5 Ways Bridgerton Could Improve Eloise's Problematic Romance

5 Ways Bridgerton Could Improve Eloise's Problematic Romance
Image credit: Netflix

No book in the Bridgerton universe divides fans like To Sir Phillip With Love.

The fifth novel in the series centers around Eloise Bridgerton, who after the marriage of her best friend is starting to dread the idea of never finding a life partner. She begins a correspondence with Sir Phillip Crane, and when he proposes a marriage of convenience Eloise spontaneously runs off to his country house.

There, she finds to her shock that Phillip is a father to two children and has a Deep Dark Past that allows him to brood darkly and hunkily all over the page, in the time-honored dark and hunky way of all dark and hunky romantic heroes.

Some fans adore Phillip, sympathize with his wretchedly traumatic past, and enjoy the fact that for once the romantic hero isn't a rake and the heroine isn't perfection itself.

Other fans find Phillip a nasty, abusive man who is terrible with children and takes his wife for granted.

We can't solve the debate, but there's no doubt that there are some ways the show could improve on the roadmap set out by author Julia Quinn. Here are five ways that Bridgerton could update Eloise's romance.

  1. Respect Eloise's feminism

The Netflix show expanded on her character by making Eloise a budding feminist. But by making that change, they've set themselves up for failure if they follow through with a traditional happily-ever-after. Her ending needs to allow Eloise to gain independence, instead of just the 'prize' of being a wife and mother.

  1. Respect Marina

Sir Phillip's first wife suffered from lifelong depression exacerbated by post-partum depression. Given the fact that it was written twenty years ago, the book does a surprisingly good job of not blaming Marina, or acting as though her suicide was a result of 'weakness' (you'd be surprised how often this card is played in romance novels). But there is still improvement to be made in the way the story handles Marina's depression and Phillip's PTSD.

  1. Lengthen the timeline.

Eloise's relationship with Phillip and his two children go from 'non-existent' to 'perfect' in the space of about two weeks. Given how complicated their relationship is (see the aforementioned PTSD), this needs a way longer timeline.

  1. Sex doesn't solve everything

Yes, it's a romance. But the answer to 'are we really a good match?' and 'does this marriage work?' can't always be 'You betcha baby, I'll prove it by going down on you.' (Please note that if any men out there want to try to prove me wrong… well, if you insist.)

  1. Get the sibs in there!

Unlike most Bridgerton novels, To Sir Phillip With Love takes place almost entirely with the main characters isolated in the country. Hopefully the show will find ways to get Benedict, Anthony, Daphne, Violet, and the rest of the rascally Bridgerton gang involved in the plot. Both in the books and in the show, the family dynamics are really what makes the Bridgerton saga so compelling.