Phoebe did an excellent portrayal of Daphne’s innocence. She is as cute as can be and even her facial expressions were outstanding. So glad she kept it professional with Mr. Page. He is high risk as far as a relationship, and if he could resist her adorableness, then all the more credit to her. His “live in” certainly isn’t impressive appearance wise. . Phoebe should be as recognized as her costar.
I just finished binge watching the first season. Wow. I am currently in a 27 yr long marriage in which my h has an addiction and he loves me and I love him but my trust has been decimated. As Daphne and Simon’s marriage got worse and worse based on a sincere but proud foolish vow he made, I so so so completely identified with the brokenness and the further and further growing chasm. My heart so identified and mourned with and grieved the loss and pain and fear and need for safety they both felt and had. My feelings could not have been reflected more truly and I will never forget this masterpiece. Sigh.
As a South Asian woman, I’m so excited about this news! I have never ever seen a woman who looks like me in period dramas:) She looks perfect, she has that ‘don’t mess with me look’, which is quintessentially Kate!
I’m excited too!
I’m excited that this means that her family will be South Asian actors/actresses as well – once Kate is cast, that opens up more roles. Of course, it’s going to be a challenge to cast Edwina, because… who is going to be a believable “jewel” compared with this stunning woman? It’s going to be like Bride and Prejudice where Aishwarya Rai was supposed to be less gorgeous than Jaya :)
It’s like you read my mind! I was coming to post exactly what you said above. I immediately thought of Bride and Prejudice as well. How can you find someone more beautiful than Aishwarya?
It makes sense they changed the last name and that the entire family will be South Asian (presumably). IMHO it wouldn’t have sat right if Edwina was a different ethnicity but was touted as the “ beautiful” one. This seems like a better decision.
Yes, it will definitely be like Bride and Prejudice – to be fair, all of the South Asian (British) actresses that I know of are as stunning! Before Simone Ashely was cast, I told my husband that they’ll have a hard job casting someone for Kate, who is believably less beautiful than Edwina because there are so few South Asian British actresses, and they are usually all gorgeous lol. I suppose I felt the same away about the BBC adaptation of Pride Prejudice,I thought Jennifer Ehle outshone the actress playing Jane.
Yes, I thought Jennifer Ehle outshone Susanna Harker as well. It seems very common with P&P. In the Keira Knightly version you could argue that it was equal as both actresses are very beautiful. Same with P&P and Zombies. Both gorgeous women so it’s really a matter of taste.
The actress playing Jaya in B&P was gorgeous but who can outshine Aishwarya? I find myself just looking at her exclusively whenever she is on the screen. She’s one of those actresses I find beautiful and interesting to look at (which doesn’t always happen in combination).
Well at least we can take credit for giving the Bridgerton casting people the idea of looking for a South Asian actress for Kate, Lol. Just kidding of course but it gives me hope they are on the right track for season two.
Might it be that Kate’s family is not South Asian? In the book, Kate’s father is dead and Edwina and her mother are Kate’s half-sister and stepmother. But my hope is that they simplify and make it mother/full sisters and all are South Asian!
Ooh good point Manjari! I completely forgot about that.
Perhaps they will take Regency preferences for delicate, doll-like features and a certain demure way of holding oneself as “more beautiful” than a more commanding countenance and movement pattern? That way, both actresses are gorgeous to our eyes but one is more “regency-attractive” in those ways??
I loved that several ethnic backgrounds were represented. I also wish it was that way in our day to day lives everywhere!
This cracks me up. I am Lady Dabney Frescaton of Tesla. (from https://www.reddit.com/r/BridgertonNetflix/comments/l4n426/fun_gamecreate_your_bridgerton_name/)
Lady Walters Coffeeton of Honda. (I never actually had a middle name, I just use my maiden name since marriage.)
If I went by model I guess it would actually be Lady Walters Coffeeton of CRV, but that doesn’t flow real well!
I did the same thing. With model, my last name would be Y.
I don’t have a car, so I am of nothing. :/
I don’t have a bike either, though I wouldn’t mind riding one for the exercise.
Marian, of course you are something! You are from a long, proud line of Walkers! or perhaps you are from the Marcher branch? :-)
Thanks for the laugh! I guess I’m of the Bus and Subway?
Of legs? ;-)
Heh, for the first time in my life I feel like a Barbie doll. :p
A young person’s show – immature story lines – just different setting. A new genre – historical fantasy? Kinda cool. The clothing was sooo beautiful back then. I can see why young people would like it…something different. A little cliche and not historical but obviously not meant to be. Fun for the kids.
IMHO the only reason this is a “hit” is because people have nothing else to do. The sex added absolutely nothing to this show. In fact it detracted from it’s value. Race is actually an issue not because of the couples, that’s lovely, but because of how minimizing true racial problems are treated. The queen who was a good person IRL was a disgusting human in this show. There are so many things wrong with it I could write a thesis. But hey it’s pretty to look at right? And after all that’s all that seems to matter.
I actually rather liked Queen Charlotte, although I’m not sure liked is the operative word. She’s spoiled, but then she’s royalty and used to getting her way. The scenes with King George are quite sad, as they’d actually had something of a love match. His rejection of her during his episodes of madness therefore touched her as a woman and wife, not as a queen, so were personal and heartbreaking.
Why is this series so unrealistically interracial given the timeframe..
Despite normally being a painful pedant about historical authenticity in books and films, I have to admit I absolutely adored the Netflix series ‘Bridgerton’.
It was a classy, sumptuous, emotional fantasy; and was also in my opinion, brilliant entertainment.
I had seen the trailers and my initial response had been to sniff in disdain. However I watched the entire thing over 2 days at Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed everything – the casting, costumes, locations, external and internal choreography and even the sex scenes. (Admittedly they all seemed to take place over very little time, unlike the books but I thought the ones between the two main characters especially, were very well done).
I don’t think there is any pretence by the makers of this series that they are trying to present historical reality. It is a fantasy, and it is beautifully realised. every interview I have seen by the makers and actors reinforces the fantasy elements whilst keeping so much of the story rooted in the period. A brilliant and inspired idea. I am looking forward to the next series.
I think it’s kind of dangerous to clean up history and pretend that slavery and colonialism had no effect on societies past and present. Denial is dangerous.
I love the show. I’ve watched it several times already.
Perfect cast. I hope they can include ED WESTWICK in
Bridgeton Season 2.
I just finished the first season and I just….really? SHE is the one behind these papers? Where did she get the money? The time? Why wouldn’t she tell her best friend? How was she able to keep all these visits to the printers a secret from her family? (I am not buying the, oh she slips out from EVERY SOCIAL FUNCTION EARLY AND NO ONE NOTICES OR IS SUSPICIOUS AND SHE HAS TIME TO WRITE AND EDIT THE WHOLE THING ON THE WAY THERE??) Perhaps these will be explained later, but it just seems so…thrown in. Yeah I can see some things pointing to her beforehand, but she just doesn’t make sense. Very disappointed. Perhaps the books explain it better. The way the show is done makes it seem like they decided last moment.
In the books, that particular reveal doesn’t happen until book four, although I don’t recall there being much more of an explanation as to how she actually manages it. That said, it’s been a while since I’ve read it – if anyone else has a clearer recollection, please do jump in!
