The Biggest Differences Between 'Bridgerton' Season 3 and the Book, Romancing Mister Bridgerton

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Spoilers ahead through season three, episode four, and for Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn.

The highly anticipated third chapter of Bridgerton is finally here—but the storyline might be different from what fans of Julia Quinn's novels are expecting.

Instead of using Quinn's third book in the series as its source material, this season will adapt book four, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, which tells the love story of Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin (Luke Newton), with the first four episodes roughly covering the first thirteen chapters of the book.

In keeping with how the show has adapted previous Bridgerton novels, there were some big changes made in bringing Colin and Penelope's love story to TV. Here, the 10 most significant differences (so far) between Quinn's Romancing Mister Bridgerton and Bridgerton season three on Netflix. (We'll update this story again when part two drops in June!)

1. The timing of Penelope and Colin's romance

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In Quinn's Bridgerton books, Daphne, Anthony, Benedict, and Francesca are all married before Colin, and Penelope has been out in society for nearly a decade by the time their romance takes place. In the show, however, Colin and Penelope's love story takes place the season after Anthony and Kate get married, and Penelope is in her third year on the marriage mart.

"I felt like it was a great decision to sort of swap the order of the books," Luke Newton, who plays Colin, tells Town & Country. "I feel like there would've been a level of frustration if we had another season of Colin just not seeing what's right in front of him. I feel like in the end, fans wouldn't be on his side. They'd be like, 'bro, you missed your chance. You are out. She needs to move on.' So, it's the perfect time."

Given how the first part of this season has played out, Penelope and Colin are likely to marry before Benedict, but there's a good chance Francesca's (first) wedding could take place this season as well. Her book, When He Was Wicked, is all about a second-chance romance.

2. When Eloise and Colin find out the true identity of Lady Whistledown

In the Netflix show, Eloise learns that Penelope is Lady Whistledown at the end of season two, causing a schism between the two friends. In the novels, Penelope doesn't tell Eloise about her secret identity until the very end of Romancing Mister Bridgerton, and Eloise isn't mad at Penelope; in fact, Eloise tells her, "Of course you should not have told me. I could never have kept this a secret."

In Quinn's novel, Colin uncovers Penelope's alter ego before Eloise. More specifically, Colin learns that Penelope is Lady Whisteldown before he proposes, and it is a great source of tension between the two of them as he keeps her secret ahead of their wedding. Penelope thinks he's ashamed of her career as Whistledown, when in fact he's jealous of her skills as a writer.

3. Felicity Featherington

In the books, Penelope has a little sister, Felicity, whom their mom tries to set up with Colin. She doesn't exist in the TV show!

4. Lord Debling

a group of people in formal wear
Penelope and Lord

Penelope decides to focus on trying to get married at the start of season three, wanting to be out of her mother's household. (This doesn't happen in the novel; in the text, Penelope has resolved herself to becoming a spinster.) So, she puts herself out there, and begins courting a man named Lord Debling (Sam Phillips). Debling doesn't exist in Quinn's novels—he's fully an invention of the Netflix show. "There was a freedom [to create him] because he's not in the books," Phillips tells Town & Country, "so that was quite exciting for me."

5. Colin's charm lessons for Penelope (and their first kiss)

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Penelope and Colin share a moment in Bridgerton season three. Netflix

Colin teaching Penelope isn't a plot point in Romancing Mister Bridgerton, though his charm lessons are a key part of season three. "If a husband is what you seek, let me help you," Colin tells Penelope near the end of episode one. "Help me how?" she asks him. "I was in 17 cities this summer. And what I have learned is charm can be taught," Colin replies. Furthermore, the context for their first kiss is also different (though the actual dialogue of the moment is quite similar).

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The first kiss scene in episode two.Netflix

In the show, Colin arrives at Penelope's house at night, and bribes her maid to give them a moment alone. Penelope laments she is a "sad, stupid girl who believed she might possibly have a chance of love." She then asks Colin, "Would... would you kiss me?" She quickly adds, "It would not have to mean anything. And I would never expect anything from you because of it, but I'm nearly on the shelf and never been kissed, and I am not certain I ever will be. I could die tomorrow—" He interrupts, saying, "You are not going to die tomorrow." Penelope continues, "But I could, and it would kill me... I do not wish to die without ever having been kissed." "Please," she adds in a whisper, "Colin." He looks at her softly, and leans in, and the two share a passionate kiss.

In the book, it takes place in the afternoon in the Featherington drawing room. "Would—Would you kiss me?" she asks Colin at the end of chapter 8. The dialogue that follows in chapter 9 is almost word-for-word the same as the show, with the narration, "So, on an otherwise unremarkable Friday afternoon, in the heart of Mayfair, in a quiet drawing room on Mount Street, Colin Bridgerton kissed Penelope Featherington. And it was glorious."

