Netflix’s Queen Charlotte has won the heart of the internet garnering the most praise in the Bridgerton series. On top of bringing back regencycore, aka the Bridgerton aesthetic, Queen Charlotte’s and King George’s love story lets us get lost in prince charming fantasies. Something that feels less attainable in today’s modern age of swiping, ghosting, and social media. But this season’s six episodes of poetic love confessions, chivalry, and steamy passion has us all craving more. If you’re like us and can’t stop daydreaming about true love amidst grand balls, corsets and linen-clad princes, here are 4 must-reads to throw in your beach bag and satisfy your inner hopeless romantic this summer.
You can’t go wrong with the classic friends to lovers trope and this gem centers on a trans heroine. A Lady For A Duke by Alexis Hall is set in 1800’s England and centers on Viola Carroll who is living life as the wrong gender. But when she gets injured in the Battle of Waterloo, Carroll takes it as a chance to restart and live a life as she is truly meant to. After letting everyone think she died in war, she abandons her old life including her wealth, title and best friend, Justin de Vere, otherwise known as the Duke of Gracewood. Years later, Viola reconnects with his family as a caretaker for Justin who is now suffering from war PTSD, survivor’s guilt, and addiction. To the Duke, Viola feels all too familiar. As Viola nurses Justin back to health, old feelings resurface as passionate desires. Viola’s and Justin’s steamy banter paired with the storyline’s anticipation will keep you turning the pages.
Bridgerton’s Queen Charlotte meets Pride and Prejudice in the regency romance of Aphrodite and the Duke. The intelligent and witty Aphrodite Du Bell returns home to London for her sister’s debut. The only problem is that the Duke of Everely, Evander Eagleman, also known as the man who once claimed to love her, yet married someone else is also in London. Tragic! Despite his betrayal, Aphrodite still finds her heart fluttering at the sight of him years later. Now a widower, Eaglemen still feels the same and strives to do everything in his power to win back Aphrodite’s trust in hopes for her hand in marriage. According to this story, second chances can be more than just a guilty pleasure.
Nothing is more steamy than going from enemies to lovers paired with some road trip romance. Continuing the series centering on a group of young female activists in late Victorian Britain, Evie Dunmore brings forth Hattie’s journey in Portrait of a Scotsman. Oxford scholar Hattie Greenfield is the daughter of a wealthy banking family, and Lucian Blackstone is a self-made wealthy bachelor known for his cut-throat business practices. Originally driven by revenge, Lucian decides to rehabilitate his image and start his political plans by winning the heart of his business rival’s daughter, Hattie, to ruin her art career. Hattie is soon tricked into marrying Lucian, but what starts as a bitter partnership turns into a passionate love affair. If you enjoyed the myth of Persephone and Hades, or the 2010 rom-com Leap Year with Amy Adams, this is the book for you.
Something about young love on summer nights makes us want to frolic in a field. Told through flashbacks and the present, Love & Other Words follows two best friends, Elliot and Macy, from the innocence of their teenage years to their estrangement as adults. To Macy, Elliot was her first love and the first person to gently open her heart after the death of her mother. But Elliot is also her first heartbreak. When fate finally brings them back together as adults, they can’t help but remember that painful night from their past. As Elliot strives to win Macy’s heart back, he finally learns the real reason Macy stopped all contact with him. You’re definitely going to want a box of tissues nearby for this one.
Now that you have your summer book picked out, stock up on these 11 Luxe Summer Travel Essentials For Any Vacation.
Feature image courtesy of Liam Daniel/Netflix.