How is the Bridgerton book series different from the Netflix show?

Spoilers ahead!

Dear readers,

We can hardly believe it. Everyone’s favorite period drama returned earlier this year with more drama, more tortuous side plots, and more focus on another Bridgerton’s scintillating love life. In the year since Daphne Bridgerton became Duchess, many were tempted to use Julia Quinn’s original book series to sate their thirst for Bridgerton, but how many of the books can you expect to see on the Netflix show this season? ? Tighten up your corsets as we walk you through five of the most notable differences we think Lady Whistledown would definitely say something about. Be warned, dear readers, there are spoilers ahead.

That famous bee scene

In the book, that famous bee scene was much more outrageous. Anthony, terrified of Kate’s bee sting due to his past trauma, is caught sucking the venom from Kate’s chest to prevent her from dying. Anthony is so concentrated that he doesn’t notice his lips on Kate’s chest. But someone does notice this exchange, and it’s their mothers (awkward), who can see exactly where Sir Bridgerton’s lips are. This results in a forced marriage between the two, because in Bridgerton’s time, the worst thing you can do is tarnish a woman’s reputation.

Continue reading article after our video

Featured Fodor’s Video

In the show, the bee scene is a little less outrageous, though still quite dramatic. In response to the bee sting and Anthony’s ensuing panic attack, Kate grabs Anthony’s hand and holds it to her bosom to stabilize his breathing. Once Anthony calms down, the two close their eyes in a secret exchange that reveals their ardent feelings for each other. Unlike the books, their impassioned exchange is not witnessed by their mothers.

The Sheffields and the Sharmas

In the book there is no family politics between the Sheffields. Or less of it. In the book, Mary, Kate and Edwina Sharma Mary, Kate and Edwina Sheffield are newcomers to the countryside. Although they are much less valued than the Bridgertons, resulting in less attention to their chaperone status, to be still somewhat prosperous, and Kate is still considered a young lady in need of reputation and virtue. Edwina doesn’t have to get married to make a fortune in the books, but simply because, as a young lady, she should. We can see Eloise’s eyes rolling from here.

In the show, in the dizzying age of her late twenties, Kate seems to be considered some sort of lost cause beyond getting married. As a result, Kate can fly wherever she wants with much less regard for her reputation. This makes sense on the show as she has no blood relationship with the Sheffields, being Edwina’s half sister to a clerk, and allows us to see a lot more alone moments between Anthony and Kate than we’ve ever had with Simon and Daphne until after marriage . Rather than being Sheffields, the show creates an entirely new plot for Mary Sheffield and then sees the Sharma family sail from Bombay to London. The South Asian culture of the Sharmas is seamlessly woven into the storyline, and this was definitely one of the changes in the book that worked for the better.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

The truth about Kate Sharma

In the book, Kate is not that aggressive in her defense of Edwina. No, really, we promise. This is partly because Edwina is more of a minor character in the book. Although she and Anthony are dating, there are no real feelings between the two, and Edwina would rather marry a scholar. Kate protects her sister and Anthony still has to impress her to win Edwina’s hand – he falls for her in the process – but all is seen as done out of a kindhearted sisterly duty. Kate is still Edwina’s half sister, but her father was a Sheffield, which is why she still has a certain importance in the society. This means that while Kate is very perceptive, willing to fight and protective, it never goes beyond hurting Edwina as much as it does on the show.

In the show, Kate takes on an almost motherly role from Edwina. This creates a conflict with Edwina and turns their actual mother into a stupid peripheral character. It creates an odd gap between the characters that have been commented on since the show aired, but lets Edwina shine as a character of her own, compared to the books. The show explores that Kate protects Edwina to the detriment of both of them, allowing Edwina to become an important character herself. While the core love between the siblings remains the same, the way it is explored in the show is completely different resulting in different outcomes.

The Discovery of Lady Whistledown

In the book, Eloise does not find out who Lady Whistledown is. In fact, we don’t even know it in the books yet. This harks back to season one, but in the books we don’t find out how Penelope uses her pen until book four, which follows Colin Bridgerton’s romance. Eloise isn’t actually a big star of the second novel, as each Bridgerton gets their own book. In the show, however, Eloise gets her own side plot, as does Penelope, who turns out to be Lady Whistledown at the end of season one. This results in a dramatic season finale where Eloise confronts her best friend Penelope as Lady Whistledown. I told you there would be spoilers!


The exploration of trauma

Trauma is explored much more in the books. In the books, Anthony not only has his fear of bees because of his father’s death (which he didn’t experience in the books, but still suffers), but he is also convinced that he will die young too. Teenage Anthony believes that since Edmund Bridgerton was the greatest man who had ever lived and died at the age of 38, there is no way he could surpass him in age. This puts more time pressure on Anthony to get married and it makes more sense why he throws himself into the next social season when he had no interest before. His logic is introduced on page one: “Anthony Bridgerton had always known he would die young.”

Likewise, Kate is afraid of storms due to the death of her own mother. In a library scene in Aubrey Hall, unable to sleep, Kate searches for a book to distract herself from the rain. But when a thunderstorm begins to descend, she panics and hides under a table, where Anthony later finds and comforts her. She can’t communicate, and when the thunder has passed, she can’t remember how she got there. It is later revealed that Kate has a phobia that stems from childhood trauma like Anthony. Kate’s mother died when she was three and succumbed to lung disease. Toddler Kate thinks the sound of thunder outside is coming from her mother’s mouth and can’t stop the association as an adult.

In the show we get to see how the previous Viscount’s death affected the entire family, including Anthony’s stilted relationship with them, which is less explored in the books, no mention is made of Anthony’s own fear of dying young, and neither does he really investigate or tell Kate about his fear of bees. Although Anthony also states that he will not fall in love when he gets married, as in the books, it is suggested that this is after his affair with opera singer Siena Rosso, or because of the grief his own mother had after the death of his father, unlike to anything to do with how long he will live. Kate, in turn, doesn’t explore her fear of storms. While we see Kate and Anthony taking refuge in Aubrey Hall’s library in episode four, this results in less verbal bonding than fans’ favorite book scene.

The romance between Kate and Anthony

In the book, the slow burn is less slow, but more burning. Kate and Anthony kiss pretty quickly in the book, while Kate sneaks out at a Bridgerton house party. She ducks into the nearest room when she hears Anthony approaching and witnesses his flirtation with opera singer Maria Rosso (changed slightly from the show). The two then spar just like the show, but it results in an early, passionate kiss, which they both seem to regret… at least at first. In the show, the slow burn is the hook of the series. We keep waiting for episode six, after the proposal and subsequent near-wedding with Edwina, before seeing the couple kissing in church.

Simon and Daphne

In the book we see Simon and Daphne as a happy couple, very much in love. It’s part of the joy of the Bridgerton series that as we progress through the various series we see snippets of the previous couples and their happy endings. In the show we unfortunately miss our handsome Duke, who was played by Regé-Jean Page. After the first season, Page became a worldwide sensation thanks to his effortless charm and sex appeal. Much to our chagrin, the actor jumped off the Bridgerton wagon to pursue other acting jobs. Throughout this new season, we see Daphne hint at her husband and their happy marriage – even with their adorable newborn baby – but we don’t see any sign of the Duke himself, which is odd. If you want to see the Duke (ie Regé-Jean Page) you have to look to the silver screen, where he will star in The Gray Man later this year.

In the end, we have to say that there were a lot more notable changes from the books to the shows this season. This gives us two alternative ways to see Kate and Anthony fall in love, and it’s up to you, dear readers, to decide which story you like best.

Leave a Comment