Wednesday, October 16, 2019

We Need to Talk About The Bridgertons

Today Kat is kicking off a new discussion series on the blog. Think of today as the introduction to it all. The first post will be up next week, and the rest will follow in the coming months as she finishes up each book. I hope you check back for each installment, this should be interesting!

Like many people, I was excited to hear that Julia Quinn’s series The Bridgertons was being adapted into a Netflix series.

Beloved and recognized romance book series? High production quality vis a vis Netflix? SHONDA RIMES?

I got back into romance the summer of 2015, when I spent several months mostly in bed due to a chronic health condition. Judging from what I’ve seen and heard in Romancelandia, it’s not uncommon for romance to literally be the thing that gets people through difficult times: chronic pain, health issues, grief, loss, heartache. It’s a personal connection that we have to these books; in academia, it can be referred to as a parasocial relationship. We feel like we know our favorite characters, we struggle right along with our favorite authors in the quest for the publication of their amazing stories.

I say all this to provide a context. I first read The Bridgertons series back in 2015, when I was reading recommended Big Names to try to find where my interests were. I really liked it! The concept of a series of siblings finding love was still sort of a new concept to me and I loved the relationships the Bridgertons had with each other, how their relationships with their partners were unique, and of course, how the setting of early-ish 19th century London ton heightened the atmosphere of romance.

When the Netflix series was announced, criticisms of the book series began to pop up. It was Too White, there were fuzzy or anachronistic details in the setting, the romantic relationships were maybe not the healthiest. I wanted to find out how I would perceive the series after 4 years of having read a lot of other romance (not to mention having further developed my socialist feminist tendencies, haha).

So, I embarked on a mission to rediscover The Bridgertons, to see it with new eyes, eyes that were, if not objective, were at least aware of the lens they were looking through. In this blog series, I’ll give recaps of each book, but I will also discuss overarching [problematic] themes, I’ll rank the Bridgerton siblings and their partners in personality and characterization, and I’ll look for the good stuff - the stuff I hope survives through to the adaptation.

I acknowledge that requiring 2019 standards of a book series written in the 1980s - wait, when were these written? The 90s, right? Wait - The Duke and I came out in 2000? Well, ok. That’s still almost 20 years ago. Surely we have to recognize that white lady romance authors couldn’t be as aware of other perspectives… or other racial identities… and sexual identities… and disabilities…  Ok, this might be a rough road.

Stay tuned for a recap of The Duke and I, which will be posted on the 21st.  Spoiler alert: the Duke is kind of a dick.

~ Kat

I can't wait to read each discussion post, Kat. Thanks for doing this project!


Until Next Time,

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