It makes sense in the books. And she’s much older when we learn it’s her so it feels as if she’s had years to figure out how to do it properly. (She’d been Whistledown for 11 years before Colin discovered who she was.)
There’s nothing about sneaking out at balls–she says that because she was a woman and a wallflower and a good listener that people just talked around her, not realizing she listened.
In Romancing Mr. Bridgerton it’s explained in detail how it all came about through a businessman family friend accidentally reading a snarky write up of a ball or event Penelope wrote to amuse herself. He gets the idea to help her launch L.W. and they set up a secret way of her dropping off her writings at a concealed drop spot.
The whole idea of her showing up herself in a carriage at the publishers was made up for the drama of the show. She’s not running from balls to submit stuff in person in the books.
Thank you! That makes a lot more sense! The show obviously is gonna be different but it just really bothered me how she manages to do all that completely unaided, especially the financial aspect and her being fairly young still.
My pleasure. I just reread RMB recently and part of it was to remember how Pen had pulled off the whole Lady W. thing. The TV show had me scratching my head too.
It’s clear in the book that Quinn had thought it all through and come up with something at least based in logic about how Penelope could 1.) get started and 2.) keep from getting caught for so long. Especially in those days, she had to have a male partner and someone involved in business and publishing backing her.
I loved the reveal in the books. In the show… not so much.
I think that’s a problem in TV shows especially. I know Game of Thrones was particularly guilty of it in the last couple of seasons.
When they are rushing the story (here they revealed LW about ten years early in the timeline) or going for a big dramatic visual, then logic and subtlety often goes out the window in favor of a big “Ohhhh” moment for the audience.
WTF is up with those dreadful love scenes? No foreplay, just stick it in and orgasams as abound. I’ve watched more intimate and loving scenes in porn for crying out loud. The wedding night was especially terrible – not that I expected an Outlander love scene, but really, they barely kiss and he’s all “this may hurt” and bam she has an orgasm…ugh. And I agree with others…where’s the chemistry? Where’s the fabulous dialogue? There’s a “clownish-ness” to many of the characters that is supremely off-putting. I expected much more than this POS drivel from Shondaland.
It’s really silly, like a Desperate Housewives (does anyone remember that?) with the background narrator telling the tale. It’s fantasy and really not factual and frivolous..tongue in cheek in every way..but today as today, many will believe it was reality in those times. Peeps believe enough fantasy as is…just an opinion..
On episode 4 – seems coarse, crass, vulgar, virtue signaling and try hardy. I like to watch period dramas for the innocence and romance, the beautiful clothes and eloquent unassuming manners of our ancestors. I’m not looking for masturbation or rants about women’s rights.
And it’s official!
Bridgerton is Netflix’s biggest show ever!
Really! Who woulda thunk it? (said no romance writer or reader ever)
Wow, that’s impressive even considering (according to the article) that anyone who views two minutes of it is considered a “viewer”. It really hit at the perfect time too. Is there anyone who isn’t looking for some colorful escapism?
Netflix ratings should be taken with a grain of salt. Two minutes of one episode is not a fair assessment of viewership.
Yes–but that’s the standard for all Netflix shows so this accolade still applies.
Well…..watched it with my daughter. Setand costumes were fabulous. The rest. Not so much. I miss all the witty dialogue from the book. There were ZERO witty exchanges. Story lines changed and not in a good way. The characters took themselves way too seriously. Way too much Shondaland angst. Theycouldn’t even make the family dinner scene work….What a disappointment. Am rereading the books to get the series out of my head.
I agree they lost the lighter, funnier aspects of that book in translation. I hope they get it right in the second one,
Something lovely I found online:
The Getty museum discusses the art used in the series.
I loved that article. I am currently watching Lupin and am loving how art is used in that show too. Netflix’s art game is STRONG!
So according the the announcement, season 2 will focus on Lord Anthony Bridgerton. Did nobody involved notice that this is not the correct title?
I have several hopes for season two which I’ve elaborated upon here. I could add I hope they make sure Lady Whistledown’s voice is believable!
Truthfully I think they don’t care. They dumb down a lot of stuff so they probably figured calling him that was the best way for the most people to know who they are talking about.
One thing I think we can all agree on is that Bridgerton is not really interested in “accuracy”.
The costumes and music certainly make it clear that they’re not going for accuracy, and it’s not like the books were heavy on historical detail. But could it not have been “Lord Bridgerton – Anthony to his friends, which this author is not – has been heard to say that he is looking for his Viscountess”?
The way they phrased it is both inaccurate and make it sound like he’s a dog looking to mark his territory.
I am still backwatching the show and thus can’t really comment on the context yet, but I got a laugh out of this Cosmo article.
Does Anthony Bridgerton Secretly Want to Bone His Sister?
Oh, ew. Wow, they have run out of stories to write on this series.
My personal theory on why they call each other “brother” and “sister” is because its the first season, most of the actors are unknowns and with the hair and period costumes and large cast the writers and producers probably thought the viewers would have a hard time remembering who is who let alone who is a Bridgerton.
When they shot the first pilot for Game of Thrones and showed it to test audiences no one knew or could figure out Jaime and Circei Lannister were supposed to be twins let alone brother and sister. When they reshot it they have (Arya I think) doing a voiceover explicitly saying “That’s Jaime Lannister the Queen’s twin brother!”
Gods. Game of Thrones. Doesn’t that just seem like something that happened a million years ago? #stillhatetheending
It does, but it must be ten years or so since the first season right? I hate the ending so badly. They rumor now is that GRRM is taking even longer to write the next book in the series because he’s trying to make the ending as different from the show as possible. Not sure I buy the excuse, but good for him if he is.
I’m SO interested to see who they pick for Kate. I think this will be the make or break season for me. Fingers crossed they get the humor right!
Yay, I cannot wait! I agree completely, Kate will be the make or break for this season. I’m guessing it will be someone fairly unknown, but I hope it will be someone that I will grow to love watching (like Regé). The defining quality of the Viscount Who Loves Me is the humour, so I am interested to see if they will be able to convey that on the screen. The series so far has been a little light on humour. I will be gutted if they don’t show the scene with Newton, shaking water all over the Viscount!
Hate it. Loved the book series but this is trying to hard to be « socially relèvent ».
Portraying people of different colors falling in love is a desperate grasp at social relevancy now?
Portraying people not in their correct social class for the historic time period is grasping.
Only Queen Charlotte was probably biracial and there were multiple examples of interracial couples occurring before the emancipation of black people in England:
Everyone braying about the fact that this show being historically inaccurate because it has black dukes and not, say, the jukebox string section or lack of costume accuracy tell on themselves, is all i have to say.
Please stick to talking about ideas and not the people who voice them. Thanks.
Queen Charlotte was not biracial. The definition of BI-racial is having 1 parent of race a and 1 parent of race b. Queen Charlotte’s black ancestor was most likely born 300 years before she was. Her African ancestry is thought to be a myth.
Since you wanted more sources that weren’t People
One way to think about the casting in Bridgerton is to say it repudiates the one-drop standard that defined blackness/whiteness in the UK and in the US for so long legally and continues to, for many, do so culturally.
