TV & Movies

Colin & Penelope’s Bridgerton Story Makes A Shocking Departure From The Book

The friends-to-lovers goodness is still there.

'Bridgerton' Season 3: Penelope & Colin’s Book Ending & Plot Summary
Liam Daniel/Netflix

Major spoilers for Bridgerton Season 3 ahead. In a first for the Regency franchise, Bridgerton Season 3 rolls out in two parts, which you might’ve found out the hard way when no “Next Episode” button appeared after that Episode 4 scene.

The second half drops on June 13th, which gives you plenty of time to catch up on Penelope and Colin’s Bridgerton book, Romancing Mister Bridgerton. (ICYMI, their book is the fourth in Julia Quinn’s romance series, and the order was switched for the show.)

The show has already diverged from the novel in a few major ways. But if you want a rough idea of what to expect (and why people are getting so hot and bothered about mirrors), here’s the book ending and plot summary of Penelope and Colin’s Bridgerton story.

A #Polin Flashback

Romancing Mister Bridgerton begins with the first time Penelope meets Colin, which is when she falls in love with him, too. (A relatable queen!) Just before turning 16, she was on a walk when her bonnet flew into Colin’s face while he was riding a horse. He fell, but wasn’t bothered or upset, and his good-natured response made Penelope a lifelong fan.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

They become friends over the years, but Penelope is hurt when she overhears Colin saying he’d never marry her. They ultimately patch things up, but like in the show, Penelope feels the pain of being seen as a “spinster.” Her mom even floats the idea of Colin marrying Felicity, Penelope’s younger sister who does not appear in Netflix’s Bridgerton.

Colin’s Surprising Discovery

During a birthday ball for Violet Bridgerton, Lady Danbury offers a thousand pounds to anyone who can uncover Lady Whistledown’s identity. Penelope boldly accuses Lady Danbury herself, who’s delighted by the young scribe’s bravery. “Isn’t it nice to discover that we’re not exactly what we thought we were?” she tells Penelope, which helps her lean into a more confident version of herself.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Colin starts to take notice, and one day, Penelope even asks him to kiss her. But when Penelope thanks him for the gesture, he’s embarrassed by the idea that it was merely a pity thing. He leaves in a huff.

Later, he goes to Penelope’s house to apologize but notices she’s getting into a carriage into the city. He follows her into a church and discovers she’s Lady Whistledown. She had previously retired the column, but after Cressida claimed to be the mysterious writer, Penelope didn’t want her to take the credit.

Happily Ever After?

On the way home, Colin and Penelope hook up for the first time in the carriage. Once they arrive at her house, they get engaged.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

However, Lady Whistledown proves to be the troublesome third person in their soon-to-be marriage. Colin realizes he’s not only protective of Penelope, but jealous of her career. Though he was able to stop her Cressida column from coming out during their encounter at the church, Penelope ultimately publishes it anyway — and he is not happy.

But after a heated conversation, they sleep together at Colin’s house. This is where Colin says he’d like to do it in front of a mirror. But that fantasy doesn’t actually play out in the book, because they’re simply too far into things by this point.

They have a small, “magical” wedding and Penelope encourages Colin to publish his travel writing. However, their newlywed bliss is interrupted when Cressida correctly figures out that she is Lady Whistledown, piecing it together based on a phrase Penelope used in person and on paper.

Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix

Though she tries to blackmail Penelope, Colin ultimately decides he and Penelope should reveal the truth on their own terms, during a ball at Daphne’s house. And it works! Everyone claps for Penelope, and no one is upset — except maybe Cressida, who lost out on a lot of money.

An epilogue reveals that Colin has published a book, An Englishman in Italy, and will be publishing a series of similar titles based on the countries he’s visited. Penelope, too, misses writing, so she resolves to write a semi-autobiographical novel called The Wallflower.