The Lushest Romance Listens for Bridgerton Fans

Pining for the return of the swoon-worthy Netflix special? Here's our list of romance audiobooks like Bridgerton that fans of the series are bound to fall for.

With Bridgerton season two filming now, but an anticipated release not expected until sometime next year, it may feel like we have nothing but time on our hands. If you're looking to fill the Bridgerton-shaped hole in your heart, I've gathered up a variety of picks that tap into various aspects of the show. Whether you're romance rooted, romance curious, or (gasp) romance-adverse, have a read through the list below—I just bet there's something here that will scratch that Bridgerton itch.

The Viscount Who Loved Me

The Viscount Who Loved Me

If you binge-watched and loved Bridgerton, my #1 piece of advice is to skip the first book in the series. It's good, but I wouldn’t say it's the best in the series. And if you're at all newish to written romance, weighing it up against the show isn't going to be fun for you or your future as a romance lover. I recommend fans of the show go straight to book two. Not only is The Viscount Who Loved Me objectively the best in the series (Think Simon had daddy issues? Wait till you dive into Anthony's tormented psyche!), but it will get you revved up for the second season, especially now that you've got a clear picture of Anthony Bridgerton in your mind.

The Duke Undone

The Duke Undone

This is my pick if you were totally swept up in the Benedict art salon storyline. The premise of The Duke Undone is irresistible: art student Lucy Coover stumbles across a naked, unconscious, and very impressive man in London’s East End on her way to classes early one morning, and this unexpected glimpse proves to be just the inspiration she needs to produce the kind of scandalous portrait that will cover her family’s bills for the foreseeable future. All well and good... until her subject encounters the painting. From there, you are quickly swept up in the glamorous and thrilling Victorian-era art scene, along with detours inside the political world of East End confidence men, and even an insane asylum. Also, if you're loving the whole Simon schtick of rich and powerful but also totally vulnerable and still reeling with childhood scars dichotomy, you'll find plenty of that here too.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

If it was the glam costumes that drew you to Bridgeton, this listen is so utterly stylish that you will completely swoon. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is set against the backdrop of the grand tour: a young upperclass man’s traditional rite of passage that involved traveling around the continent, and which also (very minor spoiler alert) becomes a big part of Colin's narrative arc further along in the Bridgerton book series. So if you're a Colin stan, this queer romance is definitely for you.

Island Queen

Island Queen

Part of what elevated Shonda Rhimes’s brilliant imagining of Bridgerton to new groundbreaking heights was the diversity of the cast. And while this diversion from history has both been lauded and critiqued by audiences, it ultimately allows the fun and fantasy of the historical romance genre to be more broadly accessible. (And let’s be clear: this genre is fantasy and never claims to be historically accurate, so Rhimes’s choosing to diverge from history in this way is seriously NBD.) That said, I want to point you to a just-out historical novel with a Black heroine that is based on a true story and epically inspiring. In Island Queen, Vanessa Riley reveals the remarkable life of Dorothy (Doll) Kirwan Thomas, who was born into slavery in the 18th century. As a young woman, she managed to buy her freedom and, against literally all of the odds—cultural, gender, and racial—rose to become a wealthy and powerful landowner and businesswoman. To top it off, Adjoa Andoh (aka Lady Danbury) narrates.

The Countess Conspiracy

The Countess Conspiracy

But what if I want something more? If you related hard to that oft-quoted Eloise saying, you are going to simply love Violet Waterfield, a genius biologist fighting the limitations culture places on her gender. (She’s a countess and STILL can’t claim her work as her own). While working at the cutting edge of genetics, she discovers a new passion for the man who helps get her research out into the world. And while you’re sampling The Countess Conspiracy and Rosalyn Landor's impeccable narration, you should check out this entire series from Courtney Milan (no need to listen to them in order). The series may be called The Brothers Sinister, but the men are really just a group of dudes who have one major thing in common: they all fall for badass, ahead-of-their-time women.

