The younger sister of Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), and the second daughter of the Bridgerton family, Claudia Jessie’s whip-smart character has become a firm favourite with fans of the Netflix series.
Why? Well, because she’s brilliant, quite frankly. We’re 100% here for her eye rolls, for her rebellious streak, and for her ability to take on the role of amateur private detective at the drop of a bonnet.
More importantly, though, we’re big fans of her unwillingness to partake in the Regency era’s marriage market. Because, as she tells Daphne, our girl Eloise isn’t going to dress herself up as ‘perfect wife’ material for anyone.
“It must be taxing,” she says, shooting an almost pitying glance at her sister. “This game of pretend that you feel you must endlessly maintain.”
Essentially, we love Eloise (whom this writer has described as ‘a Regency romance version of Stevie from Schitt’s Creek’ on more than one occasion) because she takes a stand against tired old stereotypes. Because she refuses to become another simpering and missing debutante, instead planning to forge her own career and secure that sense of freedom she so desperately craves.
Because… well, because she believes she’s destined for something greater. And, as an audience, so do we.
As one viewer puts it on Twitter: “Eloise is a treasure we need to preserve.”
Of course, we all know that Netflix’s Bridgerton is an adaptation of Julia Quinn’s novels of the same name. We know that. With some eight books in the series, though, one can’t help but wonder what the future has in store for our favourite character?
Read on to find out – so long as you don’t mind spoilers, that is.
What happens to Eloise Bridgerton in To Sir Phillip, With Love?
In the books, Eloise takes pleasure in her own spinsterhood – right up until the moment her best friend, Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan), finds a husband of her own. She’d always assumed that they would grow old together, because she never so much as dreamed that Pen would ever find love.
It’s a horrible moment for Eloise, forcing her to confront her own feelings of loneliness, envy, and guilt. But, come the fifth book (that’s To Sir Phillip, With Love, for anyone who’s interested), Eloise has seemingly settled into her solitary life as a spinster at the ripe old age of 28.
When she learns of a distant cousin’s death, Eloise sends a standard note of condolence to the woman’s grieving husband, Sir Phillip Crane – and thus gains a penpal.
After some time spent exchanging letters, Sir Phillip proposes that Eloise visit his estate to see if they might be suitable for marriage. He does so on the assumption “that she’d be homely and unassuming, and more than a little desperate.” And, of course, the assumption that she might let him know if she plans to take him up on his offer.
Eloise is startled by the proposal, but then she gets to thinking about it properly. And, before she knows what she’s doing, and with nary a word to her mother or Sir Phillip of her plans, she finds herself “in a hired carriage in the middle of the night, on her way to meet the man she hopes might be her perfect match.”
“I had to do something,” she says later of her actions. “I couldn’t just sit and wait for life to happen to me any longer.”
As is the way of these things, Sir Phillip – more than a little bewildered to find a sodden Eloise unexpectedly on his doorstep, without a chaperone – doesn’t make the best first impression. He’s moody, and ill-mannered, and utterly obsessed with his garden.
“And he certainly should have mentioned that he had two young – and decidedly unruly – children, as much in need of a mother as Phillip is in need of a wife,” notes the book’s synopsis.
That’s right: Sir Phillip is a single dad of two devilish children, both of whom set to playing pranks on Eloise from pretty much the first moment she steps into the house. He’s also deeply troubled by the death of his late wife, and by a severe lack of any familial support: as such, he does not socialise, seemingly lives only for his plant experiments, and has not had sex in eight years.
Essentially, he’s your classic ‘tortured romantic hero’ of the Regency era romance. However, rather than doing a Mr Rochester and inflicting his own pain upon Eloise, Sir Phillip prefers to internalise and turn it on himself instead.
Despite all her misgivings about becoming a (shudder) “babysitter with benefits”, Eloise finds herself caring for the children. She quickly realises, because it’s obvious to everyone save Sir Phillip, that they’re only acting out because they want their father’s attention. And then her brothers come looking for her, realise she’s been spending time with a man unchaperoned, and insist that she absolutely will be marrying the baronet, thank you very much.
Naturally, she’s fuming, and lashes out at Sir Phillip, blaming him (perhaps unfairly) for her predicament. Over time, though, the pair come to realise that… well, that theirs isn’t a match of convenience at all, but a love match. Because, as Julia Quinn wastes no words in showing us, they are perfectly suited to one another.
The result? A very happy marriage indeed, and one based upon mutual respect and appreciation at that.
Indeed, come the book’s second epilogue, Eloise’s stepdaughter reflects on the lessons she’s learned from her (now 40-year-old) stepmother.
“She tells me that she was never considered a beauty when she was young,” says Amanda fondly.
“No one thought she was unattractive, and she was in fact quite popular, but she was never designated a diamond of the first water. She tells me that women of intelligence age better.
“I find this interesting, and I do hope it bodes well for my own future.”
Will we watch these same events play out on screen?
Well, with rumours of a further seven seasons of Bridgerton in the works, it seems highly likely that Eloise will see her story brought to life before too long. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more…
Bridgerton is available to stream on Netflix.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
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