Publish Date: Apri 2nd
How we got this book: Edelweiss
For the first time in print, New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn presents a collection of “second epilogues” to her Bridgerton series, previously published as e-originals, plus a new bonus Bridgerton novella: Violet in Bloom,” a short story in which we finally meet Edmund Bridgerton.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
E: I thoroughly enjoyed reading Quinn’s Bridgerton series and successfully pushed them on a few people **cough**MinnChica**cough** but I had not read her Second Epilogues so when I saw they were being released in a single collection I leaped on the chance to review them.
MinnChica: I’m so grateful to E for pushing the Quinn books on me, I absolutely adore the Bridgerton family, and I was one of the people who gobbled up the 2nd Epilogues the moment I was done with the series. I’m just glad to finally have them all in one nice book, with an extra special short about Mama Bridgerton. 🙂
The Duke and I: The 2nd Epilogue
E: Simon and Daphne’s story was my introduction to this family. The estrangement between Simon and his father. Simon’s refusal to open and read the letters his father wrote him but never sent which might contain the answers, an apology, or an explanation. This epilogue is about what would make Simon decide to read them. In finding out we got to see some of the familiar interactions between some of the main characters of the series not to mention their various children. I enjoyed seeing the different aspects of their personalities combined in the children. Daphne’s inner monologue was also hilarious as she dealt with a surprise.
MinnChica: I was always curious about the letters from Simon’s father, and was both let down and excited to hear what exactly was in them. I thought the situation Quinn used to get Simon motivated to finally read the letters was a wonderful way to tie back to the original story. Of course, now I want to know how things worked out!! LOL
Lou: I was hoping that Simon’s father would have left something meaningful in the letters but the character stayed true to form. Daphne’s surprise was both charming and funny. I was so happy to see Quinn’s humour back in force, and I think Daphne and Simon were a great couple to start the anthology.
The Viscount Who Loved Me: The 2nd Epilogue
E: Pall Mall! This game epitomizes the competitive yet loving bond between the Bridgertons and their spouses. As the years have passed their plotting and scheming has grown exponentially. I found myself giggling the entire way through this epilogue.
MinnChica: I think that the Pall Mall tournament from the first book is one of my favorite scenes, and this 2nd Epilogue is the one that stayed with me the most since I originally read the few that were available. I love that everyone fights over the black mallet, and that Anthony and Kate still have a fierce competitive streak between the two of them. I loved that this story seemed to be a wonderful little glimpse into a day in the life of the Bridgertons.
Lou: I think Kate and Anthony are one of my favourite Bridgerton couples. This little short was hilarious and encompassed the entire deviousness and sibling rivalry of the Bridgertons. Kate and Anthony have wicked sense of humours and seeing them battle in the very serious game of Pall Mall was a true feat. The ending was perfect with them flirting.
An Offer From a Gentleman: The 2nd Epilogue
E: Posy gets her HEA finally. It was great to see her achieve happiness. Quinn changed her writing style for this particular epilogue which was slightly disconcerting at first but it fit Posy’s relationship and personality
MinnChica: I loved Posy from the original story. I thought she was such a wonderful character, and getting to see her finally get her HEA was so fun. I loved that she also got the chance to have a love at first sight moment, and that she fell hard and quick for the local Vicar. I also loved Ben and Sophie’s little play-by-play at the end. It was a fun little moment for them to look back on their love at first sight moment.
Lou: It was so nice seeing Posy getting her HEA after a miserable upbringing between her mother and sister. Whilst I was happy for Posy I wasn’t that engaged with the short. It was more of a telling rather than showing.
Romancing Mister Bridgerton: The 2nd Epilogue
E: And once again the family dynamics came to play. This one wasn’t my favorite. I think the combination of people trying to make Penelope feel guilty about her alternate identity made me feel bad for her and dread the reveal. I also thought the reveal was anti-climatic.
MinnChica: Colin and Penelope were by far my favorite couple in the series. I think I’ve re-read this book a million times. But unfortunately I didn’t like the 2nd Epilogue as much as I did the book. Maybe it was because the short takes place so close to the end of the book, maybe because it takes place during To Sir Phillip, With Love. Either way, I thought the whole scenario of Penelope telling Eloise her secret was a little, well just like E said: anti-climatic.
Lou: This definitely felt like a deleted scene rather than a return to Penelope and Colin’s life. I would think after what Eloise had just done, the secret Pen kept from her would be the furthest thing from her mind.
To Sir Phillip, With Love: The 2nd Epilogue
E: This was a fun one to read. I remember hoping that Sir Phillip’s children would be happy now that they had a mother so seeing the viewpoint of Amanda was lovely. It was also sweet to see Amanda’s conversation with her father the night she fell in love.