Love in the Afternoon

Love in the Afternoon

I’m including this Lisa Kleypas pick (though with her huge catalog, I recommend pretty much any LK listen!) because I loved Love in the Afternoon and I loved Bridgerton (so I’m hoping that’s enough of a connection for you, my dear readers). But seriously, this epistolary delight is not to be missed. Beatrix is basically the manic pixie dream girl of the Hathaway family: she’s quirky and spunky, and practically communes with animals. Except, unlike the MPDGs of the movies (you know which ones), Beatrix is the one with all the agency here—we’re not witnessing her strictly through the hero’s ardent gaze. Though ardent it is. Beatrix and Captain Phelan begin an accidental correspondence—in which she hides her true identity but not her true self—and a romance is quickly kindled. It’s getting to know each other remotely that ultimately allows the hero not to stereotype Beatrix as the silly girl everyone else perceives her to be. Call it online dating, Regency style.

A Gentleman Never Keeps Score

A Gentleman Never Keeps Score

If you’re looking for queer Regency or Victorian romance, there’s no better place to start than Cat Sebastian, and A Gentleman Never Keeps Score is one of my favorite of hers. Retired boxer and pub owner Sam Fox isn’t normally the thieving type—but to help save a friend’s reputation, he finds himself breaking into the house of a wealthy recluse. Yet when the two men encounter each other, all the expectations of society and their different worlds are thrown up in the air. Sweet, steamy, emotional, and SO romantic... trust me, you will lose a few days immersed in this story.

A Daring Arrangement

A Daring Arrangement

If it was Simon and Daphne’s fake relationship scheme that most intrigued you, then you’re going to want to pick up A Daring Arrangement immediately. Lady Honora Parker—the daughter of an Earl—is shipped off to her New York relatives when her father finds her in the arms of an artist. But Lady Nora has an escape plan. She figures all she has to do is become engaged to someone completely unacceptable, and her father will relent and let her marry the bohemian man of her dreams. Julius Hatcher—an incredibly wealthy but scandalously behaved financier—seems like her ticket back home... except when their ruse gets underway, it turns out he’s a lot more appealing than Nora expected. If you find you love the New York Gilded Age setting, there’s plenty more where this one comes from: no one does it better than Joanna Shupe.

His at Night

His at Night

While the relationship at the center of this incredibly smart (and gloriously performed by Kate Reading) romance isn't fake, exactly, neither party is being truthful with each other—or themselves. And yet in His at Night, a genuine honesty develops between Lord Vere and Elissande, very much unintentionally. There's a draw between them that is no match for subterfuge, and they can't help but show their cards, and everything else, to each other bit by bit. The same I can't help myself chemistry that simmers in Bridgerton is on max display here. And I won’t spoil the premise or how the hero’s personality eventually reveals itself, but I can promise: the Marquis of Vere will simply leave your head spinning.

Who's That Earl

Who's That Earl

Oh look, another historical spy romance! (There are surprisingly many out there.) And I do love a spy as a hero. The heroine here is a bit like our beloved Lady Whistledown—a scandalous writer who needs to keep her identity secret or risk danger. And the hero might be familiar too: a reluctant and grouchy nobleman who’s been forced to return home where all sorts of memories (and FEELINGS) get stirred up. It’s delightful. Susanna Craig's follow up to Who's That Earl is also a lot of fun and features a dashing hero with the talent to don any guise he chooses, a young widowed countess who can’t escape her son’s overbearing guardian, and a mysterious code book sought by the British crown.

Julian Fellowes's Belgravia

Julian Fellowes's Belgravia

If you need a stylish historical that you can immediately tune into right after you finish listening, then Belgravia—from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes himself—is an obvious pick. This epic, plot-driven society story unfolds amid gossip and whispers in fashionable drawing rooms and East End merchant coffee shops, with both an immense inheritance, and an even greater love, on the line.

Normal People

Normal People

Another one for those of you who want to listen and watch: Normal People is a sexy book that was made into an even sexier show. And while it doesn’t quite check the box of genre romance (the HEA—happily ever after—is ambiguous), this unpausable listen, which deals with abuse, class, desire, and social expectations, will give you all the feels.

The Kiss Quotient

The Kiss Quotient

This one is contemporary, but it's perfect for anyone who is newer to romance listening. For starters, I personally know several people for whom this has been their gateway romance book. With fully formed and recognizable characters, believable backstories, and a neurodiverse heroine facing very real social hurdles, Helen Hoang's The Kiss Quotient in many ways feels like your favorite fiction book-club pick. But it is also 100% a romance: super steamy, with a guaranteed HEA and a story that taps into the awkward moments of intimacy between two people in a way that more fantasy-oriented romance often misses. In short, this listen is just delightful for so many reasons, and I recommend it to literally everyone.

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