Come on, let’s join the fun and rip a few bodices

Ideas

Come on, let’s join the fun and rip a few bodices

Sorry, book snobs, but demand for Julia Quinn’s ‘Bridgerton’ series has exploded since Netflix got hold of it

Sunday Times Book Editor

I love the term “bodice-ripper”. You can hear it, see it, feel it. Even though most of us have never worn a bodice or know the difference between one and a corset. (According to the interwebs a bodice is an article of clothing worn by females in the 16th to 18th centuries, which covered their torsos. A corset is a garment, reinforced with stays, that supports the waistline, hips and bust, and was worn by females in the 16th to 20th centuries. Now they are worn by anyone and, according to rumour, even Tom Cruise in a few movies.)

The Netflix series Bridgerton brought the bodice-ripper back (corset-shredder doesn’t sound as sexy). Bridgerton is now the most watched show of all time on the streaming channel. Who would have thought that a schmaltzy regency drama would have such appeal for so many people? But it does have the perfect recipe (Gossip Girl meets Jane Austen) for a mega-hit, with more than 86 million households watching it in its first week. Produced by Shonda Rhimes’s company Shondaland, the series became a game-changer due to its colour-inclusive casting — it runs with the premise that Queen Charlotte was the first British royal with African lineage and that because of her there are loads of gentry who are people of colour.  

The TV show led to demand for the books, written by now-very-rich US author Julia Quinn. The internet search for the books has increased by 3,330%. I have no idea what that number means, but I think it’s a lot. The novels have reached The New York Times best-seller lists for the first time — 18 years after the first, The Duke and I, was published. So book snobs be damned, these bodice-rippers, with all their romp and pomp, will be on the shelves in many more homes for years to come. ..

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