The London Literary and Cranberry Orange Scone Society: Volume I

Welcome to the dramatic London Literary and Cranberry Orange Scone Society, lovingly inspired by one of our favorite novels, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The society is a book club, focused specifically on the romance novels we’re reading lately and our thoughts. Volume I features the infamous Bridgerton series, coming to Netflix on Christmas Day. We love them all, but here’s our top three for now.

Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

The Viscount Who Loved Me

1. What’s the best part of this book?

Gissane: All of it? Literally. No, I’m kidding, but in all seriousness, the featuring of more than one romantic trope with the grace that it does is what astounds me to no end. Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sheffield are both quietly damaged individuals who mask their pain through protectiveness and the kind of armor that only one specific person can break through. This is the book that takes Anthony from the utter roguish viscount to the man who’ll move every mountain and stop the rain for one woman who’s challenged him most. This is the story of two people who’d walk through darkness holding hands while understanding one another in ways no other soul ever has. It really is such a stunning showcase of fears and complexity directly in line with romance that makes the relationship richer with empathy.

Jenna: All of it… The way Julia Quinn writes their journey from enemies to lovers is my favorite. They both grow so much throughout their story. I still love their childish fights in the beginning to see how that changes into them becoming sincere with each other. Often, I feel like romances gloss over conflict or mistakes characters make. But, when Anthony insults Kate by tossing the key on the ground and he sincerely apologies the next time they meet is another thing I love about this. I don’t want my Hero or Heroine walked over. Also the humor is great, it makes these books even more entertaining. The pall mall scene is ridiculous and fun!

 2. What would you change about this book?

Gissane: Nothing. It’s perfect. Kidding. And here’s the thing Anthony’s whole spiel with “his rules” pisses me off to no end, his “rights.” Yikes. But it’s such a great showcase of how far he comes. The transparency was important, however pompous it is, it’s prominent to his growth. It’s also just sadly of the times. But he goes from a man whose pain is so profound, he covers it with arrogance, to a man who’d sacrifice anything and everything for his wife. Selfishness is human, but Anthony’s growth comes from his decision to pour everything he has into ensuring Kate’s happy, and that comes with his decision to be vulnerable, too. I’d also make the novel longer because with these two, we could use more. And preferably casual intimacy.

Jenna: Two things. First, I know it is something that would happen during those times, but I hate when Anthony says “And I don’t like being denied my rights.” And their whole exchange when Kate wants to wait on the wedding night. Characters are flawed as they should be, no one is perfect. But it really rubbed me the wrong way. It’s the way he says it, I get him being upset but that was too far for me. 

Second, I needed more! I felt like it ended quickly and the epilogue took place so much later, I wish we had a little more time after the accident and got to see more family interactions. Something along the lines of Edwina by Kate’s bedside talking about the change in Anthony and maybe some of the other Bridgertons checking in on her and Anthony being the doting husband he is. 

3. Since this has been adapted into a TV show, what do you hope the series accomplishes that the novel couldn’t with its short length?

Gissane: CAST KATE. But also MORE CONTENT. This book’s greatest flaw is that it’s not long enough. I want more content with Anthony and Kate. I want to see more moments with Kate’s introduction into the family. I want to see them actually struggle with facing their fears and leaning on each other for support because no trauma really goes away overnight. It’s something that’s worked on. 

Jenna: Same! I want all of that. And I want great family interactions. I’m sure we will be getting more of that, the cast seems so close, I can’t wait to see their chemistry on screen. 

Bonus: Favorite Quotes

“It means that 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.” 

“He stared at her as she drifted off, then watched her as she slumbered. He watched the way her eyes sometimes moved under her sleepy eyelids. He measured the pace of her breathing by counting the gentle rise and fall of her chest. He listened for each sigh, each mumble. There were certain memories a man wanted to sear on his brain, and this was one of them.” 

“And in that moment he realized that this was about more than love. This woman made him a better person. He’d been good and strong and kind before, but with her at his side, he was something more. And together they could do anything.”

“Well done, Miss Sheffield!” Colin exclaimed. “I knew you were worthy of the mallet of death. […] Nevertheless, any true aficionado of Bridgerton Pall Mall understands that sending Anthony into the lake is more important than actually sending one’s ball through all the wickets. Which makes you our winner, Miss Sheffield.” 

