Our Hero: Lord Philip Joshua Latimer was a methodical mercenary, charming gentleman and the love of Ursula’s life. Philip believes he loves Ursula but is held from declaring his feelings for fear of past hurt and haunting suspicions that she is still in love with his cousin Nicholas.
His Heroine: Lady Ursula Robinette is sophisticated, stylish but for her grandmother’s outlandish contributions to her wardrobe and is madly in love with Philip. Ursula is also a fierce friend to his cousin and her ex-fiancée Lord Nicholas Foxborough… a point of understandable jealousy for Philip.
The Novel: Is based primarily around Philip and Ursula’s romantic relationship. The first few chapters introduce and give, in detail, the foundation of the two such as who they are, and where their heart lies. There are secondary story lines but their sole purpose is to add to the lead characters’ interaction so the story remains focused on their development.
Together: Philip and Ursula are a passionate pair that entertain and delight. They are genuine in their approach to each other and are faithful to the love they share so that they come across as endearingly romantic without being trite or overly sentimental.
Their story: Brunswick opens with a brief prologue in Brighton, England during the early spring of 1822 as Ursula’s uncle the Earl of Brunswick, is in a deep predicament for lack of an heir due to the premature death of his son Noel. Now Brunswick, newly married to Philip’s mother conspires with his new Countess to bring Ursula and Philip together for their own ends. The elder couple summons the two young people to Brighton in order to pitch to them their proposal.
The book opens on the palatial grounds of an aristocrat’s wedding where Ursula is casting dead stares at the provoking bride who had just finished telling her that ‘her day would come even if she was a spinster, for she still had her looks and fortune.’ A smiling Philip intercedes on the silly girl’s behalf by making Ursula laugh after which she tells him that she has missed their friendship.
He in turns reminds her that she only missed him because she was not able to see the harm that they clearly do to each other with their scandalous behaviour. They are soon interrupted by the friends they came with and the conversation turns to marriage and the single state. Both are left raw by some the things said and when their companions stalk away due to the couple’s contention, the two are left alone once more.
This time there is something unsaid that hangs between them but neither addresses it, instead deciding to travel together to see Brunswick in Brighton. He watches her leave, feeling the whole time that she was keeping something from him. Philip returns to his home in Grosvenor Square where he is confronted by a truth being kept from him by his overprotective older brother about Gene, his first love. Gene’s husband, as it turned out, had died while Philip was abroad and she was on her way back to the ton after her year of mourning.
Nonetheless, the following morning, he and Ursula depart for Brighton where she, after a sleepless night, confronts him about the shocking state of their relationship and the near toxic routine, which they inadvertently reverted to whenever he was in England. He accuses her of still being in love with his Cousin Nicholas and she counters by say she would not carry on with him thus if she felt anything for anyone else. Then she reminds him that it was he who had been undecided and not herself.
With some of the awful things that were once kept quiet, now brought to light, the two having been friend for a long time, soon find accord. He asks her to tell him what it was that was so clearly weighing on her. She tells him that it was seeing him that was bothering her since his return and he in turn told her he was bothered that they had made love and was troubled by the fact that he did not want to marry him.
It is then revealed that she suspects she might be pregnant.
He tells her she no longer has an option on whether or not to marry about which she agrees. They arrive in Brighton to find the scheming elders and are soon told of their proposal, for him Philip the Earl’s new stepson to marry his niece and produce an heir. A perfect solution for the now believed pregnant Ursula, but then things are never so simple.
No sooner did everyone come to a compromise and the two resolve to marry in a few days do secrets held by all involved begin to unravel their delicate balance. It all starts when Philip confides in Ursula that Noel did indeed leave behind at least one legitimate heir.
She encourages him to tell Brunswick who immediately calls an end to the agreement he had made on behalf of Ursula with Philip in hopes that he could get her to marry Nicholas who had custody of Noel’s son due to his brief marriage to the child’s now dead mother.
Things are further complicated when Ursula realizes that she is not pregnant but is nonetheless brought closer to Philip due to their shared desire to be married to each other. They resolve to marry despite Brunswick’s opposition and so begins their dilemma as the old man enlists Nicholas’s parents the resourceful Duke and Duchess of Foxborough.
The Foxboroughs and Brunswick quickly make their alliance while the young people proceed, ignorant of their intent, to arrange a public announcement of Ursula’s engagement to Nicholas. Thankfully, Philip and Ursula’s grandmother were able to catch on to their plot before the damage done was too severe.
Still the elders were determined and by now had, as their accomplice, the Earl of Escot who had in his position Noel’s legal heir, a pretty little girl called Saffron to whom his son had been father for most her life. In the midst of all this Gene, Philip’s first love now an elegant Duchess, returns to the ton.
Ursula frets that Philip is still in love with the returning Duchess of Mar and encourages him to go see her in order to be sure he wasn’t. Only for the Duchess to reveal to Philip that she had married Mar though carrying his child because of a sinister plot by her father who discovered that the Duke of Mar was sterile and favoured Philip.
The boy now almost fourteen was loyal to the memory of the late duke and refused to meet Philip who could never really be a father to him. This is a source of great distress for poor Philip who doesn’t know how best to serve all involved.
Devastated to learn that the Duchess had confided her truth to his eldest brother who kept it from him, Philip turns to the one person he is certain still had his best interest at heart, Ursula. She is every bit the steady shoulder Philip had hoped she would be and he realizes what he had always suspected, that she was the woman of his life…
And all the while, the elders plotted, now going so far as to include in their plans a lady who had been briefly engaged to Philip. Lady Sarah Lennox Lyttelton now married and heartbroken due to the recent loss of her baby presents the most effective obstacle for our two newly declared lovers when she arranges for Philip to be caught in a compromising position in her sister Naomi’s bedroom.
Naomi is a sympathetic character and one of Ursula’s oldest friends so of course this presents an interesting predicament for the couple. Still, Ursula being the most reasonable of all females weighs all the odds and stands true to her friend and love. She perseveres over the madness by holding strong to her wits and soon she, Philip and Naomi find a workable resolve when they arrange for Naomi to marry one of Philip’s cousins.
Now believed settled Ursula sets forth an ultimatum to her uncle to cease and desist in his attempts to run her life and is dealt the ultimate blow when he tells her, he, and not his dead brother as was believed, was her father. Overwhelmed by it all, Ursula flees to Kent to confront her mother who ends up giving the prospective she needed.
She wakes in the middle of the night to find Philip standing at the foot of her bed. He tells her he’s sure that she’s the one for him. They are happy in love and a week later they marry.
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