I don’t think the producers were attempting to do anything historically accurate or not. Their goal was to tell a story in the way that they felt would work and would resonate with viewers which, by all accounts, they’ve done so spectacularly.
I read a blog called Persuasion–it has an unusual focus on issues I find interesting. In a recent article about biraciality, the author, a Brit, wrote:
Unlike gravity, race is something that we humans imagined into existence—this thought that you can distinguish qualitatively based on skin color. But it’s an idea that remains influential. While most people today would agree with a statement like, “Deep down we are all just human beings irrespective of skin color,” our perceptions of each other are still heavily influenced by racialist thinking. The good news is this: That which has been imagined can be reimagined.
I tend to think that’s what Shonda and her colleagues hope their story will help happen.
Mm. The ultimate point is that it’s fictional. There’s literally a shot where asphalt and traffic lines made it into this show. The intense focus on Oh No Black Royalty and Oh No Black Dukes is extremely unfortunate.
Yeah, but… everyone gets to say what they do and don’t like in fiction.
The only proof of Queen Charlotte’s blackness I would take is a DNA test. Her family tree proves her parents are white as well as may generations before here.
Yes, let’s go back to the 1800s and apply a DNA test to a long dead women so we can cling to the righteous film of “historical accuracy.”
OK–you are veering awfully close to personal attacks. Please don’t go there. Thanks.
And that Seattle Times article verifies the timeline I posted. She may have been descended from a black person but it was so far back that she is not black.
But the others don’t, and the Vanessa Riley link proves that there were Black people in the aristocracy of that time – rarely, but they existed.
500 years! It’s just ridiculous to speak of Queen Charlotte as biracial. I would be interestet who launched this nonsense. Because of a portrait where her teint isn’t as pale as it was common in her time? Because of the remark of a doctor who obviously didn’t like her, the German wife of a German king? Or to please Meghan Markle while she was still liked by the press?
Can we not get into Meghan Markle bashing?
Before her wedding Meghan Markle was hyped by the British press and later bashed by the same press. That’s a fact and not Markle bashing.
It is inaccurate for it’s portrayal of black people. That is not telling on the person stating it it is historic fact. I don’t think a quote from a rag mag like People is a good defense.
It’s not about historical accuracy, which is almost non existent for everything in the series, both in print and on TV. If you want historical accuracy give up on fiction and stick to real history, although even that is suspect at times depending on who’s welding the pen. It’s about not seeing the color of the actor and looking at the skill of the acting. Who cares what color he/she is? That isn’t the point. This is entertainment, not a history lesson. Julie Quinn was happy with the casting, so why would anyone else care?
I can’t believe a black woman would have a completely white nephew. I can’t believe that 1 woman could change hundreds of years of race relations in just a few short years. It’s not just historically inaccurate, or even a fantasy, it is truly laughable. It’s not the way of the world then or now.
I can’t believe that there are that many young, handsome, single, wealthy men in romance novels.
The abundance of rich, gorgeous, young, single titled men in Romance is not just historically inaccurate, or even fantasy, it is truly laughable. It’s not the way of the world then or now.
Please come up with an original retort. This one is old and tired.
I would appreciate it if you would both make sure your tone is respectful.
I thought a bit of humor might enable you to see that your argument is a double standard — objecting to what you see is “laughable” fantasy, when a mainstay of the genre frequently deals with fantastical even “laughable” premises.
Almost everything in historical romances is fantasy, that’s my point. You seem to be cherry-picking only discrepancies about race, but not about the fact that there were only about 30 Dukes in existence and most of them wouldn’t have been young and handsome. And that goes for the other noble titles as well. ALL of it is fantasy! It seems odd to only be concerned with correct depictions of race and be fine with all the other myriad discrepancies in the novels. Is there something about race that bothers you more than the accuracy of other historical facts?
Thank you, my point exactly!
Because those 30 dukes are distributed amongst hundreds or romance novels. It’s not like every author is writing in the same world. If an author creates a series about 4 dukes I can better believe that than I can believe a black woman’s sister or brother produced a blonde-haired, blue-eyed child. Visual context matters.
In the 21st C I don’t care what color your skin is you can do or be anything you want. In the Regency era this was not true. I don’t see why this is so hard for everyone to admit. Race did matter then. In fact this whole show is just pretending that slavery is over when in fact it was still intact in England during this time. I don’t get it.
The Netflix Bridgerton world is not meant to be historically accurate Regency England. It as an alternate Regency England, where Ariana Grande’s music exists, London looks like Bath, gowns are in vibrant colors, fashion is not quite Regency period, there are a plethora of young, gorgeous, wealthy men, and there are people with different skin colors.
The fact that skin color is the detail that you cherry pick out of all of the above in this Alternate Regency England is perplexing.
Especially perplexing because there are in fact a few examples of influential Blacks in upper class England even before the Regency.
One of my favorite examples is Dido Elizabeth Belle, a British heiress born into slavery in the British West Indies. Dido was the illegitimate daughter of Sir John Lindsay and an African slave. Dido was raised by her great uncle the Earl of Mansfield, who also happened to be the Lord Chief Justice whose seminal ruling in a landmark case on slavery set England on the path to abolish slavery. Dido lived from 1761-1804…right before our Netflix Bridgerton world takes place.
Since Bridgerton is a fantasy in which Ariana Grande’s music also exists, Bath is London, etc., it is perplexing that it is the Black people that have you so bothered.
I don’t accept “alternate” realities unless this is being marketed as a fantasy or sci-fi series. The books are marketed as Historical and show should be accurate to the period. I will continue to harp on race because I don’t care for an erasure of history.
It is your prerogative not too like it, but your argument is contradictory. The books are not historically accurate either, but you disregard that for the books.
You say that you don’t care for an erasure of history. Since both the books and the TV show feature imaginary people set in a fictional world, I’m not sure what “history” is being erased.
Setting aside the fact that the books are fiction filled with historical inaccuracies, the show does not pretend to be a literal adaptation of the books. Even the author has stated that the show is not meant to be a literal adaption, but a reimagined version. Julia Quinn is also pleased with the colorblind casting.
Luckily, you are in the minority position.
Judging from the casting of the latest remake of Jane Austen, we will continue to see more colorblind casting in the future.
The wheels of change move slowly sometimes but they do move.
If you want historical accuracy, you will have a better chance of finding it in a history book.
This woman would have been considered a bastard and not fully accepted into high society no matter who her natural family was. She might have been raised by a wealthy family but that did not mean anyone else was so accepting.
But it’s fiction. Why must the series be bound by rigid historical accuracy it doesn’t seem concerned with? Not even Quinn’s books care about this stuff.
I agree. I hope this conversation will continue to elucidate us even as it acknowledges that the show, and the books, are fiction foremost.
The story is fiction, the time period is real. It happened. It is not a figment of the imagination. I prefer stories that adhere to the constructs of the time.
Yes, she was indeed illegitimate, which at the time, was a big social hindrance.
The point is that like the fictionalized version of Queen Charlotte in the Netflix series, Dido not only was embraced by a wealthy, powerful, titled family but also she influenced the trajectory of slavery in England.
Would the ruling on Somerset v Steward have differed if the Lord Chief Justice not raised Dido? If she had been less involved in his work? (She used to help him by taking dictation — an occupation that reflects the high esteem in which she was held at a time when few women would have been so educated or allowed to use their abilities in a traditionally male occupation.)