“This has to be the most self-centered thing I’ve ever said, but no, I think you just wanted to vex me.”

Romancing Mister Bridgerton

  1. What’s the best part of this book?

Gissane: There’s an innocence in this book that the others don’t have and I feel like I’m going to make a note to this every time. Colin and Penelope have such a youthful vibrancy in their relationship that sets the tone of the novel. Taylor Swift’s “Lover” Remix with Shawn Mendes. It is, 110% their song. The way the story begins with him bribing her to stay by his side when Lady Danbury’s approaching. The transparency in both their emotions as they see one another through a new lens. These two, in their own little world, the playfulness in their relationship is something that’s unlikely to fade; it’s so infectious. No, but seriously, go back up, listen to the song. Tell me it isn’t them. Tell me you don’t see these two traveling the world together, creating mischief together, and always having something to laugh at together.

Jenna: I love finally digging into Penelope and Colin in this book after three books of them being supporting characters. One of my favorite scenes is when Colin wants to ask Penelope’s family for permission. I both hate and love this scene because I hate how her mother doesn’t even think he could mean to ask for Penelope’s hand and not Felicity’s. But, I love it because it’s so ridiculous and I love how Colin stands up for Penelope. He helps her become more confident in her amazing self. I love seeing her confidence develop. Also, I like reading more about Colin and his insecurities. At first I didn’t love that he was jealous of Penelope’s success at writing, but how they dealt with it was wonderful. 

2. What would you change about this book?

Gissane: Eloise’s absence in this book is the one thing that really gets me. She’s Penelope’s best friend, I want her there during the reveal. I want her to share more of her feelings. It has nothing to do with Colin and Penelope, but she’s such an integral part of their story that her absence is really felt. And Jenna says it best, I want to see Colin realize it sooner.

Jenna: I really love this book, but I think what I would wish for is for Colin to realize sooner that he loves her… I don’t know why but I remember feeling that way when I read the book. Something felt off about how it exactly played out. But I love the conversation between him and Daphne about love, it’s great and helps us know where he is at. I guess more than anything, I want him to realize how amazing Penelope is sooner after how long she has been in love with him. 

Also, I would want to see Eloise’s reaction to the big reveal. One of the biggest components of this story is the friendship between Eloise and Penelope, and I’m sad we didn’t get to see a substantial conversation between them about it. I know there is the second epilogue for that, but I don’t think it should have to be an epilogue.  

3. Since this has been adapted into a TV show, what do you hope the series accomplishes that the novel couldn’t with its short length?

Gissane: We really love the familial interactions with this series. But with Colin and Penelope being introduced to us during the first season, there’s going to be a lot of angst with these two. I’m not only prepared for it, but I welcome it. (I don’t know what this says about me as a person, but I love good angst on TV. as long as the payoff is worth it, which with this, I’m sure it will be.) But I’d be interested in seeing the repercussions of what Colin says in An Offer from a Gentleman. That’s not something I want us to gloss over. So often when something like this happens, it wakes something up in people. It’d be interesting to see how it plays on Colin’s emotions. Plus, yes, it’ll be very interesting to see how the Lady Whistledown reveal goes down with the series since we have Julie Andrews narrating. 

Jenna: More familial interactions. I think that is my answer for all of them… I am very curious on how they are going to pull this off with the big time gap between this book and An Offer from a Gentleman. It’s kind of strange. I almost hope they lessen the time gap, but I don’t at the same time because we can’t have that reveal too early. Or alternatively, can we have Colin in on the secret and more supportive and keeping lady Whistledown running. He can be another informant and now the idea of them, husband and wife, in on Lady Whistledown… I need it.   

Bonus: Favorite Quotes

“Deep inside, she knew who she was, and that person was smart and kind and often even funny, but somehow her personality always got lost somewhere between her heart and her mouth, and she found herself saying the wrong thing or, more often, nothing at all.”

“Isn’t it nice,” the older lady said, leaning in so that only Penelope could hear her words, “to discover that we’re not exactly what we thought we were?” And then she walked away, leaving Penelope wondering if maybe she wasn’t quite what she’d thought she was. Maybe—just maybe—she was something a little bit more.”