MinnChica: I enjoyed this story as well, mainly because I loved and adored Amanda and Oliver. I always hoped that Quinn would give them each a story, so the fact that we get to see Amanda all grown up was a treat for me! I also loved the moment that she had with Sir Phillip, because it showed just how much he loved and adored her, and how clueless he could really be! 🙂
Lou: I enjoyed this story the least and it was due to the first narration. I found that Amanda waffled on quite a bit, and the narration felt uneven in places. However, her meeting with Charles was cute and the last scene with Phillip, her father, was even sweeter.
When He Was Wicked: The 2nd Epilogue
E: Aw this one was extremely touching. Francesca had such a hard time during her life reading this and seeing all her wishes coming true made my heart melt. I enjoyed Francesca’s closeness with her mother Violet.
MinnChica: I never really connected with Francesca as much as I did her sisters and sisters-in-law. While I liked her book, it wasn’t one of my favorites. However, I think this 2nd Epilogue is another one of my favorites. I felt so deeply for her struggle to get pregnant, and wanted nothing more than for her to finally get all her hopes and dreams fulfilled. When she had the heart to heart with her mom, I was in tears. I was so glad to see her finally get her little bundle of joy.
Lou: Poor Francesca had such heartbreak in her life. After the deaths of her first husband and their unborn child, she deserved the children she desperately wanted. I’m not a huge fan of baby endings, but this short ended sweetly and so perfectly for Francesca and Michael.
It’s In His Kiss: The 2nd Epilogue
E: Hyacinth certainly gave her family fits so it was great seeing them return the favor. I really liked how Isabella proved that she loved her mother even when tormenting her.
MinnChica: Hyacinth was such a character throughout the entire series. I adored everything about her, and thought that her search for the jewels would never end. Knowing that her daughter, another wild child, found the jewels so young, and kept it hidden from her mother was so ironic. But then getting to see Isabella realize what her mom searched for and why, I loved that she went through the trouble of helping Hyacinth finally find her treasure.
Lou: I’ve always had a soft spot for Hyacinth. Being the youngest out of my brothers and second youngest out of all my immediate cousins, I know the tribulations that occur in being the youngest of them all. It was funny seeing Isabella be a carbon copy (perhaps more) of her mother, Hyacinth. Hyacinth would have looked for those diamonds forever more, and the scene Isabelle overhears was very sweet and it makes her do something for pure love for her mother.
On The Way to the Wedding: The 2nd Epilogue
E: This epilogue was probably the most serious of them all. The discussion about naming babies was cute and once again the sheer love in the Bridgertons was very evident.
MinnChica: I think that this book was probably my least favorite of all the Bridgerton series books, but I did enjoy this Epilogue. E is absolutely right in that the naming of the kids was so sweet and sentimental. And watching their family surround them with love and support is always a favorite aspect of the series as a whole, so that made this one extra special.
Lou: Despite the serious tone in this short, all I could think of was nine babies. Nine! Gregory’s fear and despair was clear to see, and the scene with him and his eldest daughter, Katheribe, was lovely. The whole family surrounding Lucy showed the love they all had for one another. It kinda reminded me of Sound of Music.
Violet in Bloom
E: I really liked how Quinn did Violet’s story. We got to catch glimpses of several important moments in Violet’s life along with an understanding of why she was so happy with her family. This was the perfect ending to the epilogues.
MinnChica: I loved the way Quinn wrote about Violet. I loved getting to catch a glimpse of the love of her life, but was glad that it wasn’t the entirety of her story, much like her life. Getting little snapshots of life when the children were all younger was so sweet, and really gave us a clear picture of why Violet is loved so much by her children. Like E said, it was a perfect end to the Bridgerton series, and the 2nd Epilogues.
Lou: This I almost couldn’t read because you know what happens. When she and Eloisa find Edmund…gah. I still wish that Violet would have found love again. The short showed her deep love for her family, but I wished she could have found that special love with another man. It breaks my heart a little to know she lost her true love so long. A bittersweet end to the anthology.
E: These are short quick satisfying reads. I want to go back and re-read the novels and then read the associated epilogue. As Quinn states in her introduction this is not the collection to start the series with because it presupposes a lot of knowledge on the reader’s part. While I liked some epilogues more than others just like I enjoyed some of the Bridgertons more than the others overall I enjoyed it.
I give The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After an A-/B+
MinnChica: These stories were all very short and sweet. I think I enjoyed them all, and getting the chance to peek back into the daily lives of these characters is such a treat. I think the Bridgerton family is still one of my all time favorite fictional families. For those who haven’t read any of the 2nd Epilogues, this is going to be a wonderful treat. For those who have, be on the lookout for Avon to put the non-published stories into their own bundle (per Quinn’s FB page).
I give The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After a B
Lou: I’m so happy this author made a return to this wonderful family. I now want to re-read the books all over again. These shorts are not very long but they are great reads for fans of the series. I didn’t dislike any of the shorts, and each story invokes a different feel and tone. I give this anthology a B+