The Viscount Who Loved Me is book two in the Bridgerton series, written by Julia Quinn. The series was popularized by Netflix when book 1, The Duke and I, was adapted for the show’s focus in season 1. Now, Bridgerton is back for a second season and based on The Viscount Who Loved Me. I wanted to read the book before the episode’s debut.
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About the Bridgerton Series
Each Bridgerton book is centered on one of the eight siblings and their love life. Here’s the order for how to read the Bridgerton series.
1: The Duke & I, focused on Daphne Bridgerton.
2: The Viscount Who Loved Me, focused on Anthony Bridgerton.
3: An Offer From A Gentleman, focused on Benedict Bridgerton.
4: Romancing Mister Bridgerton, focused on Colin Bridgerton.
5: To Sir Phillip, With Love, focused on Eloise Bridgerton.
6: When He Was Wicked, focused on Francesca Bridgerton.
7: It’s In His Kiss, focused on Hyacinth Bridgerton.
8: On The Way To The Wedding, focused on Gregory Bridgerton.
The Viscount Who Loved Me — Bridgerton Book 2
The Viscount Who Loved Me focuses on Anthony Bridgerton—the eldest of the eight Bridgerton siblings—on his journey to finding a wife. But, unlike his parents, he vows not to wed for love but rather for convenience and duty.
“1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, this author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London’s most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry.
And in truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better…
—Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1814
But this time, the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry—he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield—the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate is the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams…
Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands—and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate is determined to protect her sister—but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself… (Goodreads).”
Format & GeneralWriting
The book is written in the third person and alternates between Anthony Bridgerton’s and Kate Sheffield’s perspectives. There is also the occasional Lady Whistledown announcement.
I adore the Bridgerton series because of how heartwarming it is to read about the family dynamic. This book in particular made me smile throughout I also raised my brows and kept score as Anthony and Kate interacted. The dialogue was witty, engaging, and overall enjoyable. My biggest complaint has more to do with how much narration is included. Many times I found myself saying “we already know this” or a variant of “get on with it”. There are many components (especially in the epilogue) that re-tell details or scenes that we had just read about. I did not enjoy those redundant moments and felt the story could have progressed through dialogue instead of narration or excluded those scenes altogether, to make room for something more creative and engaging. That being said, I still enjoyed the book.
It’s important to know that as part of the genre/the style of a romance novel, each of the books within this series is tied up and wrapped with a bow. There aren’t any cliffhangers or sad endings. Think of this series as a Hallmark Channel movie—everyone ends up happy and where they need to be, on the last page.
Discrepancy From The Netflix Adaptation
For those who watched Bridgerton season 1, you will see callbacks to Daphne’s story within this book. Some of the show’s creative changes with Daphne were pulled from this book. For example, the infamous “I burn for you” line was said by Anthony. For those watching the show and then reading the books (like me), you might not feel the urgency or connect to the line as strongly if you were to have read first.
The entire Bridgerton series is primarily set in England during the Regency era. The Regency era was from 1811-1820. The Viscount Who Loved Me begins in 1814 and progresses alongside the characters by the end of the book, as they age. By the epilogue and in The Viscount Who Loved Me: The Second Epilogue, we see a significant time jump.
There are sexual scenes narrated and mentioned within the book. If you are not comfortable reading those, this is not the book for you. It is not a clean romance novel.
The Viscount Who Loved Me Book Review
I had a difficult time reading the first book in the Bridgerton series, after watching the show. Tv/film adaptations usually change or leave out a piece of the story they’re based on, but I was at some moments disappointed by the plot differences (even though they were minor) from the book to season 1. I didn’t think that I would continue reading the series––especially because it’s been nearly a year since I read The Duke & I––but something within me decided against it, earlier in the month. I blame the Bridgerton season 2 trailer being so well done and the marketing team. Needless to say, I was itching to dive back into the Bridgerton realm and wanted a new storyline. Thus, I resumed reading the series.
Overall I enjoyed this book. I found it refreshing to have a “rake” (the Regency era’s version of a playboy) who decides for himself to marry. He doesn’t pretend to be above marriage and he genuinely cares about his future spouse, despite not knowing who she will be. Anthony recognizes his responsibility as head of the Bridgerton family and wants to steward the power and privilege he was born into, by fulfilling the expectations of marriage his family and society place on him.
Family Dynamic and Anthony’s Role As Caretaker
When we’re introduced to Anthony, we see how determined he is and the one-track mindset to protect his mother and siblings. As the book continues, this priority remains true, but we see Anthony consider himself more––we learn about why he approaches thinking and planning his future through the lens of his family versus himself and why this matters.
Anthony’s book explores the journey of losing a parent as a young adult, the changing in family dynamics, and also the lingering trauma and how it morphs into his adulthood. Unlike some of his siblings, Anthony has the luxury of memories with/of the late Viscount Bridgerton. Upon his death, Anthony stepped in as the “father” role for his siblings, becoming the only example they would (in some cases) remember and even see.
Anthony’s healthy relationship with his father and the positive parent-child relationship they had, influences Anthony to seek out a wife and begin a family of his own. We catch a glimpse of Anthony’s priorities and understand what truly matters to him versus what society thinks he cares about when he references what he’s looking for in a wife and how he had seen that respect in his parent’s marriage. The death of Viscount Bridgerton traumatized Anthony. We see him battle fear of death and the idea of leaving behind loved ones. This book is a beautiful journey about finding freedom through the multiple aspects of love.
The Other Bridgertons
The other Bridgerton siblings appear regularly throughout this book. My favorite is the Pall-mall game where we see exactly how competitive the Bridgertons are—with others…and each other.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it. Once the reader comes to terms with and accepts the narration style of the book/series, it is easy to get lost in and easy to follow. Unlike other historical fiction/historical romance novels, Julia Quinn doesn’t try to shove as much information or unique language from this time in the story. I didn’t feel lost, overwhelmed, or confused while getting to know the story and characters. I appreciated the inclusion of the Regency era games, jokes, sayings, and felt as if they were inserted naturally to propel the story along. I’m also not a regular reader of smut/sexy romance novels. I found that the steamy scenes were written tastefully and were tolerable for someone who doesn’t seek out this style.
The Viscount Who Loved Me, beautifully showcased how Anthony learns to open his heart to love. By the end of the book, Anthony loves himself, his family, the painful memories of his father, a life partner, uncertainty, and specific aspects of society, alongside the possibilities of life.
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