Dear Reader, what’s up with Bridgerton?

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two side by side covers of The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

I’m no Lady Whistledown*, but the library is sure abuzz with Bridgerton! Here at TADL we never tire of historical fiction, and Bridgerton sure checks lots of boxes**. If you don’t have Netflix, you might be wondering, What is Bridgerton? Why are people so excited about it? It’s a Netflix series based on the books by Julia Quinn set in a fictitious version of London in the early 1800s. It’s about a rich family, and each title in the series covers a different sibling.

When I saw the trailer announced, I don’t need to tell you that my hopes were HIGH for this show. Racially diverse cast? Shondaland? Fancy clothes? Fictional rich people problems? No mention of pandemic?

edited image of mulan's grandma saying "sign me up for the next historical romance"

The show came out on Christmas day, and it only has eight episodes (and renewed for a second season). There is an alluring atmosphere of gossip as the undercurrent of the show, which is exactly what my pandemic-fatigued brain has ordered. Similar to the reason some readers enjoy science fiction, the antics of a fictional high society were so far fetched compared to our snowy Traverse City winter, where all we do anymore is go to work (or not) and avoid the plague, so it was excellently timed escapism.

This show ended up being a fun diversion that made me wonder: What other books have that historical romance flair, except by Black authors and about Black characters? And February is Black History Month. And it’s basically Valentine’s Day, which, like Halloween, is a fantastic holiday for candy and unbridled enthusiasm. What a wonderful confluence of events! Here is my Valentine gift to you, dear readers:

black history month-historical romance titles Night Song (or anything by Beverly Jenkins)

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

Hamilton’s Battalion by Lerner, Milan, and Cole

The Preacher’s Promise by Piper Huguley

A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby by Vanessa Riley

Jam on the Vine by LaShonda K. Barnett (One of my favorite titles of all time!)

Daughters of a Nation by Alexander, Cole, Hart, & Huguley

Some of the books linked here aren’t in the TADL collection, but that’s what MeLCat is for! (MeLCat stands for Michigan Electronic Library Catalog, and it’s a collaboration of many Michigan libraries throughout the state.) To order books on MeLCat, you’ll need your MeLCat ID, which is available to view on your TADL Account Preferences page, just above your library card number. Call or email us for additional assistance.

For even more titles, check out this compilation from NovelList of Black Historical Fiction or another list specifically For Fans of Bridgerton.

Until next time,



*My inner monologue is in fact also a voice-over by Julie Andrews.

**Of course, being critical of the media we love is important and my favorite thing, so when you’re ready, here are two thoughtful pieces about colorblindness and how the show depicts assault.