Dido’s life demonstrates how one woman could indeed impact race relations in just a few short years.
Because those 30 dukes are distributed amongst hundreds or romance novels. It’s not like every author is writing in the same world.
So this is acceptable but you need rigid historical accuracy when it comes to the color of dukes in this fictionalization. Again: telling on yourself.
Well I give up. You are definitely more hung up on the color of someone’s skin than their skill as an actor, or on the historical accuracy. Please don’t use “historical accuracy” as your excuse to dismiss the presence of people of color in regency England, since you are obviously not really interested in accuracy. As you have said over and over, you’re fine with every other inaccuracy, just not that one.
You can’t even let it go for a silly TV show which is DEFINITELY not trying to be historically accurate in any way, nor does it advertise itself to be. It’s an adaptation of a fictional romance, for goodness sake. Bless your heart.
Carrie, please stick to commenting about ideas rather than the person commenting. For AAR to work and welcome everyone–and we do mean everyone–we ask that comments stick to a discussion of concepts rather than a critique of the commenter.
I never once said there were not black people in Regency England. I have stated that there were no black dukes, queens, titled people and high society. I know there were black merchants, trades people, servants, farmers, etc. I am hung up, as you say, on where people belong in that society. I am hung up on the fact that the characters in the books are white and the tv show has erased that and chosen to erase that part of history.
Isn’t that what television shows and movies are? Pretence? What’s so wrong about pretending that slavery is over even if it wasn’t?
Because this is not an original production. There is no indication of an end to slavery or the uplifting of black people in the books.
Melanin works in very, very funny ways.
Too naive and too simple , they probably paid more attentions on costumes ♀️♀️
I dislike the main characters: Daphne and Simon…. I don’t see the spark between them. It doesn’t feel like they’re in love. I prefer Penelope’s storyline. She seems more genuine.
In lust, yes. But love, not so much. I still don’t know why they didn’t have Simon say “I love you.” So odd.
The woman playing Daphne has no personality. No chemistry with the other characters either.
Hate, hate, loathe. They have completely ruined the wonderful books with this PC, modern version that completely erases the fact that it takes place in the early 1800’s. The casting is awful, the costumes and music are deplorable.
I thought that some, but not all, of the costumes are beautiful, although I don’t think all of them are accurate for the time period. For example, I read somewhere that leaving out the bonnets that women would have worn outside was a conscious decision, but I still missed them, and I don’t think the surplice bodice of Lady Featherington’s gowns was period appropriate either (although she probably looked better in them than in a straight bodice).
As for the casting and music, I liked them. I know that there were no black dukes in Regency England, but I didn’t care and focused only on whether I thought the actors played their roles well. There is a scene where Lady Danbury explicitly discusses race, which is rather 21st C, but for the rest of it race is not an issue, the characters are who they are. One of the best Hamlets I’ve seen was done by a black British actor, another excellent Hamlet was Benedict Cumberbatch. Although totally unlikely that a medieval Danish prince would be black, I didn’t feel that the casting of the former was done to be PC but because he could carry it off. And a famous production of “Othello” was done by the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC where all of the actors were black except for Othello, who was played by Patrick Stewart. Sometimes things are done for shock value but sometimes it’s a way to make people actually pay attention to works that they might otherwise take for granted because they think they know them. Just my opinion, of course, YMMV.
I think that’s an excellent way of putting it, Susan. A lot of it comes down to personal taste. As you said, YMMV. To me, period appropriate details like costumes, where or where not to wear a bonnet, demographics, etc., matter a lot. Not because I’m well-versed in history (far from it), but I want to think I’m not being sold a bill of goods when I watch or read a piece classified as historical fiction.
On the subject of Shakespeare, the only production that ever blew me away was Twelfth Night at the Globe Theater with Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry (there are DVD copies available, highly recommend!) In the spirit of the original time period, it is an all-male British cast in period-appropriate costumes down to the last stitch and button. Seriously, they used actual button molds from the time period! It is so on the mark, in fact, that Stephen Fry asked the costume designer if she would have been okay fudging the buttons a bit- say, would a 1603 button mold be close enough for a story written in 1601-1602? And she was like, “Absolutely not!” That is some hard core dedication to accuracy right there, and it really makes the production shine. Plus, it’s absolutely hysterical.
Now I’m off to see if I can stream that production. I love that they were so invested in period accuracy, and Mark Rylance is amazing in almost everything, from broad comedy to intimate drama. OTOH, I think one of the best productions of “Coriolanus” — most definitely not my favorite play — is the 2011 modern dress version starring Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler. It’s intense and bloody and powerful and makes brilliant use of technology, as in an expository scene played as if done by talking heads on a Sunday morning TV show (link to review below). Were there TVs in Shakespeare’s time? Of course not, but the staging is still brilliant.
I started Coriolanus and never got to finish it for some reason. What a great cast. I was surprised at the time it never got more press and it just seemed to disappear. I’ll have to track it down to watch the rest.
Thank gods someone else hates it!
As I noted earlier in the week, you and the two people above me seem to suffer from a lack of imagination to envision a world that’s not ivory white. I have no idea why you all seem to think Quinn is anti-PC. None of her books embrace straight-down-the-middle traditional values in the first place. But your constant example of the “PC-ness” of the series is the colorblind casting. Not everything has to be perfectly historically accurate and when your cry out about historical inaccuracy involves the race of the characters it says much about your character without saying anything more.
We would appreciate it if you would stick to addressing the words of other posters rather than their characters.
It doesn’t matter if the books were that historically accurate, it matters that they have changed the race of the characters (and actual history) to make some PC point. If someone wants to come up with original content and have black dukes then go for it. Do not insert your PC culture into something that is already published.
So the historical accuracy doesn’t matter, but it really does matter if it’s something that you have a personal attachment to? Your statements contradict one another. There’s also a lot of presumption of the producer’s motives going on here, as if Quinn doesn’t have anything to do with the casting or tone of the series based on her own novels. I did link you to a website that explains how such a thing could be possible at the period of time, but you declaimed it and refused to read it.
Also “I have such a good imagination I can’t envision these characters in any other way but how the author wrote them” is not as good a take as you may believe it is.
If it wasn’t some PC point then why didn’t they cast actors who look as described in the book. They made a huge point about race that is not historically accurate. There are plenty of really good white actors who could have better played those roles.
It’s not just about the race of the characters. I object to the many changes to the storyline and character personalities. None of this feels like the books.
Victoria, you’re not alone in your frustrations. Not just with The Bridgertons but with media in general these days.
You might enjoy this article I just found about The Bridgertons, as it supports the comments you have been making about the creators pushing PC points: ‘Something you’ve never seen before’: Netflix diversity chief on Bridgerton’s casting | Bridgerton | The Guardian
The first sentence is particularly telling:
Netflix’s diversity and inclusion chief has said the colour-conscious casting in Bridgerton was a result of the company supporting diverse show-runners and encouraging an “inclusion lens” to be applied to decisions.