6. The carriage scene

In the book, the carriage scene takes place after Colin discovers Penelope is Lady Whistledown. The scene is somewhat similar in the show—with the two of them fighting before confessing their feelings and making out—but like the first kiss scene, the context is very different.

In the show, the scene takes place after Lord Debling decides not to propose to Penelope at a ball, telling her that he thinks she has feelings for Colin. "Ms. Featherington," Debling says, "with the amount of time I will be gone, it is essential I make a match with someone whose affections are not already engaged elsewhere. Whatever it is you are searching for, I do hope you find it." Penelope leaves the ball upset, and gets into her carriage. Colin then rushes after her.

Colin's declaration of his feelings is more intense in the show than in the book: "What if I did have feelings for you?" he tells her, before kneeling inside the carriage. "I have spent so long trying to feel less. Trying to be the kind of man society expects me to be. And for a moment, I thought I had succeeded. But these past few weeks have been full of confounding feelings, feelings like a total inability to stop thinking about you. About that kiss. Feelings like dreaming of you when I am asleep, and in fact preferring sleep, because that is where I might find you. A feeling that is like torture, but one which I cannot, will not, do not want to give up." (In Quinn's Romancing Mister Bridgerton, all Colin says to her before they kiss is, "You're not ugly. You're beautiful.")

The make-out scene commences, and Colin's line as they exit the carriage—"For God's sake, Penelope Featherington, are you going to marry me or not?"—remains the same from page to screen.

In the book, the carriage stops at the Featherington house, where Colin asks Penelope's mother for permission to marry her daughter. In the show, it ends with the carriage stoping at the Bridgerton house, and we do not know yet what happens next.

7. Colin's proximity to his siblings

Colin is still living at the Bridgerton house in the Netflix show, but in the books, Anthony and Kate, the new Viscount and Viscountess, live in the Bridgerton house with their children by the time Colin and Penelope's romance takes place. In Romancing Mister Bridgerton, Violet lives down the road with Eloise, Hyacinth, and Gregory in a house the Bridgertons call "Number Five." Colin, however, "kept his own lodgings."

In both the show and the book, Daphne lives at Hastings House with her husband, Simon, the Duke of Hastings. In Romancing Mister Bridgerton, Colin goes to visit his older sister for advice with his relationship with Penelope. However, Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Daphne, isn't in season three, so this moment doesn't exist in the show.

8. Lady Danbury's friendship with Penelope

In Romancing Mister Bridgerton, Lady Danbury and Penelope are friends, and often gossip together during balls. One Penelope chapter notes that "she admired Lady Danbury a great deal. She admired anyone who knew how to speak her mind in public."

In the show, they do not share many scenes or moments together. Rather, Lady Danbury's confidant at every ball is Queen Charlotte—who isn't a character in the book. This brings us to another key change from the novels: The introduction of Lady Danbury's brother, Marcus Anderson, who has a flirtation with Violet Bridgeton.

9. The Featherington inheritance plotline

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Penelope’s sisters and brothers-in-law. netflix

Like in past seasons, the plot surrounding the Featherington family continues to diverge significantly from the world of Quinn's novels. After Lady Featherington chooses her daughters over leaving England with Jack at the end of season two, she sets up a new inheritance scheme, in which her first daughter to give birth to a son will inherit the Featherington estate. This leads to competition to conceive between Penelope's older sisters, Prudence and Philippa (who are both married by the start of season three).

10. Eloise and Cressida's friendship

eloise and cressida
Jessica Madsen and Claudia Jessie as Cressida and Eloise.Netflix

Another invention of the TV show is the friendship between Eloise and Cressida, which makes Penelope jealous. After Eloise and Penelope's falling out at the end of season two, the two have not yet made up.

"For Eloise, I think the reason it happened is because Cressida showed her kindness," actress Claudia Jessie, who plays Eloise, tells T&C. "Remember, she's just lost this lad, that she had a thing-not-thing with. And then she's lost this very sturdy column in her life in the form of Penelope—that's gone, and that's huge, that's shattering. So, she's alone, she's in the countryside in summer, and someone has shown her kindness. When you are a bit down and out, you probably would lean towards things you may not have previously, because your foundation isn't the same. Ultimately, for the viewers and for Eloise, it's a really good opportunity for us to see just how suffocating a situation Cressida is in."

Bridgerton season three, part one is now streaming on Netflix. Part two premieres on June 13. Watch now

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