While we’re all waiting with breathless anticipation for the next season of Bridgerton, let’s turn our attention to some other historical series that would make for great television. After all, one can never have too many bonnets on screen.
1. The Advertisements for Love series by Vanessa Riley
What’s a woman in immediate need of a husband to do? Take out an advertisement in the newspaper, of course! Riley’s series follows four women seeking a husband for a variety of reasons. This series has all the best tropes including second chance romance, marriage of convenience, and friends to lovers. As the women are friends, a television adaptation could easily follow one couple at a time, with the unifying focus on the way the friends support one another.
2. The Bareknuckle Bastards series by Sarah MacLean
This series is framed with a backstory that definitely gives me adaptation ready fairy-tale vibes — four children, born on the same day, at the same time, to four different mothers. I can picture the title sequence now. We have three half-brothers, a sister who is not technically their sister (it’s complicated, but trust me, the whole not actually being related part is important), a family mystery, powerful business interests, and a dukedom hanging over them all.
3. The Grayson Family series by Beverly Jenkins
This is a short series but one that is ripe for adaptation. Small town setting, swoony romances, and a wonderful cast of supporting characters? YES PLEASE. The first book in the series introduces Dr. Viveca Lancaster, an independent physician who is not about to put up with being dismissed by the stubborn Nate Grayson. Stand back and watch the sparks fly.
The second book features Nate’s cousin Eli Grayson and his childhood friend Jewel Crowley. There’s a fake relationship turned marriage of convenience, and two guesses as to what happens next. If that wasn’t enough, these books are ready made for episodic television with plenty of secondary character side stories, and seriously, someone call Netflix right now.
4. The Lady Darby series by Anna Lee Huber
Lady Kiera Darby is an artist who uses her knowledge of anatomy to solve murders, alongside private inquiry agent and dreamboat Sebastian Gage. She notices everything and struggles with polite society. He is all charm and ease and the ultimate man of action. An adaptation of this series would basically be the costume drama version of the show Bones. Ummm, what are we waiting for?
5. The The Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas
Charlotte Holmes solves crimes in Victorian London with the help of a most delightful Mrs. Watson and an assortment of other wonderful side characters. There is mystery, murder, snappy dialogue, and a romance that will make your heart clench with longing.
To know me is to know that I am OBSESSED with this series, and an announcement of a television adaptation would likely make me scream with absolute joy. I’m very chill, in case you were wondering. I have Richard Madden in mind for Lord Ingram, but I’m willing to entertain other offers.
6. The Loyal League series by Alyssa Cole
This series combines history and romance into three amazing books. Set amongst a ring of Civil War spies providing intelligence to the Union, these books are full of action and danger while never scrimping on the swoon factor.
What more could you want when asking for television gold? I am absolutely positive that audiences would be gripped by an adaptation of this series. The books are perfectly written to comprise three seasons, with enough overlap and connections between the characters to provide continuity.
7. The Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig
If you love historical romance and you love modern romcoms, this is the series for you. Willig packs her books with some of my favorite elements in romance, and I think it would make for spectacularly fun and swoony television. There’s a historical mystery, intrigue and drama, and plenty of romance to go around. There are also lots of opportunities for kissing scenes in stately libraries, and maybe I’m the only person into that, but somehow, I highly doubt it.
8. The Sebastian St. Cyr series by C. S. Harris
Imagine the tone of the BBC Sherlock series or the most recent Bond movies but set in Regency England. Sebastian St. Cyr is a disillusioned aristocrat determined to solve mysteries and right wrongs. These books would make for action packed television, and there’s a touch of romance that would surely keep an audience coming back for more.
9. The Spindle Cove series by Tessa Dare
Spindle Cove is a haven for wallflowers, spinsters, and any woman looking for a respite from the judgements and jockeying of the London marriage mart. Imagine the setting! A charmingly cinematic seaside village in the English countryside filled with women who are far more than they seem and a cast of lively side characters. Add more than one dashing hero who finds far more than he bargained for, and you’ve got a hit on your hands.
10. The Wedgeford Trials series by Courtney Milan
Okay, granted there is currently only one book in this series out, but considering the first book in the series (The Duke Who Didn’t) was my absolute favorite new romance of 2020, I feel confident in saying that both the first and any future books would make for fabulous television. Everything about the world Milan has created in this book is magic, and I would love to see it get the on-screen treatment.
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