I’d like to reiterate that I’m not knocking anybody who is enjoying this series. But to say there is no agenda being pushed with this adaptation of The Bridgertons is clearly not true. When a studio hires a diversity and inclusion chief whose job is to encourage an “inclusion lens,” that is a blatant example of a political agenda being placed in a superior position to storytelling, historical accuracy, and the author’s original intent. For me, that’s a no-go, despite the show’s vast popularity. And, as I’ve said, more power to you if you like the show. But let’s not pretend there isn’t an agenda going on that could just as easily be alienating millions of other viewers who want storytelling and casting to be decided by artists who have respect for the original source material rather than someone whose job is to push for quota filling.
OK. OK. We got it….
Okey dokey… *slithers off to some dark corner of the internet to emote…*
Sorry–that came out bitchier than I meant.
I was trying to say, I see your point.
Oh, sorry. I thought you were annoyed with me. I know it’s sometimes hard to express emotional intent in an internet forum. I’ve certainly put my foot in my mouth through the medium. Having said that, I’m still going to divert my attention elsewhere for a while. Not because this isn’t a fascinating topic and cultural phenomenon- it is- but because I’ve made all my arguments and anything else would be repetitious at this point.
See you elsewhere on AAR. :-)
Nan, sorry for this interjection, but I’d like to talk to you about something not related to this thread. Is there a way we could get in touch? Could I give you my email address, or are you on Twitter where I could send a DM? No worries if you’d rather not, of course. :)
If you are both agreeable, I can connect you. I have both your emails!
Since Marian works at AAR (I think?), I am okay with you giving her my e-mail as long as Marian agrees not to share it with anyone else. I ask this because my e-mail address is linked to my real name, and I have to be careful. Being a somewhat closeted writer is a risky business, as I’m sure you both understand. Thanks.
I’ll keep it confidential, Nan. Thank you!
Thanks. I appreciate that. I look forward to hearing from you.
P.S. I will keep your information confidential as well. :-)
Nan, I’ll just post my email address here so you can say hi, if that’s okay. :) It’s marian d perera at gmail dot com, though without the spaces. Thanks!
Thanks, just sent you a note. :-)
Whenever books are made into TV series/movies, there are always passionate fans who are not happy with the way the written work has been adapted. (GoT, Walking Dead are recent examples). Even changes to remakes old TV shows that were never books get complaints (Battlestar Galactica).
Why did they use modern music instead of music from the Regency? Why did they use gowns that were not historically accurate? Why did they choose actors that look different from what you imagined from the books? Why did they deviate from the plot line? Etc., etc., etc.
The simple answer is:
Because they thought these changes would be better.
There will always be originals fans who don’t like the changes. But if the show is successful (and this one has been wildly successful), then it brings in new readers for the author. In any case, Julia Quinn seems delighted by the series.
Sorry, I thought of another romance novel to TV series adaptation that was controversial: the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris adapted by HBO.
That was controversial because it deviated from the plot, cast a brunette actor for the heroine who was meant to be blonde in the books, added new characters, and was exponentially more gory and more sexual than the books.
A lot of fans of the books were unhappy but the show was a hit, gained lots of new fans, made Charlaine Harris lots of money and HBO lots of money.
So I get your displeasure. Book adaptations are not often faithful to the books.
I liked the show much better than the series!
There were things I liked and disliked about both. I’m happy they both exist.
I think even Charlaine Harris weighed in that Anna Paquin was not her idea of Sookie but Alan Ball told her that she was the one for the part and he was running the show.
Stephenie Meyers wanted Emily Browning and Henry Cavill for Bella and Edward in Twilight.
But they did make Kristen Stewart wear brown contacts for the movie despite her having green eyes.
Honestly, this discussion happens every time there’s an adaptation. I’m still not thrilled with the casting of Lyra on His Dark Materials nor with the way Mrs. Coulter is portrayed but, hey, that’s just me. I still enjoy the show and will be gutted if there’s no season three.
And there are easily millions of words written about all the mistakes fans felt HBO made with Game of Thrones.
And you love Keira Knightly as Lizzie Bennet and I don’t. But see we can all disagree and still be friends! There’s an adaption for everyone.
This always makes me think of Gone With The Wind. It’s impossible for me to imagine anyone but Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara she owned that role so completely.
The first line of the novel though is literally “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were”.
I personally think Vivien Leigh was one of the most beautiful stars Hollywood ever produced but we don’t mind that when we enjoy her work as “not beautiful” Scarlett. Somehow an English woman managed to please a world full of people who had a very specific idea of exactly who Scarlett should be and what she looked like.
Speaking of actors who are too beautiful to play roles…
Sarah Snook has been cast as Anne Elliot in the latest remake of Persuasion.
Captain Wentworth will be played by Joel Fry.
No release date yet, but I’m looking forward to it.
And to those who recommended the 1995 version of Persuasion with Amanda Root & Ciaran Hinds, thank you! It was excellent.
I think there is some wiggle room with Anne Elliot because she was considered attractive but life and sorrow have beat her down over the years. She gets a Renaissance towards the end. So they could dull up a “pretty” actress and liven her up at the end.
I absolutely love the 1995 version of Persuasion and it’s my favorite Jane Austen novel. So happy you enjoyed it too.
I know I promised I’d stay off of this thread, but your comments about Vivien Leigh brought to mind how beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I distinctly remember my dad saying something like, “Vivien Leigh was perfect for the role, because just like the character in the book, she wasn’t beautiful. Actually, Vivien Leigh was kind of odd-looking.” Lol! Poor Vivien Leigh!
Years ago my husband and I saw the movie “Enigma”, starring Kate Winslet, Dougray Scott, and Saffron Burrows. Kate Winslet was cast as Saffron Burrows dowdy friend, and Josh couldn’t get over the idea that Winslet was Hollywood’s idea of dowdy since he thought she was extremely attractive (although, as Scarlett O’Hara as portrayed in the book shows, physical perfection isn’t necessary to be attractive).
Interesting! Like art, every individual’s perception of a person’s physical appearance is definitely subjective. It’s like the saying that no two people ever read the same book, or watch the same movie. Just think of all those Top 10 lists like “Ten Sexiest (Fe)male Celebrities,” and all the “debates” they spark. You’re always going to find someone who says, “so-and-so should have been higher on the list” and someone who says of the same person, “s/he shouldn’t be in the Top 100, let alone Top 10.” The answer to all this, I think, is variety, variety, variety.
Ha ha, well I respectfully disagree with your Dad on this one. I think she’s gorgeous and she reminds me of Hedy Lamarr who was another stunning actress of the time.
Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
Because the actor was a good actor and worthy of the part?
It’s not just about the race of the characters.
And yet you believe
There are plenty of really good white actors who could have better played those roles.
How perfectly fascinating.
I’ve been confused about what you mean by your PC criticism.
But I think I finally understand. You have complained about many of the changes in the series: modern music, costumes and actors not looking exactly as you imagined from the books.
Given this, it sounds like you are a literalist. You want the original text to be adhered to literally. As a textual literalist, I am guessing that you would be upset if the author described the heroine wearing a pink dress and the TV series depicted her wearing a blue dress instead.
If that is your preference, that’s fair enough, though you are bound to be endlessly disappointed as it is rare for films to interpret books that faithfully for both practical and artistic reasons.
