On to the next one! After loving everythingggg about Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, and seeing a sneak peak of the premise of Book 5 in the Bridgerton series, I immediately downloaded To Sir Phillip, With Love to my Kindle. Book 5 in the Bridgerton series focuses on Eloise, the Bridgerton sibling I’ve found myself most interested in during my reading leading up to this book. With an interesting premise – arranging a marriage of convenience with one’s pen pal – and a character I’ve come to love already, I was really excited to dive into this one, and it did not disappoint.

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The summary, from Amazon:

Sir Phillip knew that Eloise Bridgerton was a spinster, and so he’d proposed, figuring that she’d be homely and unassuming, and more than a little desperate for an offer of marriage. Except…she wasn’t. The beautiful woman on his doorstep was anything but quiet, and when she stopped talking long enough to close her mouth, all he wanted to do was kiss her… and more. Did he think she was mad?

Eloise Bridgerton couldn’t marry a man she had never met! But then she started thinking…and wondering…and before she knew it, she was in a hired carriage in the middle of the night, on her way to meet the man she hoped might be her perfect match. Except…he wasn’t. Her perfect husband wouldn’t be so moody and ill-mannered, and while Phillip was certainly handsome, he was a large brute of a man, rough and rugged, and totally unlike the London gentlemen vying for her hand. But when he smiled…and when he kissed her…the rest of the world simply fell away, and she couldn’t help but wonder…could this imperfect man be perfect for her?

Buy To Sir Phillip, With Love here!

Okay, so if you’ve read my other Bridgerton reviews, you know I have some qualms with this family. Daphne, Anthony, and Benedict all had some issues with the concept of consent in one way or another. However, Colin from Romancing Mr. Bridgerton was on his A-game, as was Eloise in To Sir Phillip, With Love. And so this book was almost perfect for me!!

Eloise is feisty and fun, but she’s ready to settle. She planned to be a spinsters with her BFF, but that friend, Penelope, just married Eloise’s brother. Eloise loves to write letters and has been keeping up a correspondence with Sir Phillip, the widower of her distant cousin. When Sir Phillip proposes marriage, Eloise decides on a whim to travel to his house in the country to get to know him. Phillip had proposed this idea, but Eloise shows up unannounced, meaning he hasn’t procured a chaperone. Once her brothers find out, they’re forced to marry, even though they already had decided they suited well enough and had plans to anyway.

Phillip kept one small secret from Eloise, though, and entirely just from lack of thinking to mention it. He’s a father. He has two eight-year-olds, and they’re little terrors to Eloise at first, but quickly warm up to her. Phillip wanted to marry to find a mother for his children, but it helps that his chemistry with Eloise is one fire. The two quickly fall in love, and so the book is really about Phillip’s struggle to be a good father to his children. He loves them dearly, but had a poor relationship with his physically abusive father, and doesn’t trust himself (being a big, strong man and all that) around little ones who are so unruly. Despite Eloise not signing up to become a mother immediately, she falls in love with Phillip – and his two kids – and shows him that he already is an excellent father. He just needs to show that side of himself to his children more.

The children in this book were well-written. Sometimes kids feel like pets in books – irrelevant and only there if the plot demands it or to provide a little bit of cuteness or drama. However, Amanda and Oliver were lovely, full-fledged characters.

My only problem with this book is that I did not appreciate the treatment of Phillip’s late wife, Marina. Marina suffered from depression, worsened after giving birth, and passed away from complications after attempting suicide. While Eloise and Phillip do take pity on her, she’s painted as very selfish for her suicidal act and lack of mothering instincts. The second epilogue is from an adult Amanda’s point of view, which is lovely, but shows Amanda as still harboring a lot of negative feelings about Marina’s character. I do think Marina’s actions were selfish – she left behind two young children. (Her husband as well, but they were not particularly close.) However, I don’t think the best job was done to portray the depression as an illness. The characters say Marina was that way her whole life and some people are just like that. Of course, not as much was known about mental illness in the 1800s, but I still would have appreciated some acknowledgement that Marina may have very well been a loving mother had she not suffered from such terrible depression.

As with all of these books, though, it was published in the early 2000s and I’d like to think if it were written today, the story would’ve been told a little differently. I have hopes that the Netflix series addresses some of my concerns with this series.

Find out more about how I rate books here.

To Sir Phillip, With Love (Bridgertons, #5)To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Easily my second favorite in the series so far. Eloise probably is my favorite Bridgerton, and her romance with Phillip is 🔥. Mostly, this story is about these two felling in love while Phillip learns to become a better father. I REALLY like this couple, and the chemistry in this one was ON POINT!!! I was hooked. This only isn’t 5 stars for me is because of the treatment of Phillip’s deceased first wife, Marina. Trigger warning / suicide:

Marina passed away from complications after attempting suicide. While Phillip doesn’t seem to resent Marina outright, no one really shows any indication that they think it must have been difficult to be Marina. Instead, she’s portrayed as selfish for not connecting with her children and leaving them behind. I agree that in some ways she was selfish, but depression is about so much more than that and I think her character deserves a little more justice.

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Update: Bridgerton vs. the books

Marina is a character on the show and unrelated to the Bridgertons. She is much more fleshed out, and while she has her struggles in the Netflix adaptation, it doesn’t seem like she is suffering from depression. She does marry Phillip at the end of Season 1, and we see her relatively happy, if not in love, during Season 2. I love Marina on the show and want the best for her, so I hope her character does not die so Eloise can find love. I also wouldn’t mind if show Eloise has a completely different love interest, whether the premise is the same or not. She has a possible romance 0423with a man from another class in Season 2, but, like I think about Benedict, I believe Eloise on Bridgerton (the show, not the books) is queer. I really want her to have a romance with a woman.


Book Club Questions

  1. What do you make of Phillip’s relationship with his children? With Marina?
  2. What do you make of Amanda’s thoughts on Marina in the second epilogue?
  3. Would Marina’s fate be viewed the same way in the modern era as it was in this book?
  4. For readers of the other books in this series, Eloise has never expressed an interest in marriage – rather the opposite. Why has her opinion changed? Is this solely related to Penelope’s marriage, or is there more to her reasoning?
  5. For fans of the Netflix adaptation, do you want the same storyline for Eloise? For Marina? Do you see things playing out differently?


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