After ‘Bridgerton,’ Watch These 7 Shows Based on Romance Novels

Already binged Bridgerton Season 2 on Netflix? While the steamy period drama is confirmed to return for season 3, fans will have to wait a while to see what’s next for Anthony, Penelope, Eloise, and the rest of the show’s characters. In the meantime, you need something to fill the void. Fortunately, you can turn to one of these seven shows. Like Bridgerton, they’re all based on popular romance novels, and they should keep you entertained until it’s time to return to the world of Regency-era London. 


When it comes to romantic (and sexy) period dramas, it doesn’t get much better than Outlander. Caitriona Balfe plays a nurse named Claire who travels back in time from the 1940s to 18th-century Scotland, where she falls in love with a Highlander named Jamie (Sam Heughan). The Starz series is based on a series of books by Diana Gabaldon. She’s made it clear she doesn’t consider them traditional romances. And the show isn’t exactly like Bridgerton — it’s darker and grittier. But the ongoing love story between Claire and Jamie – as well as new relationships that are introduced later in the series – will appeal to fans of the genre.

Outlander Season 6 is currently airing on Starz. Seasons 1-4 are streaming on Netflix. 

‘Virgin River’ 

Alexandra Breckenridg, looking at a man, in 'Virgin River'
Alexandra Breckenridge as Melinda Monroe in ‘Virgin River’ | NETFLIX (c) 2020

Following a personal tragedy, a nurse named Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge) moves from Los Angeles to a small town in Northern California, where she meets an ex-Marine named Jack (Martin Henderson). Netflix’s Virgin River is based on a series of contemporary romance novels by best-selling author Robyn Carr. (There are more than 20 titles in all.) 

In a 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Carr said it was high time Hollywood started paying attention to romance. 

“There’s a need for positive drama. Not just goody-two-shoes, everything-is-beautiful kind of story, but a kind of story where people have real problems and real issues and they have to resolve them,” she said. 

Virgin River Seasons 1-3 are streaming on Netflix. 

‘Sweet Magnolias’

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Like Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias is another Netflix series inspired by a series of best-selling novels. Sherryl Woods penned the books on which the show is based. There’s plenty of romance in the show, which stars JoAnna Garcia Swisher as Maddie, a recently divorced mom who finds love with her son’s baseball coach. But it’s also a story of friendship and family, with Maddie and her two BFFs, Helen (Heather Headley) and Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott), supporting each other in good times and in bad. 

Stream Sweet Magnolias Seasons 1-2 on Netflix.  

‘Chesapeake Shores’ 

Sweet Magnolias isn’t Woods’ only book series that’s been turned into a TV show. She’s also behind Hallmark Channel’s Chesapeake Shores. In the series, Abby O’Brien (Meghan Ory) returns to her Maryland hometown after many years away, where she reconnects with Trace Riley (Jesse Metcalfe), her first love. The show doesn’t completely follow the books, especially when it comes to a major season 5 development in Trace and Abby’s relationship. But viewers looking for a mix of romance and family drama won’t be disappointed. 

Stream Chesapeake Shores Seasons 1-5 on Hallmark Movies Now. A sixth and final season will air on Hallmark Channel in summer 2022. 

‘When Calls the Heart’ 

Elizabeth and Jack looking at each other in an episode of 'When Calls the Heart'
Erin Krakow, Lori Loughlin, and Daniel Lissing in ‘When Calls the Heart’ | Copyright 2018 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ricardo Hubbs

A young teacher moves to a small town on the Canadian frontier, where she finds love with a handsome mountie. That’s the premise of Hallmark’s When Calls the Heart, which is based on a series of inspirational historical romance novels by Christian author Janette Oke. This family-friendly show is way less scandalous than Bridgerton. But if you like slow-burning romance and small-town stories, this is the series for you. Plus, it’s been on the air for nine seasons, so it will keep you busy for a while. 

When Calls the Heart Seasons 1-8 are streaming on Hallmark Movies Now. Season 9 is currently airing on Hallmark Channel. 

‘A Discovery of Witches’ 

Prefer your romance with a touch of the paranormal? Then add A Discovery of Witches to your to-watch list. It’s about a modern-day witch named Diana (Teresa Palmer) who falls in love with a centuries-old vampire named Matthew (Matthew Goode). The only hitch on their way to happily ever after? Relationships between witches and vampires are forbidden. Diana and Matthew must battle against powerful forces that wish to destroy them and those they love. The series is based on a trilogy of books by Deborah Harkness. 

A Discovery of Witches Seasons 1-3 are streaming on AMC+, Shudder, and Sundance Now. 

‘The Time-Traveler’s Wife’

Theo James broke fans’ hearts when he revealed he wouldn’t be back for a second season of Sanditon (another period show perfect for Bridgerton fans). But his next project just might make up for it. He’s set to star with Rose Leslie in HBO’s upcoming series The Time-Traveler’s Wife, which is based on the best-selling book by Audrey Niffenegger. James plays a man with a rare genetic disorder that causes him to drift in and out of different moments in time. Leslie plays his wife, who must get used to her husband’s unexpected and sudden absences. 

The Time-Traveler’s Wife premieres in May 2022 on HBO. 

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