Queen Charlotte is being hailed as the best Bridgerton story by the internet. Back when Bridgerton first appeared on our screens for the first time in 2020, no one anticipated that this Regency-era drama filled with laced trims, silks, and corsets with no real-life relevance would make an unforgettable space in pop culture. The show, without a doubt, became a leading influence behind the Regency-core aesthetic taking over fashion and literary culture.
What sets this series apart from other period dramas are the gripping storytelling, visually stunning settings, lavish costumes, and, of course, steamy love scenes that provide just the right amount of escapism. After two successful seasons and nearly a year of waiting, it was only reasonable to assume that the third season would further bedazzle the Bridgeverse experience. Six episodes of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, a new addition to the series revisiting our beloved Queen Charlotte’s and King George’s love story, weren’t quite enough.
View this post on Instagram
The earnest gazes, or the tiniest touches, that create such passion and intimacy between the main characters of the stories of these historical romance novels have us all in a chokehold. If you’re one of the few who wish they could time travel back a few hundred years, if only for a day, with the sole purpose of finding a linen shirt-clad, cravat-rocking, soft curl-sporting gentleman, then these historical romance should help you out. Let’s set the stage: an ideal world of elaborate costumes, bejewelled balls, and a man who is as good with his words as he is with other things. If this seems to be your type, here are six reads you should have on your bookshelf, because let’s admit it, guys like these are incredibly difficult to find.
1. The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
If Hunger Games and Bridgetron had a baby, it would be this series. In a dystopian world, thirty-five girls are chosen to participate in the Selection, live in the palace, and compete for the heart of Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being selected is a true nightmare. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want, and living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. In spite of that, America meets Prince Maxon, and gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself and realises that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she’s never imagined.
2. Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin
This book is for all the kids who loved to read Mulan but are now single as adults. Based on the Tang Dynasty, Jeannie Lin penned this romance story filled with mysteries. Set in the 8th century AD, Butterfly Swords story revolves around Ai Li, the only daughter of the Emperor of China. After running away from her arranged marriage, 19-year-old Ai Li enlists the protection of Ryam, a foreigner trying to navigate through China. This romance features something most others don’t: ample sword fighting.
3. The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite
The drama in this book is a queer love story dream.Two intelligent women in an English mansion, studying astronomy and perfecting their intricate embroidery. Olivia Waite’s lush descriptions and her heroines’ deep connection deliver on a sublime premise. In addition to a lovely romance, the acclaimed book also celebrates the achievements of women artists and scientists, who have always been shunned in the historical genre.
4. An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
Malcolm McCall and Elle Burns are not who they pretend to be. During the Civil War, Elle, a free lady, disguised herself to be a slave in order to spy for the Union troops. Malcolm is also a spy, not a member of the Confederacy’s military. When Elle and Malcolm meet in Virginia, they have to take off their masks and the engrained racial dynamics in society in order to get to know each other’s true selves. Each book in Cole’s trilogy, which is set during the American Civil War, is a must-read because it successfully combines historical stakes with strong emotional connections.