Proper young lady, Celine Fairweather is summoned to stay with her pregnant sister, Penelope, Duchess of Blackthorne, keep her company, and help run her household through her final month of pregnancy. Shortly after her arrival, the dashing Lord Adair asks the ducal couple if his second cousin, the roguish George Rodrick Irvin, Viscount Elmer, who is apparently hiding from pirates can stay with them since he's going out of the country. Celine is nursing an affection for a very bad poet by the name of Philbert Woodbead, and the bored Viscount is eager to help her reconnect with him to keep his mind off his own situation of being Public Enemy Number One with a vicious group of pirates. With his checkered past and happy-go-lucky personality, Viscount Elmer brings life and chaos into Celine's ordered existence. He makes her realize the difference between a temporary affection and true love, but is Viscount Elmer here to stay or is this just a temporary diversion while he's in hiding from his enemies?
Seeking Philbert Woodbead has the slapstick humor tone of its predecessor, Penelope, but unfortunately, it lacks its charm and the cohesiveness. Celine doesn't have the presence and doesn't captivate (and bewilder) the reader as thoroughly as her sister Penelope. That was a shame, since I really loved Penelope, her personality and her antics. I perceive that the author wanted to flip the page with this book, and have a serious heroine with a silly hero, but George isn't as funny or as lively a main character as this book needed.
While there are some humorous moments, they didn't feel organic. The silly tone felt contrived, as if the author was trying a little too hard. The biggest issue was this book doesn't have the energy and spirit a story of this kind needs. When a story is played for laughs, it needs to own its absurdity, and I didn't feel that needed sense of abandon to silliness that makes Penelope such a delightful read.
Overall, Celine is likable, although a bit bland. I didn't connect with her as much as I liked, and I hardly felt any connection with George. For a hero who supposedly had his sense of joie de vivre, I didn't feel it. The pirate storyline could have been a bit more prominent and better integrated into the storyline, because a lot of the humorous potential within this plot was left undeveloped.
It was great to catch up with Penelope and her duke again, and their scenes were some of my favorite parts. Penelope is now a married woman who is heavily pregnant, and seeing her and the duke deal with some of the aspects of pregnancy and marriage was a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed with Seeking Philbert Woodbead after being so captivated with Penelope. This is a decent book, and if I hadn't loved the first Fairweather series book so much, I would have enjoyed it more than I did. It just doesn't hold up as well in comparison. I'm still looking forward to continuing this series, because I do enjoy Anya Wylde's writing and her desire to make the reader laugh with sweet, fun Regency romance.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
*Reviewed by guest reviewer, Danielle Hill.
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