I am still puzzled by your comment, “Do not insert your PC culture into something that is already published.” I don’t think there is a grand plot to insert “PC culture” (whatever that is) into previously published works. :-)
But your comment raises interesting questions about who owns the work and who is making the changes. The simple, factual answer is that the author is the owner of the published work and she has authorized the changes by selling the rights of her work to be made into a multi-year TV series, for which she is no doubt being richly rewarded.
The less literal answer is that the fans symbolically “own” the work or at least lay an emotional claim to the work. Fans who are literalists are bound to be disappointed with any adaptation because a novel cannot ever be faithfully, literally translated into a TV show or movie. The inherent differences in the mediums make literal adaptations impossible.
But once a book is adapted to a TV series or movie, the question of symbolic ownership by fans also changes as new fans, who may have never read the books, are gained.
The Netflix series has been enormously popular — one of their biggest hits. So clearly, the fans that now symbolically “own” the work not only have expanded but, it seems, now outnumber the dissenters enough to renew it for second season.
To avoid disappointment, I think it is better to approach a book adaptation as a new work. To your point: “If someone wants to come up with original content and have black dukes then go for it,” I think Netflix has done exactly as you have recommended. Netflix has paid Julia Quinn handsomely for her idea and created something new based on her books. It is not meant to be a literal adaptation.
Thank you for this smart analysis.
I will have to think about who owns a work. I do think, once it’s out there, it belongs to more than just the author.
The simple, factual answer is that the author is the owner of the published work and she has authorized the changes by selling the rights of her work to be made into a multi-year TV series, for which she is no doubt being richly rewarded.
Speaking as a writer here, I have to say it’s a little more complicated than that. According to Mel Brooks, there is a saying in Hollywood that goes something like, “Step 1: shoot the writer.” Yes, writers sell filmmaking rights and whatnot, but the people who buy them often have no respect whatsoever for the original source material. And the original author generally has no say about adaptation content once they cede control. Or if they do, it doesn’t need to be taken seriously by the filmmakers- and often isn’t. I don’t know what Julia Quinn’s particular arrangement is with Netflix, but I am speaking in general.
As for writers being “richly rewarded,” that may be true in some cases, but a lot of authors have to sell themselves out for financial reasons or to maintain relevance in order to increase chances of getting future work published. So I wouldn’t go as far as to say the average writer chooses to sell her work to get butchered any more than someone chooses to work at a fast food joint. It’s often a matter of doing what has to be done. Again, probably not an issue with someone as well known as Julia Quinn, but you never know.
Netflix has paid Julia Quinn handsomely for her idea and created something new based on her books. It is not meant to be a literal adaptation.
Then why the heck don’t they make something completely original rather than trampling over the source material? I get what Victoria, the commenter, is saying here. It reminds me of how Paramount bought the rights to The Godfather and had godawful visions of turning it into a contemporary shoot-em-up, generic gangster film. It’s only because Coppola was a real stubborn snot who saw the potential in the original post-WW2 setting (and yes, I will concede he did a great job trimming out the pulpy padding Mario Puzo had in there for potboiler reasons) that the film wasn’t an unmitigated disaster. But if the studio was so gung-ho on creating something not even close to the original material other than maybe the character names, why not just make something totally original instead? I get the impression based on the comments about The Bridgertons that the studio bought the rights just to nab a bankable series name. That’s so, so common and, in my opinion, a detriment to art.
Can the studio do whatever the heck they want with a property they have purchased? Of course. But that doesn’t mean people- including possibly the original author- have to like what they did with it.
You can dislike it even though you haven’t even watched it.
But you are wrong to imply that Julia Quinn was coerced, forced or is in any way unhappy with selling her books or with the changes made.
Quite the opposite.
Julia Quinn has stated that she has been thrilled, happy, over the moon with delight about selling her books to Netflix and with how Netflix has adapted them.
She is particularly delighted with the color-blind casting.
“Last month, Quinn spoke to PEOPLE about how excited she was to see the show’s creators commit to “color-conscious casting” and include a new character, Queen Charlotte, whom historians believe was the first-ever biracial royal.”
As to why Netflix made the changes instead of writing something new, well they did make something new. That’s why as Julia Quinn says, the series does not attempt to adapt the books word for word. They are reimagined. As to why the made the changes? Because they thought the changes were better. The series is the 5th most popular one for Netflix so it seems most people like the show.
My understanding too is that Quinn is happy.
Books are not TV any more than they are movies.
I am currently listening to all the Harry Potter books–the stuff left out is gigantic because, duh, it had to be. In Bridgerton, the romance just isn’t enough for a TV series. They had to add stuff and, I think, they made it a show about more than just a love story so more people would enjoy it.
That seems reasonable to me.
I am glad to hear Julia Quinn is happy about the changes made to her book. But I just wanted to bring in the other perspective of, “just because a writer sells rights to the work, it doesn’t mean they have to shut up and be happy about it.” Because that’s a huge misconception. Thankfully, this is definitely not the case with Julia Quinn. I still question her taste and willingness to embrace a total overhaul of her work, but that’s on me. I guess you could say I’m of the old school irascible writers like Harlan Ellison who threw a conniption fit over even minor changes. ;-)
But I’ve said all I can possibly bring to this conversation. I’ve made all my points. So I’m just going to excuse myself now.
Thank you for all the above!
I too appreciate your analysis and find it relevant not only to the Bridgerton books but to another series I watched recently: “Grantchester”, which is based on a character created by James Runcie. The stories in Season 1 are reasonably faithful to Runcie’s original Sidney Chambers books, but after that the TV series goes on a totally different tack and Sidney is a very different (and to me, more interesting if more tortured) character. In the books Sidney meets the woman who will be his wife in the first story (although it takes a while for them to get together), they marry and have a daughter. On TV, he is involved with several different women and doesn’t meet his future wife till the beginning of Season 4. His decision to follow her to the US provides the reason for James Norton (who plays Sidney) to leave the show. I can’t blame the TV show for changing the bookish Sidney as he wasn’t nearly as compelling as the TV Sidney (although James Norton is a big part of that), even if I wanted to shake the TV Sidney sometimes and tell him to snap out of it. I couldn’t reconcile the two Sidneys so just decided to view them as from alternate universes and accept them both.
This is such a great take on this issue. I was thinking about how book lovers frequently take issue with movie/tv adaptations, myself included. I remember as a kid being aghast that Daniel Radcliffe was cast as Harry Potter when he had blue eyes not green, particularly given the books’ emphasis on his green eyes. I was also upset that they cast Emma Watson as Hermione because I felt like she was too pretty to play ‘my’ Hermione, who was frizzy-haired like me with buck teeth. I think this has a lot to do with how we imagine these characters in our head. However, as I got older, I was less concerned with the physical characteristics of the actors, and I was more interested in whether the actors could convey the essence of the character’s personality.
What was your judgement?
With Harry Potter? I grew to love the actors portraying the roles, although I did feel that the show made Ron dumber than he was in the books, and gave a lot of his fantastic lines to Hermione. I think Emma Watson did a fantastic job conveying Hermione’s perfectionism, Rupert Grint encapsulated Ron’s humour and Daniel Radcliffe, was a less angsty Harry:)
It’s funny–I’m happy with the casting of the big three in the Potter books but where casting really shone was all the adults. Maggie Smith! Alan Rickman! Fiona Shaw! Imelda Staunton! The list goes on and on!
