TO SIR PHILLIP WITH LOVE
Avon Books, 2003
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Sir Phillip Crane assumed the title of baron after the death of his elder brother in the Battle of Waterloo. Phillip never wanted to be a baron and he wasn't interested in marriage, but he inherited the title along with his brother's fiancee, Marina. After their marriage and the birth of twins, Oliver and Amanda, Marina fell into a melancholia from which she never recovered. When she attempted to drown herself in the lake, Phillip saved her, but following her suicide attempt, Marina became ill with lung fever and died.
One year later Sir Phillip has practically become a recluse. He has dismissed most of the household staff, including the children's nannies, and has isolated himself in his greenhouse while his children run wild. The only outside contact he has is a correspondence he started with Marina's cousin, Miss Eloise Bridgerton. He hopes Miss Bridgerton will accept an invitation to visit, to see if they would suit. He desperately needs someone to bring order to his children's lives and help him cope with the mess he has made of things.
Miss Eloise Bridgerton, the chatty twenty-eight year-old spinster of the Bridgerton clan, is fascinated by the secret correspondence she has conducted with the widowed Sir Phillip. She has turned down six marriage proposals since her coming out, but with all her dearest friends now married, she has begun feeling lonely and out of sorts. Eloise has built a few fantasies around Sir Phillip being the man of her dreams. When he asks her to consider coming to Romney Hall, she impulsively seizes the offer. Eloise slips away without telling her family where she is going because she doesn't want her meddling and overeager Mama to ruin her chance to get to know Sir Phillip. But Sir Phillip and the Crane twins are more than she bargained for, and when her family catches up with her schemes, she is forced to take a leap of faith.
TO SIR PHILLIP WITH LOVE is Julia Quinn's fifth release in the Bridgerton series. It's a Jane Austenish tale with a steamy love story. The Bridgerton clan includes the eight children of the widowed Violet Bridgerton. A Family Tree at the juliaquinn.com website will help readers sort out who's who among them. The comedic bantering and chaotic nature of the family's relationships are a delightful aspect of this tale. Eloise's rash, unchaperoned journey to Romney Hall puts her in a compromised situation with society. A forced marriage is unarguably an overused plot device, but the real story is in the character development of the two central characters. Miss Eloise Bridgerton is a sunny, outspoken and impulsive woman who meets a handsome and tortured man in Sir Phillip Crane. This story strikes a good balance between the dark elements of past events and the humor and playfulness of the Bridgerton clan.
The entire series is delightful and I highly recommend them. The lists of titles in the Bridgerton series are: THE DUKE AND I, THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME, AN OFFER FROM A GENTLEMAN, ROMANCING MISTER BRIDGERTON, TO SIR PHILLIP WITH LOVE, and WHEN HE WAS WICKED. The stories of Eloise's younger brother Gregory and sister Hyacinth will complete this series, but are yet to be published. Hyacinth's story is reportedly due out in 2005.
October 2004 Review
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