The second season of Bridgerton (opens in new tab), which hits Netflix March 25, picks up right where the last one left off. As you'll recall, with the family's eldest daughter, Daphne, happily married off—to a duke, no less—and already welcoming her first child, eldest son Anthony, the family's de facto patriarch, decides in the final moments of season one (opens in new tab) that it's time for him to give up his philandering ways and find a suitable marriage as well.
Of course, that's much easier said than done, as Anthony learns pretty quickly. It's made even more difficult by the fact that his definition of "suitable" includes a rather demanding list of criteria for a wife—sans any mention whatsoever of actual love. He does eventually set his sights on a newcomer to the Ton, the delightful Edwina Sharma, despite her headstrong sister Kate's open antagonism toward the viscount. Because this is a Regency romance story (opens in new tab) with little room for subtlety, I'm sure you can imagine where this is all heading—so let's get to know the Sharma sisters to prepare.
Who plays the Sharma sisters?
Kate Sharma, the elder and more prickly of the two sisters, is played by Simone Ashley (opens in new tab). She's a British actress who's had small roles in Detective Pikachu and a handful of British TV shows including Broadchurch and Strike. Since 2019, she's also had a more prominent role in Netflix's Sex Education, playing Olivia, a member of the "Untouchables" clique.
Kate's younger half-sister Edwina is played by Charithra Chandran. Like her onscreen sister, she also hails from the U.K. She graduated from the University of Oxford in 2019 and soon after landed a main role as Sabina in the second season of Amazon's Alex Rider.
How are the Sharma sisters related?
The Sharmas are half-sisters: Kate is the daughter of a working-class tradesman who fell in love with Lady Mary, the daughter of an earl. Mary's parents disapproved of the relationship, so Mary ran off with him to India and soon gave birth to Edwina. When the girls' father died, Mary continued to raise Kate as her own daughter alongside Edwina.
At the beginning of season two, the Sharmas return to England to stay with Lady Danbury (remember her? (opens in new tab)) while Edwina makes her social debut. The sisters' arrival sends the Ton into a tizzy, not least because Queen Charlotte proclaims Edwina to be her new "incomparable" of the social season—the same illustrious title that was bestowed upon Daphne Bridgerton the year before. That fits perfectly into Kate's semi-secret plan, which revolves around finding Edwina a husband that their estranged grandparents will approve of so they'll pay her dowry.
Unfortunately for all involved, things (obviously) don't go according to plan. After Anthony Bridgerton sets his own scheming sights on Edwina, he can't stop butting heads with Kate—building up so much sexual tension in the process that you could cut it with a knife. Not an ideal situation to be in with your beloved sister's betrothed, to say the least.
How does their onscreen portrayal compare to the book?
The core details of the Sharma sisters' storyline survived the jump from the pages of Julia Quinn's romance series (opens in new tab) to the screen: Kate is an outspoken, whip-smart woman who is fiercely protective of her sister and is set on living out the rest of her life as a spinster—though she reaches that conclusion at the age of 20 in The Viscount Who Loved Me, compared to her 26 years in the show. Edwina, meanwhile, is a wide-eyed, hopeless romantic who, though seemingly delicate and comparatively soft-spoken, is just as determined as Kate to live life on her own terms.
The biggest change between the two versions of the sisters comes courtesy of the TV adaptation's penchant for adding some much-needed diversity to its fictionalized early 19th-century London. In the books, Edwina is described as being blond-haired and blue-eyed; the family travels to the city only from the English countryside, rather than India; and their last name is Sheffield—which the Netflix series instead borrowed for Lady Mary's maiden name.
"Making the Sharmas of South Asian descent was actually a very simple choice," Shonda Rhimes, one of the show's producers, recently told (opens in new tab) her Shondaland platform. "I wanted to feel like the world we were living in was as three-dimensional as possible, and I wanted to feel like the representation was as three-dimensional as possible, too."
She continued, "Finding some South Asian women with darker skin and making sure that they were represented onscreen authentically and truthfully feels like something that we haven't seen nearly enough of."
Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2017 and has also written for W, Brides, Glamour, Women's Health, People and more.
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