“’Felicity,’ Mrs. Featherington interrupted, ‘why don’t you tell Mr. Brdgerton about your watercolors?’ For the life of him, Colin couldn’t imagine a less interesting topic (except maybe for Phillipa’s watercolors), but he nonetheless turned to the youngest Featherington with a friendly smile and asked, ‘And how are your watercolors?’But Felicity, bless her heart, gave him a rather friendly smile herself and said nothing but, “I imagine they’re fine, thank you.”

“I love you with everything I am, everything I’ve been, and everything I hope to be. I love you with my past, and I love you for my future. I love you for the children we’ll have and for the years we’ll have together. I love you for every one of my smiles and even more, for every one of your smiles.”

To Sir Phillip With Love

1. What’s the best part of this book?

Gissane: Eloise Bridgerton is my girl! I go back and forth between which Bridgerton girl is my number one, but the more I think about it, the more I’m set on the fact that it’s Eloise. But let it be known that Hyacinth Bridgerton is close. This book was the most surprising for me, I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I did, but unsurprisingly, it’s the family interactions that get me. Eloise’s development floors me. People don’t often worry or check in on the people who seem to have it together, who are spunky, who are loud and ambitious. But this book really pays homage to the idea that everyone has demons, including those who appear like they don’t. This book also has my favorite quote in the whole series. It’s raw, it’s unfiltered in emotions.

Jenna: Hands down, when the brothers come to Phillip’s home. What I miss in the majority of these books are familial and platonic relationships, then we get amazing Bridgerton family nonsense. I love reading about them interacting with each other, being ridiculous, fighting, but loving each other. And I love to see more of Sophie fitting in with the family. It isn’t until later we actually see the siblings’ partners interact with the family. (And now I am thinking about how I need more Kate interactions in other books, and how that is one of the best things about Gregory’s book.) 

2. What would you change about this book?

Gissane: We’re on the same page here in wanting more Penelope. She needs a bigger role in this. She needs a bigger role. Period. In the same way that Eloise needed to be a bigger presence in her book.

Jenna: More Penelope. How is it that they don’t have a good scene together in Eloise’s book, and they are best friends. It makes me sad they don’t have much here. I know Penelope is newly wed, but still. 

3. Since this has been adapted into a TV show, what do you hope the series accomplishes that the novel couldn’t with its short length?

Gissane: The whole exchange with Phillip is something the audience needs to see. If they do go with a season per book, then starting their exchange from season four and actively showing us their written communication is a great start. Their relationship is really interesting and I do adore them, but there’s just something missing, and that’s the something I want the series to fill. Additionally, if Marina’s storyline is the same, I’d want depression addressed in spite of the time period. Mental health might not be a prominent topic of discussion in the 19th century, in spite of its introduction to psychological studies happening around the time, but I feel like it’d definitely benefit this series. 

Jenna: Same. And since Marina is going to be introduced so early, I think we will see that. I wonder too if Philip and Marina will be involved more in Bridgerton life since they are being introduced so early. But, it would be strange for them not to address her depression in some form, so I’m interested in how they will handle her storyline. 

Bonus: Favorite Quotes

“You’re one of the special ones, Eloise. Life never happens to you. Trust me on this. […] You happen to life, Eloise,’ Anthony said. ‘You’ve always made your own decisions, always been in control. It might not always feel that way, but it’s true.’” 

“Eloise Bridgerton, I don’t think anyone would ever make the mistake of leaving you behind.”

“Be strong. Be diligent. Be conscientious. There is never anything to be gained by taking the easy road. (Unless of course, the road is an easy one to begin with. Roads sometimes are. If that should be the case, do not forge a new, more difficult one. Only martyrs go out looking for trouble. […] Laugh. Laugh out loud, and laugh often. And when circumstances call for silence, turn your laugh into a smile. Don’t settle. Know what you want and reach for it. And if you don’t know what you want, be patient. The answers will come to you in time, and you may find that your heart’s desire has been right under your knows all the while.”  Eloise’s letter to her daughter Penelope.

What are your favorite Bridgerton books? Join the conversation with us on Twitter: @MarvelousGeeks_

One comment

  1. Romance is fun but what makes these Julia Quinn’s so delightful is the sense of humor that flows through her characters! More please!

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