I absolutely LOVED Penelope by Anya Wylde (you can read my review HERE) so when I got the opportunity to read her newest: Seeking Philbert Woodbead I jumped at it!!! Our beloved quirky Penelope is now a happily married woman expecting their first child. With a string of unfortunate family illness on the Duke’s side his mother has had to leave to take care of the ailing extended family.
Thus Penelope has no other recourse then to send for her stepsister Celine who, unlike those of the fairy tale variety is a loving younger sibling. Celine in turn brings with her her younger sister Dorothy (age 13) to enjoy the time in London looking after all of the household daily needs. And from there the story takes off…
I will not recount for you more of the plot except to say there is a pirate, a theft, beautiful men, knitting needles, intrigue and romance. Celine is known to be completely sensible… except for her sneezes (5 in succession) and her name… but even in the most sensible heart there is a place for adventure and romance! For Celine is on the hunt for her poet… long missing and much remembered he is not the dashing Byron but a fat and rather… un-handsome young man of her humble acquaintance who has penned such gems as “The depressed cat who forgot to meow”…
Enter George the once disgraced second son of an Earl now reinstated after the rather outrageous words and actions of his older brother’ foreign born wife. It is he who remarks on the sensibility of (not)Celine…
“…we are hurtling away in a carriage being chased by blood thirsty pirates. I am not sure knitting is the appropriate occupation at such a time.”
She finished counting the stitches and looked up. “A lady must use her superior talents for the greater good. If I die, then at least I would have died making a bootee for some poor orphan child.”
I simply cannot help but share MORE tantalizing tidbits from this most humorous and outrageous historical setting romance… every girl must have a tome to refer to… and Celine lived by hers:
Mrs. Beatle’s book advised women to be prepared for everything. Never, she had written, depend on a man. Men, she wrote, were ornaments that one pulled out on special occasions or while spring cleaning. The rest of the time they should be safely stored away in either the library or the study depending on where they looked best.
And then there is a wonderful impression of another woman by our beloved unique diamond Penelope when told to dig deeper to see the good in her:
“I spent all evening excavating with the best spade in all the country, and even after hours and hours of digging into Miss Leech’s head and heart, I found nothing. Nothing, Lord Elmer. The woman is made up of empty paper bags and cotton balls.” Penelope seethed
I just love how while Celine is our main character and the focal point of all the mishaps and adventures, Anya Wylde keeps Penelope as outrageous and hilarious as she was in the book prior…
“I am pregnant and that means mostly idle. I have been practicing all sorts of things in my spare time and pretending to gently snore while I am wide awake is just one of the tricks I have learnt. It is a talent worth acquiring.”
Not only is Penelope back in this newest installment but so is her husband the Duke and HIS grandfather Sir Henry, the nearly blind relic from a past time who demands ALL male visitors have a mustache at the dinner table!
Seeking Philbert Woodbeard (and who wouldn’t want to know the truth about a POET with such a name?) is a period piece without all of the strict historical accuracy that you find in the more staid and strict romances. Instead you trade these fine details for hilarious and endearing characters, insane situations and a sense of humour that not only grows on you but is fun to share with others. I mean who wouldn’t want to relay the previous passages? And those are just some of my personal favourites.
So if you want the dry historical facts turn back, but this is the second in an amazing series of fun and strong characters, situations you can’t help but laugh at and romances they almost can’t see coming (but you see a mile away and cheer on!). I loved BOTH of Anya Wylde’s books and cannot wait for the next installment in The Fairweather Sisters Series!