I agree with this. For the HP movies specifically, I feel all 3 main actors really developed their acting skills and grew into their roles over the course of the series. You can see a huge difference from Sorcerer’s Stone to Deathly Hallows. Now when I read the books, it is those 3 actors I picture in my mind.
But how do you feel about Hermione’s pink dress rather than a blue robe?
I was so upset about that! I had already imagined her beautiful periwinkle blue robe:) Also, Emma Watson is so pretty that there wasn’t that huge transformation gasp that you had in the book.
Yes, and no need to make her teeth smaller either! And it looked like she was already using that sleekeasy hair potion or whatever it was from the book.
And of course Victor Krum wasn’t like his book counterpart either. But like you, I enjoyed it all so much.
And I have imagination. I imagine the characters as described to me by the author. That is what I see in my head when I read. This casting got none of it right. Penelope is a joke.
Have to agree. Penelope is too short and too fat.
That’s the beauty of art and its subjectivity – your ‘too short and too fat’ was shondaland’s ‘voila! we’ve found our penelope’. 82 million views and a season 2 renewal later, I daresay they are very satisfied with their choice as am I.
To be fair, it’s not like the Quinn books are historically accurate either or offer Jane Austen caliber writing.
I agree that, like the Quinn books, the Netflix series has its flaws. For me, those flaws were that there wasn’t enough to plot to stretch it out over so many hours of TV so they padded the story with some non-essential and repetitive scenes.
But overall I thought the Netflix series was fun and entertaining — a much needed, not too serious entertainment to distract us from a turbulent and difficult 2020.
I thought the casting was one of the strengths of the Netflix series. Penelope sparkled. The actor playing Simon was perfect — not only extremely handsome but somehow he delivered lines with aplomb that would have been cringe inducing from a less competent actor. Ditto for the casting of Lady Danbury — she came alive in the Netflix series whereas in the Quinn books she was more of a caricature, reciting more or less the same tired remarks in every book. The Bridgerton brothers ranged from bland to dislikeable (Anthony) for me but they would hopefully improve.
Unfortunately, there aren’t very many “historically accurate” movies or TV shows made. There aren’t many “historically accurate” romance novels written either. I would love to read more historically accurate romance novels — if you have any recs, please, please, please share them.
That’s a great ask, Sol. I think it will be an upcoming the ask@AAR!
Thank you, exactly.
I think it’s incredibly hard to find really historically accurate romance novels as it’s even hard to find accurate contemporary ones. At least I think so.
Certain realities aren’t glamorous and get glossed over or ignored. People’s attitudes and beliefs are wildly different from modern ones (with notable famous exceptions).
I think it’s easier to find historical fiction authors with more realism like Judith Merkle Riley who manages to convey the mindset of people in the Middle Ages through the 17th century. People who believed in angels in the room with them influencing them and that demons could be trapped in a box etc. without making them seem crazy to many modern readers.
I remember Judith Ivory has the heroine in one of her novels actually going to get a tooth pulled, which is remarkable for a romance novel. Carla Kelly addresses some of the more unsavory aspects of 19th century living in her novels and her book The Surgeon’s Lady has very unflinching looks at early 19th century medicine. But even so there are definitely aspects and attitudes that feel more modern at times even if they weren’t impossible.
I agree that it is not necessary to include every mundane detail in a novel.
However, the details that the author chooses to include should be historically accurate and ideally, there should be enough details for the reader to be able to imagine the world. One of the many reasons why I love Jane Austen’s works so much is because she provides us with a window into what daily life would have been like for some women during the Regency.
For me, a modern writer who stands out for her use of historical detail is Larissa Brown’s Beautiful Wreck, set in 10th century Iceland.
But you are right, there are not many books with rich historical detail — mainly, I think because it takes a lot of time to research.
Thanks for the rec on Judith Merkle Riley! I will check her out.
I agree, one of the reasons I love to read Austen, apart from the language, is a look into a certain kind of life at the time.
When I read Dickens it’s an immediate crash course in almost every strata of society in the 19th century from the very wealthy to the lowliest servant. An observant reader has to educate themselves on many things they might not have known before. What kind of a job is a boots? What’s a dustman in Victorian times? Dickens was in such a unique position of having slid down the economic ladder and actually made it back up again that he’s got such a wealth of first hand knowledge and it’s all presented in such a matter of fact way because it’s presumed we know what he’s talking about.
I often think about the differences between Margaret Hale in North and South and how heroines in romance novels set in the 19th century act. Margaret is a great, forward thinking and independent heroine but her reputation is compromised in some way because she was literally seen in the presence of a man alone after dark. Her attitude isn’t to say “well it’s a silly rule anyway” but to protest (truthfully) that she hasn’t done anything her mother would be ashamed of. She’s still bound by the customs of the day and understands why people think it’s so bad.
I think the further you go back in time the harder it is to get a really accurate picture of the average person’s views and present it in a way that’s palatable to a modern audience.
I’m interested to check out Larissa Brown. The name sounds familiar but I’m sure I haven’t read her yet.
I 100% agree with you on Margaret Hale and North & South.
I liked it so much that I tried reading the original novel by Elizabeth Gaskell but I’m sorry to say that her writing was very dense and slow moving and I did not finish it. For me it was a case of the mini series being more successful (or at least more accessible) than the original novel.
If you read Larissa Brown, skim through the first chapters set in the future– the novel has a very weird set up: an awkward time travel trope but once the heroine is in the 10th century Iceland, it’s good especially because she is having to come to understand the cultural viewpoints of 10th century agrarian Vikings.
I slightly disagree–don’t skip the opening chapters of Beautiful Wreck. I have thought about the world many times since I read the book–she’s spot on about where humanity could go.
I don’t think it’s humanly possible for me to skip chapters in anything, let alone the opening chapters- so no worries there, lol.
I am like that about everything.
Dr. Feelgood can watch random episodes of TV. Me, not so much. If I haven’t seen it, I want to start at the beginning.
I’m the same way, especially about book series. Even if a later book appeals to me the most, I need to start the series at the beginning. I have occasionally made an exception. I remember reading Beard Science from Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series first because the author was new to me and I wasn’t sure I would like it. Of course I loved it then had to go back and buy the first 2 books.
OK this sounds odd and intriguing. Off to check it out.
You might also be interested in “Burial Rites” by Hannah Kent. It is a novel but is based on the true story of Agnes Magnusdottir, found guilty of murder in Iceland in 1829. Definitely not a romance, but it does deal in questions of love and what we are willing to do for ourselves and others.
For those looking for a great love story that is grimly historically accurate and if you are lucky enough to be able to find them, I highly recommend the Hannah Trevor books by Margaret Lawrence. They are extraordinary.
That was a great series! Plus the setting in the 1700s Colonial America is unique and very well written.
She died and no one talks about her books. It makes me sad.
Thanks. I’ll check it out.
Agree. Not a fan of the fantastical aspect leaving the actual historical context of race in Britain out. This was not a fair society. Black people, people from the colonized areas such as India and China were not members of the aristocracy. The books themselves have only Caucasian characters as would have been correct in that time.
