This will be the first instance of where I've watched the adaptation prior to reading the book!
Not gonna lie, this book started out really slow for me. I've watched the show three times now, so the way the novel started was a bit jarring for me.
The story really picks up whenever Simon finds Daphne in a particularly compromising situation with Lord Berburke . . . which didn't happen so quickly in the show. I did enjoy getting to see Simon's inner thought processes as he apprised Daphne. That was something we don't really see in the show because we don't get his inner monologue.
I'm not going to lie. I DNF'd this one at about 60%. The novel felt bland and lacked a lot of the elements I adore in the show.
Listen. I am a fan of this show. Shonda Rhimes was the perfect person to take on these novels and adapt them to the screen. I'd never heard of Bridgerton prior to the first season of the show, and honestly, I didn't think I'd read the books because I enjoyed the show so much.
First off, this show has A++++ casting. The Duke of Hastings is everything you'd want and more in a morally gray man with secrets. From the moment he's on screen, Simon absolutely steals the show.
Of course, you have a lot of side plots and shenanigans, but his romance with Daphne on the screen is hot and fun! Fake dating is such a fun trope, and it was really well done here. I find it hard to imagine anyone else playing either of the main two characters.
This isn't quite for me to say, but I didn't like Queen Charlotte's illicit drug use. I'm not a Black person, but to me, it almost felt like they were perpetuating drug stereotypes, and it just gave me an ick. (Please know I mean no offense to anyone here, I just really wanted to see a strong Black woman succeeding without that!)
The Bridgerton family dynamic is so fun. I like that we get to see a lot of what's going on outside of the main relationship as the creators build toward the other Bridgerton siblings having their own romances.
If you're expecting the book to be similar to the novel... it has the basic plotline. It lacks a lot of the things I adore about the show: the family dynamics, the heat between Daphne and Simon, and how the ton is like its own character. I'd skip this one and just stick to the show.