As a romance novel reader, I always feel a little bit guilty whenever someone asks me “what are you reading?” I’ve gotten a lot better about being loud and proud of my romance novel reading. I’ll gladly debate with anyone why romances are serious reads even if they do follow a fairly narrow formula. Have you read a mystery novel? But for all the perceived silliness and fluffiness of the romance genre, there doesn’t seem to be the same side-eye aimed at fans of movies that revolve around romance. If you say your favorite movie is When Harry Met Sally or Casablanca, there doesn’t seem to be the same derision as if you want to go to the plate for Red, White & Royal Blue or The Right Swipe. The romance genre has come a long way from the covers of virile, probably photoshopped men standing above a swooning, pale heroine draped in a bedsheet or hilariously low cut dress. And while many would say: “romance novels are not my thing,” I would argue that you, yes you, have in fact been subjected to more romance novels than you realize as many well-loved romance romps have been adapted from the page to the screen, making you a bonafide romance watcher. Outlander, Bridget Jones's Diary, The Notebook, Stardust all movies (or series!) that have transitioned from romance heavy novels to film. And it doesn’t stop there. In fact, Netflix may just be getting started.
Netflix has been making moves lately to capture America’s sole streaming attention and they’ve done a pretty good job at hooking us with reality television (Tiger King, Love is Blind), Fantasy/ Sci-Fi (The Witcher<-- another novel adaptation, Stranger Things), and ridiculous Christmas movies (The Princess Switch, The Holiday Calendar). It makes sense that they would be open to cornering another market: Romance. Netflix has already adapted YA romances that found success: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Kissing Booth, soon to be joined by Dash & Lily which looks just as delightful. Now you may want to argue: those are YA, Lauren, where’s the classic romance adaptations you have promised us? Hold on! I’m getting there! Both series: Virgin River and Sweet Magnolias are based on honest to goddess contemporary romance novels. But what I am most excited to see from Netflix, as we head into this the fourth season of this pandemic, is Bridgerton.
Based on the popular romance series by Julia Quinn, produced by Shonda Rhimes, narrated by Julie Andrews, and coming soon to Netflix for your streaming pleasure on December 25, Bridgerton is poised to be a ratings mammoth for Netflix and an utter joy for me to devour. This may be the most bodice ripper typical source material of all the adaptations, and I am here for it. While I don’t love all the Bridgerton books equally and some of them NOT AT ALL (I’m looking at you An Offer From a Gentleman), I am excited to see Shondaland’s take on Regency romance. The costumes look dreamy, the leads looks ravishing and it looks like Rhimes and Chris Van Dusen are taking liberties to update Quinn’s books and add more EVERYTHING. They have the budget, the casting and the creative helm to create something fabulous and I can’t wait to relish every last bit of it.
Here all the books for the show adaptations mentioned in this blog: