“It has been said that of all bitches dead or alive a scribbling woman is the most canine. If that should be true, then this author would like to show you her teeth.”

Lady Whistledown
Bridgerton, Season One, Episode One

Dear Readers,

My name is Lady Latisha, I too am a scribbling woman, but I am nothing like Lady Whistledown. I am not going to show you my teeth, I am a lover, not a canine. I love spring, the warmth of the sunshine, beautiful colors, poetry, classical music, tea, romance, flowers (especially sunflowers), desserts, bees, butterflies, trying new things and great entertainment. Is there any wonder I love this show so much?

I want to take you on a little journey with me, with a series I am calling “The Bridgerton Experience”. I will be watching Season 2 of the Bridgerton series on Netflix, the old fashioned way, one episode at a time, one per week for 8 weeks, while reading the book it is based on “The Viscount Who Loved Me” by Julia Quinn, as well as trying my hand at some Regency-era inspired recipes from Bridgerton-inspired cookbooks I bought from Amazon. 

I am currently at Chapter 15 in the book. I am enjoying it. My method of reading this book has been to listen to the audiobook and follow along with the printed copy at the same time. That has helped me to be fully engaged in the story. This is my second time reading the book. I read it last year, around the same time. 

Chapter 1 in the book starts like this

“The topic of rakes has, of course, been discussed in this column, and This Author has come to the conclusion that there are rakes, and there are Rakes.

Anthony  Bridgerton is a Rake.

A rake (lower-case) is youthful and immature. He flaunts his exploits, behaves with utmost idiocy, and thinks himself dangerous to women. 

A Rake ( upper-case) knows he is dangerous to women. He knows he will be whispered about by men and women alike, and in fact, he’d rather they didn’t whisper about him at all. He knows who he is and what he’s done, further recountings are, to him, redundant.”

Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers,

20 April 1814

In the book, in Chapter 1 we are introduced to Kate Sheffield, her half-sister Edwina and Mary. The Sheffield women. The two half sisters are forced to make their debuts on the Marriage Mart the same year. In the book they are describe like this: 

“Kate and Mary might not be the most interesting people in London, but Edwina with her buttery-colored hair and startling pale blue eyes, had already been named the Incomparable of 1814. Kate, on the other hand, with her plain brown hair and eyes, was usually referred to as “the Incomparable’s older sister.” 

As you would know, in the Netflix series they are the Sharmas. They traveled from India to find the younger sister Edwina Sharma a love match. Mary (the mum), was once a Sheffield, as her story was told through a bit of gossip, between Lady Featherington, Lady Cowper and other (Lady Dansbury’s) ball attending ladies. 

The conversation went like this: 

[Lady Cowper] “Lady Mary was the Incomparable of our season, until she fell in love and married some kind of clerk, I hear to two absconded to India thereafter” 

[Lady Eaton] A Maharajah I would have understood, but the man was no more than a common worker who already had a child”

[Lady Featherington] That must be her, the older one. 

[Lady Cowper] Lady Mary’s parents, the Sheffields, never lived down the shame, did they? 

[Lady Eaton] Too ashamed to show their faces in London 

[Lady Cowper] If only every family could be as respectable as ours. Yes, Lady Featherington?”

Some differences between the book and episode one are: 

  • How Anthony and Kate first meet. He first meets Kate being badass on an early morning horse ride unchaperoned and already develops a fascination with her. The book’s introduction is a funny one, between them and Colin Bridgerton (the most interesting of Bridgerton brothers in the book series). 
  • The Sharmas are guests in Lady Danbury’s manor and she is the young women’s sponsor into society this season. In the book they used their last bit of funds to rent a house, carriage and the bare minimum of servants. 
  • Mary Sharma (Series) seems much more reserved and quiet than Mary Sheffield (Book). 
  • Kate is 26 in the t.v series, she’s almost 21 in the book.

[Lady Danbury] “The age of the elder miss may raise concern. Any suitable gentleman will require some persuading,whether we like it or not, as she will already be regarded as an old maid at the mature age of …”

[Kate Sharma] “Six and Twenty, ma’am”

In the series Kate seems a bit more confident and cocky with herself, than the Kate in the book. Kate in the book does not see herself as beautiful, especially compared to Edwina. In the book her thoughts are written like this: 

“She hadn’t even wanted a season. She’d known from the outset that she wasn’t the sort who would capture the attention of the ton. She wasn’t pretty enough to overcome her lack of dowry, and she had never learned to simper and mince and walk delicately, and do all those things other girls seemed to know how to do in the cradle.”

Kate Sharma is also not looking or expecting to find herself a husband for different reasons. Her energy is focused on finding Edwina a husband, so that her mum and sister would be taken care of. She had been teaching and preparing her sister for this opportunity for 8 years. The following conversation is the most important of episode one.

What’s the real reason the Sharmas are in London? 

In a conversation between Kate Sharma and Lady Danbury, we find out: 

[Lady Danbury] Correspondence from your grandparents, the Sheffields. I wrote to them before you arrived.

[Kate Sharma] Those people are not my grandparents, Lady Danbury. I have no relation to them whatsoever, in fact. 

[Lady Danbury] It seems you have not been straightforward with me. 

[Kate Sharma] I realize I should not have gone out without a chaperone 

[Lady Danbury] And what about failing to tell me why you have truly come to London with your sister?  I am rather more concerned about that.

[Kate Sharma] We have come to find Edwina a husband

[Lady Danbury] And is that all? 

[Lady Danbury] You would be wise to reconsider resorting to more forgeries and half-truths, Miss Sharma, very few attempt to outwit me and fewer succeed. You are living under my roof, under my care, relying on my good name, my connections, my money.  I vouched for you and your sister in front of Her Majesty the Queen, all because I thought I was paying a kindness to an old friend.

[Kate Sharma] And we are truly grateful for everything

[Lady Danbury]  Your mama misses your father naturally. But she never really wanted to come back here, did she?

You Did!

I have no interest in being used as a pawn in someone else’s game.

[Kate Sharma] That is not what we are doing.

[Lady Danbury] Then tell me what stipulations the Sheffields have apparently set down with regard to Edwina’s match. Stipulations which, if met, will, I am guessing guarantee great fortune for you and your family. 

[Kate Sharma] Edwina must marry an Englishman of nobility. 

[Lady Danbury] They could not control your mama’s marriage, so they mean to interfere with your sister’s.

[Kate Sharma]  Yes. They never recovered from my father’s lack of rank and title. Though let me assure you Lady Danbury,  I am not here for selfish reasons. After my father died, Mama and I did the best we could to raise Edwina, all so she would never know of our struggles. But our money ran low. We used the last for this very journey. The Sheffields have agreed to bestow a sizable dowry on my sister, and to look after my mama, but only if Edwina marries properly.

[Lady Danbury] And what about you? 

[Kate Sharma] If I could marry for the sake of my family, I would. But I am not my mama’s daughter by birth. Edwina is. 

I spent the last 8 years raising my sister to walk in the right way, to talk in the right way, to play the Pianoforte just so. Teaching her twice as much and watching her work twice as hard as anyone else. I even taught her how to make this pitiful excuse for tea the English so adore. I despise English tea. But if it means my sister would not be left destitute, then I will smile, and I would nod politely after each and every sip, to be sure.

[Lady Danbury] Your sister has a right to know. As you said, it is her future. 

[Kate Sharma] That is precisely why I shield her. Because I know her. If she was made aware of the circumstances, she would marry quickly only to please us. She would say yes to any man kind enough to ask. Edwina deserves a chance to find love without such a burden. 

Music: 

Classical Covers in episode 1:

Stay Away” by Nirvana, performed by Vitamin String Quartet (played while Lord Anthony Bridgerton searches via interviews for the perfect wife). 

“Material Girl” by Madonna, performed by Kris Bowers (played while guests arrive at Lady Danbury’s ball)

“Diamonds” by Rihanna, performed by Hannah V and Joe Rodwell (played while Kate Sharma watched Anthony dance at Lady Danbury’s ball) (My Favorite)

Fashion:

My favorite dresses were Lady Bridgerton and Eloise’s dresses worn at Lady Danbury’s ball. I love the light, subtle, elegant colors. I actually really liked Penelope’s sunflower dress ( as she describes it), it is my absolute favorite dress of this episode. 

[Eloise Bridgerton] “There you are. Oh, Pen, I’m so glad to see you. Mama is already being insufferable. 

[Penelope Featherington] At least she did not see fit to dress you as a sunflower. I declare a bee might mistake me for the real thing.” 

I love Penelope’s radiant red hair, it looked gorgeous and stole the show in my opinion. I really hated Kate Sharma’s dress at Lady Danbury’s ball. It reminded me of a fancy nightgown. Feel free to disagree with me. 

My Favorite Quote in this episode:

[Lady Bridgerton] Have you seen your brother or sister?

[Benedict] They managed to escape you? Good for them. 

My favorite scene in this episode: 

Best friends Eloise and Penelope talking in a field of Daffodils, both exquisite as ever, Penelope’s red hair burning bright most of all. When they laid down in between the flowers, we got to look at them from above and it was a picture perfect moment, especially when they laughed with each other, making fun of Cressida Cowper (the Bridgerton meanie). I snapped a pic of that moment, it was too lovely not to. 

The Diamond:

The scene after that announced Edwina Sharma as the season’s Incomparable. 

Scene:

[playing fanfare]

[hushed chatter]

[Queen] “Your Presence is noted, and your queen most appreciative.  Allow it to now be my honor to present to you the season’s diamond.

Miss Edwina Sharma

Other things that happens in this episode: 

  • Kate overhears a misogynistic conversation between the Viscount and three other young men.
  • Kate and Anthony spar
  • The Viscount dances with Edwina. 
  • Kate warns Edwina to stay away from him. 
  • The new Lord Featherington shows up, pays Philippa’s long overdue Dowry and has Lady Featherington’s possessions moved from her bedchamber (she did not like that very much). Penelope was pleased. 

In the book (Chapter 6): 

Kate Sheffield, while crouching like a frog under his desk, overhears an inappropriate conversation between Maria Rosso (latest soprano to take London by storm) and Anthony, that alluded that he would not be a faithful husband to his wife, because he does not intend to fall in love. This and more deepens Kate’s resolve to not let Edwina marry Anthony.

Bridgerton Inspired Treats:

As a part of my Bridgerton experience. I will be trying my hand at some Bridgerton-Inspired tea time treats and meals. 

I bought 3 Bridgerton-themed cookbooks from Amazon. I did not feel very inspired by the recipes in the first book, so I tried my hand at 3 recipes in book number 2. My daughter helped with recipe number 1. We listened to a Bridgerton themed music playlist on Youtube while doing this. It was nerve-wracking, fun, relaxing and challenging all at the same time. There were a few missteps but it all turned out wonderfully in the end. 

Recipe # 1

Household Hasty- Bake Oatmeal Pies with Sugared Berries

I actually loved this pie. I loved the combination of oats, yogurt and fruit. We had trouble getting the crust to stay up on the sides. We (my daughter and I) attempted to get the crust right two times, because I did not want to fail. The first time it fell all the way down, the second time, it stayed up enough to pour the yogurt inside and it still looked like a pie. It was not as perfect looking as the not-completely honest photo in the cook book. They needed to tell the truth about how they got their crust to look like that. There has to be more to it than what the cook book says. The recipes asked us to mix ingredients with a food processor. We did not have one. We had to use a different mixing method. The next thing I want to know is, how the heck are you supposed to get it out the pan without damaging the crust. I used a Silicone pan, it made it easier to take out, but I could not get it out without challenges and some damage. It was not a perfect feat, but I want to conquer this recipe, make it my own. I liked it. I will try again for sure. I enjoyed eating this, while finally watching the first episode of season 2 of Bridgerton. 

Recipe # 2

Purity Cookies

I love this recipe as well. Made with Almond flour, chocolate chips for the moist and sweet,  dry-roasted almond slivers for the crunch. It tasted pure indeed. We may have over-baked them a bit, but they were still good. I would definitely make these again. Though this recipe does not yield enough for a Bridgerton size family (in my case, a family of 7). 

Recipe # 3

Scheming Ginger Tea-Glazed Honey Cake 

This one was my absolute favorite. The flavor and color was golden and rich. This was a joy to make. I made one misstep of forgetting to put in the baking powder and baking soda, but I remembered in time to grab the batter that already started to form slightly on the sides, out of the oven, mix those in and pop it back in the oven. The only evidence that something went wrong was the contrast color on the bottom of the cake, to the rest of it. It was gorgeous.  This recipe is definitely another keeper. 

Well that’s it for this time around. Hope you enjoyed going on this journey with me today. Come back as I do this again for Episode 2- Off to the Races.