Corsets, balls and rumored high society romances are back, surely to become the talk of the town — and Lady Whistledown is here to highlight it all in her official guidebook, “The Wit and Wisdom of Bridgerton.”
Julia Quinn, author of the beloved Regency-set series “Bridgerton,” which inspired the hit Netflix show, has encapsulated her favorite quotes, moments, “quips and barbs” from all of the "Bridgerton" characters we love and know best — and she did it more than two decades after the first book’s release.
“You know, it was fun, both because it had been so long, and also because it was really fun to see the characters through new eyes, because they had now been inhabited by these actors,” Quinn said in an interview with TODAY.
The book vs. the show
While Lady Whistledown’s gossip guide does not reveal any stark new details of the elaborate "Bridgerton" storyline, it does highlight all of the siblings’ love lives by sharing moments from each book in the series.
“There is a little bit of new material; each character gets their own new Lady Whistledown column.” She continued, “Part of what I really enjoyed was finding quotations from books from non lead characters.”
Whether you are a fan of the show, or a lover of her novel collection, Quinn’s new book will certainly bring you back to 19th century England and some of the finest moments of the Bridgerton family.
“The book will still give them a little bit of added insight because, you know, the thing about television versus books, there are different things that each does really well. The television show, what it gives you that the books can’t is an incredible visual. You have this ability to really focus on each character at once, I think. But books can bring more of the internal dialogue and the internal thoughts,” Quinn noted.
Revisiting the characters
Returning to Lady Whistledown’s quill was quite an exciting deed for the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author. She recalled that writing the concealed tattler’s guidebook allowed her to picture her characters for the first time since penning the series in the early 2000s.
Quinn, who refers to herself as “not a very visual writer,” was “suddenly” able to put a face to her characters. And she did share that she relates to show viewers who have not yet read her books. “I was now having a similar experience to the readers who saw the show first, and then went to the books."
Though someone who was able to capture Quinn’s vision is none other than television mastermind Shonda Rhimes. And Quinn explained that handing over creative control was “the easiest thing in the world. I've said it a million times, I'm not going to tell her how to make television. I just, I trusted them. And so I think when you're working with people you trust, it's not necessarily difficult to do.”
Bridgerton siblings Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth, in addition to Anthony’s love interest, Kate, Lady Whistledown (aka Penelope Featherington), Daphne’s beau, Simon (aka The Duke of Hastings), Bridgerton matriarch Violet and close friend of Simon’s mother Lady Danbury each have their own collection of quotes and moments abridged in the book, with singular chapters dedicated to each and every one of them.
“It seemed like the best way to organize it. One of the things that's really nice about the Bridgertons is that you do see characters, they do pop up in other books. And that's the thing, I think they need to serve a purpose when they're in there. So it was really fun to, you know, see them when they are serving different purposes,” Quinn said.
Season 2 of 'Bridgerton'
Anthony, the eldest of the bunch, will be the focus of season two of “Bridgerton” airing on Netflix in 2022. The episodes will take a deeper look into Anthony’s seemingly omnipresent, though fallacious love life, with Kate Sharma, his new viscountess. Anthony’s prior and scandalous relationship with opera singer Siena was a main subplot in season one, though their romance came to a shattering end in the final minutes of the finale. And surely, Lady Whistledown has something to say about the impetuous viscount.
Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 20, 1814 (as quoted in “The Wit and Wisdom of Bridgerton”):
"Anthony Bridgerton is a Rake.
He doesn’t flaunt his exploits because he doesn’t need to. He knows he will be whispered about by men and women alike, and in fact, he’d rather they didn’t whisper about him at all.
He knows who he is and what he has done; further recountings are, to him, redundant.
He doesn’t behave like an idiot for the simple reason that he isn’t an idiot. He has little patience for the foibles of society, and quite frankly, most of the time This Author cannot say she blames him.
And if that doesn’t describe Viscount Bridgerton — surely this season’s most eligible bachelor — to perfection, This Author shall retire Her quill immediately."
Quinn could not reveal anything about Anthony's upcoming season, though she did give us a sneak peek into the lives we are all about to follow in this particular collection, “It's a different type of love story. This is a real, like, enemies-to-lovers story, and that I love. You're going to see him (Anthony) and you're going to meet another new family, the Sharmas, and there is incredible sisterhood there. They love each other, support each other and they want the best for each other.”
Highlighting the storylines
In addition to the multitude of society papers penned by Lady Whistledown, the collection also features some of Quinn’s most memorable and intriguing quotes from the individual “Bridgerton’ books.
From “The Viscount Who Loved Me”:
“Love isn’t about being afraid that it will all be snatched away. Love’s about finding the one person who makes your heart complete, who makes you a better person than you ever dreamed you could be. It’s about looking in the eyes of your wife and knowing, all the way to your bones, that she’s simply the best person you’ve ever known.”
Quinn believes including quotes from the individual books allowed her to highlight the storylines of each sibling a bit better.
“Including different quotes helps to illuminate another character, or helps, you know, flesh out the family dynamic more. “You can come in any book and you will not be confused. I'm really careful about that. What is important is how maybe their experience helps explain and define the new characters,” Quinn said.
Falling in love with the characters
Despite the fictionality of “Bridgerton,” the bestselling author did say that each of the characters resonates with her. “For a long time I would say I was a combination of Penelope, Eloise and Francesca. For a number of reasons. But now that I'm a little older, I think it might be Violet.”
And for those of you who have fallen in love with the Netflix series, and as a result have become particularly fond of Simon, the Duke of Hastings, Quinn has just the thing to say to you.
“I would just say that, you know, you fell in love with this character. But what you also fell in love with was a love story and a romance. You fell in love with Simon and you fell in love with Daphne. But you also fell more in love with their stories,” Quinn shared.
As for this upcoming season’s story, Quinn is sure that the episodes will not disappoint.
“For season two, we're going to have two new leads, but you're going to fall in love with their story too. If you fell in love with watching these two characters (Simon and Daphne) fall in love, you're gonna fall in love with watching Kate and Anthony fall in love, too.”
“Bridgerton,” which enthralled an audience of over 82 million, has redefined the romance drama genre by mimicking contemporary thought set in the Regency era. Essentially, the characters deal with very similar things as a family would today, and it is all recounted in Quinn’s book.
“I think there's certain things that we all go through that are universal like this, you know, I think one of my favorite ones that Penelope did is having the feeling of not knowing who you are. I'm like, no, no, it's not that, like, the feeling of knowing who you are. But not knowing how to be that person on the outside. And I think a lot of people have that. You can take this universal emotion and give it to somebody who lives in a different type of society,” Quinn noted.
As for what the author hopes for the coming season?
“I just want people to fall in love with Anthony and Kate as much as they fell in love with Simon and Daphne.”
And if you fell in love with “Bridgerton” all together like we did, Quinn hopes that the series will “lead more people to read the books, not just mine, but like by my colleagues, really, like if you are the people who fell in love with falling in love.”
Quinn — author of over 40 books, including a group of prequels following the early lives of the Bridgerton children — is not set to take a break anytime soon. Quinn’s next book, “Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron, a Graphic Novel,” unrelated to the “Bridgerton” series, will be released on March 22, 2022 and is currently available for pre-order. “The Wit and Wisdom of Bridgerton” is available now, both in stores and online.