The Wit and Wisdom of Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
I come from a large family. Three sisters, a brother, various sisters- and brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews . . . and a positive flotilla of cousins. (I consider it a point of pride that one of my favorite people in the whole world is my third cousin.) Family events can be overwhelming—no one ever believes me when I say I’m the quiet one in the family—but they are always fun. We are silly, we are sharp, and we interrupt each other far more often than is polite.
We are never boring.
And we love each other. Fiercely.
I believe that this depth of unconditional support is something we all crave. And while we can rely on the promised Happily Ever After for each main couple in the Bridgerton books, I think that readers also long for the web of support that strongly wraps around a family like the Bridgertons. I’d like to think that if the Bridgertons were a contemporary family, they’d have such an active group text that everyone (especially Francesca) would have to turn off alerts. Violet, of course, would reign supreme with eight color-coordinated Google calendars.
I hope there is something in each of the characters that readers can identify with. Underneath the lighthearted narration lie real problems, real struggles and battles that, although set in the glamorous world of regency England, are still relevant and familiar to today’s readers. Anthony grapples with the weight of sudden familial responsibility. Violet and Francesca must learn how to keep living after loss. Other characters struggle with issues of identity: Who are we outside of our assigned spot in our family? What does it mean to hide a piece of oneself from those who are closest to you? We can all recall moments when all we really wanted was simply to make sense of the world around us, to figure out who we were and who we wanted to be.
The Bridgertons, for all their privilege, are no different. And that’s why we love them.
I am often asked if the actors on Bridgerton look the way they did in my head while writing them in the books. The answer is no, but only because I’m not a very visual writer, and I rarely have a clear sense of what my characters look like while I’m writing. (I rarely have even a fuzzy sense, to be honest; there’s a reason I work with words and not pictures.) But as I went back through the books—from The Duke and I all the way to On the Way to the Wedding—to collect quotations for this volume, something interesting happened: I finally “saw” my characters. It didn’t matter that I’d described Simon with blue eyes. In my head he was Regé-Jean Page. When Daphne smiled, I saw Phoebe Dynevor’s face. I heard Adjoa Andoh in Lady Danbury’s words, and it was Claudia Jessie’s hand that scribbled the letters Eloise sent to her family. The television series has added a layer of richness to the books, just as I hope the books enhance the viewing experience. They are complements, in the very best sense of the word.
But this collection is focused on the books, and it is for that reason that you won’t find some of your favorite Netflix moments in these pages. I’ve tried to assemble my favorite quotes from the Bridgerton novels, or at least the ones that best represent and illuminate each character. It wasn’t easy; there were many passages that simply didn’t work out of context. There were others that required light editing for clarity. In some places I’ve replaced a pronoun with a proper name. In others I’ve deleted an unnecessary sentence. Everyone got a brand-new Whistledown entry, which was tremendous fun for me—it’s been well over a decade since I’ve picked up her quill.
A Bridgerton. To be such is to know that you are part of a family tightly webbed with staunch loyalty and unquestioning love. And laughter.