Read the first excerpt from the Queen Charlotte novel penned by Shonda Rhimes and Julia Quinn
The only thing better than a new Julia Quinn Bridgerton book is a new Bridgerton book authored by both Quinn and Netflix series executive producer Shonda Rhimes.
Queen Charlotte hits shelves on May 9, following the May 4 premiere of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story on Netflix. Written by Rhimes and original Bridgerton author Quinn, it offers readers the chance to dip into the young Queen Charlotte's story — and her romance with King George — in another format.
EW has your exclusive sneak peek at the novel below with a first excerpt.
The series and the novel track the Queen's rise to prominence and power, offering viewers a glimpse at a love story that will spark a societal shift and create the world of the ton that audiences have come to know in Bridgerton.
Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz became a breakout character in the first season of the hit Netflix series. She was married to King George III, a.k.a. Mad King George, and ruled for nearly six decades. Charlotte died in 1818 at the age of 74. As portrayed in the two series and the novel, Charlotte reflects some historians' belief that the real-life queen was of African descent.
Read on for more of your first-taste of Queen Charlotte and pre-order the novel here.
The London Road
8 September 1761
Like all members of the German aristocracy, Princess Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was in possession of a great many names. Sophia for her maternal grandmother, Sophia Albertine of Erbach-Erbach, a countess by birth and a duchess by marriage. Charlotte for her father, Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who was born a second son and had died before he could assume the position of head of the family. Then there were the many and sundry double-barreled lands and properties that made up her heritage. Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Erbach-Erbach, of course, but also Saxe-Hildburghausen, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, and, if one wanted to go back far enough, Waldeck-Eisenberg.
She enjoyed all of her names, and she was proud of every last one, but the one she liked best was Lottie.
Lottie. It was the simplest of the bunch, but that wasn't why she liked it. Her tastes rarely ran to the simple, after all. She liked her wigs tall and her dresses grand and she was quite certain no one in her household appreciated the complexities of music or art as keenly as she did.
She was not a simple creature.
She was not.
But she liked being called Lottie. She liked it because hardly anyone ever used it. You had to know her to call her Lottie.
You had to know, for example, that in spring her favorite dessert was raspberry-apricot torte and in winter it was apple strudel, but the truth was she had a taste for fruit, and for sweets, and any sweet made of fruit was her absolute favorite.
People who called her Lottie also knew that when she was a young girl she'd loved to swim in the lake by her home (when it was warm enough, which it rarely was). They also knew that when her mother had banned the practice (stating that Charlotte was too old for such frivolity), Charlotte had not spoken to her for three weeks. Peace was reestablished only after Charlotte had written a surprisingly thorough legal document outlining the rights and responsibilities of all involved parties. Her mother was not immediately persuaded by Charlotte's arguments, but her older brother Adolphus had intervened. Charlotte had made a good case, he'd said. She'd shown logic and intelligence, and surely that should be rewarded.
Adolphus was the one who'd coined the pet name Lottie. And that was the true reason it was her favorite name. It had been bestowed upon her by her favorite brother.
Pardon, her former favorite brother.
"You give the appearance of a statue," Adolphus said, smiling as if she had not spent the last three weeks begging him not to marry her off to a stranger.
Charlotte wanted to ignore him. She'd have liked nothing better than to never utter a word in his direction for the remainder of both of their lives, but even she recognized the futility of such stubbornness. And besides, they were in a carriage in the southeast of England, and they had a long ride both ahead and behind them.
She was bored and furious, never a good combination.
"Statues are works of art," she said icily. "Art is beautiful."
This made her brother smile, damn his eyes. "Art can be beautiful to gaze upon," he said with some amusement. "You, on the other hand, are ridiculous to the eye."
"Is there a point?" Charlotte bit off.
He shrugged. "You have not moved an inch in six hours."
Oh. Oh. He should not have gone there. Charlotte leveled her dark eyes on his with a ferocity that ought to have terrified him. "I am wearing Lyonnaise silk. Encrusted with Indian sapphires. With an overlay of two-hundred-year-old lace."
"And you look beautiful," he said. He reached out to pat her knee, then hastily withdrew his hand when he caught her expression.
"Apparently too much movement could cause the sapphires to shred the lace." Charlotte growled. She literally growled. "Do you want me to shred the lace? Do you?"
She did not wait for him to answer. They both knew he was not meant to. "If that were not enough," she continued, "the gown sits atop a bespoke underpinning made of whalebone."
"Yes. Whalebone, Brother. The bones of whales. Whales died so I could look like this."
At that, Adolphus laughed outright. "Lottie—"
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This Bridgerton-verse prequel tells the story of how young Queen Charlotte's marriage to King George sparked both a great love story and a societal shift, creating the world of the ton.
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