To Sir Phillip, With Love (Bridgerton, #5) – Julia Quinn

Source: Goodreads

Eloise Bridgerton has had her fair share of marriage proposals and turned them all down. She wants a love match, as impossible as that seems. While she waits for love, she is content to participate in society, and write copious amounts of letters. Just as her best friend and favorite brother are falling for each other, Eloise accidentally starts falling for her cousin’s widowed husband. When he invites her to visit, she decides to go and see if they would suit… without informing her family. As Eloise and Phillip, and his twins Oliver and Amanda, attempt to get along in a house filled with sad memories, a reckoning is on the way in the form of all four, very large, Bridgerton brothers. Will the quiet Phillip be up to their standards? Will Eloise be in it for the long haul, or will the sadness of the past push her over the edge?


This one doesn’t have as much character development as I always hope it will. We get a much better sense of Eloise’s personality in the other books, when she is a secondary character, than when she is the main focus. As a heroine, she nearly disappears except in the presence of Oliver and Amanda. Sir Phillip is so wrapped up in what he wants out of a second wife that he barely notices her, and then suddenly realizes just how dependent on her he has become. I wish he had been able to appreciate her varied character a little more, and I wish she had spoken up a bit more often, rather than attempting to smother her outspokenness so as not to scare him off. She never smothered that aspect of her personality before, so why now? That aspect of the character, of her being incredibly insecure when we’ve known her to be sure and steadfast throughout the series throws me every time. The ending definitely redeems Phillip, but I do tend to be quite frustrated with him by that point.

*** Trigger Warning for themes of suicide in this one, folks ***

HHC Rating: 4 Stars.

Other reviews in this series:
Book 1 – The Duke And I
Book 2 – The Viscount Who Loved Me
Book 3 – An Offer From A Gentleman
Book 4 – Romancing Mister Bridgerton
Book 6 – When He Was Wicked
Book 7 – It’s In His Kiss
Book 8 – On The Way To The Wedding

The Lido – Libby Page

Source: Goodreads

Kate Matthews has lived in Brixton, London, for a year and knows no one. She’s a writer for the local paper, and she loves interviewing people, but she’s yet to be assigned anything she can sink her teeth into.
Rosemary Peterson has lived in Brixton all her life. She’s seen the neighborhood change as wars, love, and businesses came and went, and every day she swims at the lido (an outdoor pool), where some of her dearest memories were made.
Kate and Rosemary’s worlds collide the day it is announced that the lido will close. Kate has been assigned to write about the closure and it’s effect on the town, and she starts her story by interviewing Rosemary. A single meeting changes both of their lives, and the two women come to realize they will do everything within their power to keep the lido from closing.

I picked up this book by accident. My friend Hannah and I went to the movie theater to see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, and they were handing them out for free at the ticket counter. Why, I may never know. Hannah and I went home and devoured the book. It was heartfelt, deep, and shockingly real. Rosemary deals with the loss of her husband, and Kate deals with crippling anxiety. They both find their focus and community by swimming at the lido, and it’s threatened closure sets their lives in downward spirals. The two women find meaning in their mutual friendship and build new lives in a town they thought was falling apart around them.
I still can’t believe Page is a debut author. Her writing speaks of years of experience, and the way she gets into characters’s heads is enchanting. I had trouble putting this book down and nearly started it over again when I finished, it was that good. I for one can’t wait to see what Page writes next.
Stay tuned for a live video discussion between Hannah, myself, and our friend Hallee once she finishes reading it. We’ll talk plot, writing style, and marketing strategies.

HHC Rating: 5 Stars.

My Thoughts on Depression

 

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It is often hypothesized that the Dementors in the Harry Potter series were meant to represent depression. The Patronus Charm, the manifestation in animal form of a witch or wizard’s happiest memories, was the only known spell capable of driving away and defeating them.

 

Depression is a weird thing. It comes and goes like a thief in the night. It can rob you of all happiness for no reason at all, and it can also pass in an instant. Worst of all it plays no favorites, yet it sneaks around, pretending it only has designs on your life. It makes you feel isolated. And afraid. Makes you doubt yourself, would have you believe you’re a burden on the people you hold most dear. It makes you feel unworthy. Of everything. It tries to lower your standards forcefully as if it knows better than you what you deserve, what you are capable of. It makes you feel as though, no matter what you do or who you are, everyone out there is better than you at everything you are phenomenal at. It takes your imagination and turns it on its head, shrouding it in a darkness so deep that your strongest hopes are only a ghost of a whisper.

Depression is the Devil’s strongest tool. When he can’t break up your relationships, when he can’t get you kicked out of school, when he can’t get that car to hit you as you jaywalk across that busy street, he sends depression and tries to convince you to destroy, and then eventually end, your life yourself.

I count those fighting depression amongst the strongest people I know. The Devil only sends depression to those who he can’t reach otherwise. Their faith, hope, love, grace, and will are too strong for him to beat down by normal means.

If you find yourself up against depression, keep fighting the good fight. I know you can’t see the end in sight because of the darkness, but believe when people remind you it is there. You know it is. You are stronger than you feel.

At this early point in my life, I already know people who have succumbed to what their depression asked of them. Please don’t become one of that number. You have a light in you, no matter how small, that is burning with a fierceness even depression cannot snuff out without your permission. Arm yourself with calmness, wisdom, patience, and courage, and keep defeating your darkness one battle at a time. The war will be long, but your army is stronger.

 

I wish you all peace, light, and blessings throughout this holiday season and the ensuing winter ahead that bears its own darkness we all must deal with.

Until Next Time,

Amanda