queen charlotte book review

‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’ by Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes: Don’t go over the wall on this one

Our Queen Charlotte book review takes a look at this stunning Bridgerton story from Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes.

The Bidgerton-ized story of Queen Charlotte and King George III is one that should be consumed in as many forms as possible. It’ll grab your heart immediately, and keep it, albeit somewhat recklessly, until the very bittersweet end. At this point, we all know we can count on Shondaland for an engaging story, and we’ve come to expect a sizzling romance from the Bridgerton series, but Queen Charlotte was an extra special version of both.

Related: Bridgerton season 2 expands on the show’s promises and unlocks its full potential

Maybe it was the fact that, in some way, Bridgerton fans already kind of knew the ending to this story that made it so impactful, or maybe it was the act of diving into the heart and youth of characters as austere as Queen Charlotte, and as mysterious as King George III, or maybe it was even the fact that this story was based on at least a little bit of historical fact. Either way, this is a love story that you won’t soon forget.

So far, this rings as a glowing endorsement for both the Queen Charlotte book, written by Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes, and Netflix’s Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. Now, I’ll get into what you can expect from the book if you already watched and adored the show, and the differences you’ll see if you’re looking to read the book first.

‘Queen Charlotte’ book review

queen charlotte book review

Both versions feature very strong characters, particularly, of course, in the titular Queen Charlotte. I found her characterization quite equal between the book and the show, as in both she’s quite an easy character to read. Her strength and stubbornness is at the center of every scene she’s in, and I loved spending more time with her.

With most other characters, the Queen Charlotte book provided some fascinating context and let us dive deeper into their minds and motives. The chapters of the book switch off narration between Charlotte, George, Agatha, and Brimsley, so we get to experience the story from all of their points of view. They’re all written with unique voices that are incredibly fun to read, and they each shed light on a different aspect of life in the ton.

George was my favorite to read, as I found him such a mystery on screen. Queen Charlotte obviously provided some gorgeous new quotes and scenes centered around his love for his wife, but it also gave new insight into his treatment, his relationship with Princess Augusta, and even gave us a glimpse into what’s going on in his mind during his “episodes.” These chapters gave their love story even more weight, making it both more beautiful and even more impossibly heart-wrenching.

I also loved hearing from Brimsley about what it was like to be the new right hand of the queen, and also about his romance with Reynolds, which was an unexpected highlight of the story. It was fun to read about his affections for both Reynolds and the new queen, along with how he felt about his position. One of my favorite scenes in the Queen Charlotte book was where Brimsley and Reynolds are daring to dream of what their future could look like if the King and Queen could work things out.

A highlight of Agatha’s chapters was getting a closer look at her meetings with Princess Augusta, and figuring out exactly what information she was divulging, and what she was keeping between herself and her new friend. I found this part of the story fascinating, and Agatha was such a competent and faithful narrator in the book that I found myself looking forward to her chapters. Starting with what it was like to get a last-minute invitation to the royal wedding, and continuing to her candor with the queen, I loved spending time inside her head.

The Queen Charlotte book provided me much needed context on the whole “even days” fiasco, and might I say, the more intimate scenes were unsurprisingly even steamier in their written form. The book also included a shocking revelation about Queen Charlotte’s orange that helped me understand her character even better.

There were also aspects of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story that were not included in the Queen Charlotte book. I was slightly disappointed that there was no mention of the growing friendship and honesty between Violet Bridgerton and Agatha Danbury, nor the past relationship between Agatha and Violet’s father. The story remained centered on Queen Charlotte and the issues that surrounded her, including “the great experiment,” and understandably did not venture into the Bridgerton family as the show did.

There was also far less back and forth between time periods in the book. We checked in on the Queen Charlotte that we’ve come to know in the Bridgerton series only twice. Once at the beginning, and once at the end. This, I felt, was a positive change, as I didn’t find the extra scenes between Charlotte and her children added much to the show, save for maybe some extra attention on the Charlotte and Brimsley dynamic.

Speaking of that ending scene, I was honestly truly nervous to reach it in the Queen Charlotte book. Not only did I not want the story to end, but I was also utterly wrecked by that scene in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. I was sure that the book’s interpretation would leave me completely unable to participate in society.

In reality, it was about the same level of wreckage between the two. Have your tissues handy, but you don’t need to book any extra days off of work. The scene was extremely faithful between the page and the screen, but the extra George context from the Queen Charlotte book definitely garnered an extra tear or two…or three…or four…

‘Queen Charlotte’ is available to buy now!

Buy Queen Charlotte by Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes from HarperCollins, Bookshop.org, or Amazon. You can also add it to your Goodreads list.

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