Its a very slick and beautiful production, nicely entertaining, and I love the modern take with multi ethnic actors and actresses. But there was zilch chemistry between Phoebe and Simon. The two of them are beautiful humans for sure. But I felt no investment in the characters. And excuse me a woman from that sheltered era would immediately fee so sexually free? Ultimately I didn’t care whether or not they ever got together. The big sex scene was very ho hum! And I love a good romance with enticing sex scenes. This was not one.
I think that is why so many viewers were taken with Eloise, Penelope or Marina- because those were the women who showed passion and feeling.
Daphne and Simon were both presented in a very different way than the book which took a lot of the rawness out of their personalities and smoothed it all over. It made them both prettier and less messy, but also more plastic. They elevated Daphne so much, changing her into the most admired girl of the season, it made it harder to connect with the same character who was on her second season in the books and couldn’t find a husband because she was constantly “friend zoned”. We instantly feel a connection to Eloise or Penelope because they are the underdogs (the way you do with the Bennets in P&P).
Daphne was set up as the loveliest, most admired girl of the season with a rich, loving and influential family and the backing of the queen. We don’t see her struggle or try to achieve anything. She’s set up as the winner and her only “risk” is if she doesn’t make the best match of the season.
Simon is a stunningly handsome Duke with even more advantages than Daphne. His biggest challenge is that he’s still hung up that his father was mean to him as child (oversimplified I know) and the series also cut a lot of his edge and rawness out. He’s so cool and aloof all the time you never see the simmering rage and constant hurt he has in the book.
So in the end it’s like watching the rich prom king and queen to see if they get together. Once they marry, Daphne isn’t at risk of social ruin and unlike many heroines she has a wealthy family to fall back on so the peril doesn’t seem so great. Simon never seems in that much peril because as a rich Duke the advantages are all his.
Even their sex scenes were filmed to make them seem the most beautiful rather than to show any connection. When I watched them I was aware how staged they seem and how they were about creating a pretty composition rather than be about how the two characters connected.
I also found the reconciliation at the end to be so blah. Like, what? Simon just woke up and realized he was making himself and Daphne miserable? They, as a couple, were the least interesting lovers or possible lovers in the show. And WHAT HAPPENED TO FRANCESCA?
This conversation is like potato chips. You can’t read just one. I spent waaaay too much (fun) time this morning going through all the comments.
IKR! I keep coming back every couple of days to read new comments. It’s wonderful that this space exists. Kudos to Dabney and the rest of the team
I watched all 8 episodes in 4 days. I admit I had to skip the sex scenes — too much like soft porn and I wasn’t comfortable.
No it isn’t “the books”. Some of the extra plots were more interesting than others. But the acting itself was very well done. Simon and Daphne made a
believable couple. One I rooted for. Disappointed they revealed Whistledown as I think I was a couple books in before I was positive who she was irl. This was a pure giveaway and mystery would have been more fun. How many romances have been turned into dreadful movies with stilted acting? (I seem to remember a few Nora Robert’s’ made fir TV movies that I could not watch they were so bad…)
At those ‘porn’ scenes I was thinking that I am watching ‘50 shades of Grey’ annoying
So Francesca is in the first episode but is never introduced. It’s odd.
I hated this show so much. As a longtime fan of the books, it felt like every part of the books and the characters and why I loved them, was destroyed. I wanted to love it. Even the parts I did enjoy weren’t enough to overcome my disappointment in it. Not even the sexiness of Regé-Jean Page was enough to make up for this dreck.
I think there are many who love the books who feel as you do!
Yeah I know, it’s just a bummer as everyone seems to be gushing about it so much and I don’t have it in me to do so. I don’t feel like it deserves it. Maybe if it improves in season 2, it’ll deserve it, but it fell short in so many ways.
I am on your side on this one, Rachel. I am watching and nearly finished with it because there’s nothing much on right now, deep in yet another lockdown, but I am also disappointed and struggling to like it. It’s so OTT for me and so I am finding it hard to “go with its flow”. Every time I watch it I wonder what those who have always criticised those of us who read romance think. Does it confirm their prejudices about the genre, do they sneer and smirk at it or are they entranced and (secretly) converted? If they are entranced, will they admit they like it and stop denigrating romance books and readers? I wonder, wonder, wonder. And, I will stick my head above the parapet and just say there is an elephant in the room here that no one wants to address except to gush over it. That’s fine; no problem for me but……….. If we still had the frownies, I would probably need a shovel to get myself free of them for mentioning this. Ducking now and taking 10 to think about what I have said before posting this. Oh well, 10 minutes later, here goes.
I think it confirms the sense that many have that romance is light and believes in fairy tale happy endings. If you’re someone who thinks that’s useless Bridgerton isn’t going to change your mind. But, on the screen, we are used to seeing stories that we know real life is NOT like that and for many the simple fun they’ve gotten from the show is all they need.
It entertained me, but I also look at it critically and know it’s Dynasty-esque. Or maybe more Gossip Girl meets Reign. If I had come into it a huge Julia Quinn fan, I’d likely be very annoyed with it.
Like a lot of things made to be pop culture friendly and appeal to the masses, it removed a lot of nuances and went for big broad emotions and spectacle. Instead of being a second season debutante and kind of easy going, Daphne had to be the “diamond” and very stressed out.
If they took a Joanna Bourne novel and changed it this way I’d likely be livid, but I didn’t have the emotional investment in Daphne and Simon many people did.
It was eye candy and I loved seeing Penelope and Eloise come to life but I wasn’t riveted and emotional as I was watching North and South or Pride and Prejudice or any adaptation that grounds itself in reality. I just took it for what it was.
I’m not attached to Julia Quinn. I read the novels 10 years ago and enjoyed them, but quickly moved onto other authors. There’s a reason I stopped reading her. But, at the same time, I had enjoyed her writing enough, and remembered it enough that the changed they made were jarring and kept throwing me out of the story, unfortunately, and not in a good way. I just dearly hope no one ever decides to make a Georgette Heyer novel into a movie or comes for my beloved Mary Balogh or Courtney Milan or Alyssa Cole. I understand that a lot of the internal struggle is lost because showing that kind of monologue on screen is difficult. But Outlander did a superb job of showing Claire’s narrative. And I frankly think that if people want romance, there are a lot better shows for it. This show was beautiful on the surface, but as a review on Vox said, ultimately far too shallow, with characters that weren’t explored that much, and ultimately empty. If people love it, good for them. I just wish the articles, etc, would stop on certain pop culture websites, because I’m sick of it already, it’s already been talked to death. What I do hope that comes out of it, is that other, better romances and stories are told, and maybe by authors who deserve it, if they want to write a colorful, beautiful world, embracing people from all walks of life, so that everyone watching can see something of themselves in it. So many people were excited to watch this, and I think felt betrayed by being teased it would be for them when ultimately it was not.
I agree that there was a shallowness to the production.
The characters had basically one emotion they were allowed at a time and with characters like Anthony it really ruined who they were. I’m still not sure why Daphne had to be changed to take whatever was quirky about her away.
I also agree that Outlander is the gold standard for adapting a modern “romance” from a woman’s point of view. There’s no question that things like costume and music were probably more of a priority in Bridgerton than truly multifaceted characters.
I am hoping that it is the kickoff for a lot of other productions that see that historical romance is profitable and in demand.