Andrew, proud member of the Brotherhood of Philander, a private London society for men who enjoy the company of other men (*wink wink, nudge nudge*) decides its time to do his duty and provide an heir, so he enters into a marriage of convenience with Phyllida, a poor country virgin (and anonymous writer of gothic romances). It was like a copy of a copy of a copylike shed read a lot of other Regency romances and tried to recreate them, rather than the actual period. The characters reactions and decision-making seemed bizarre to me, toolike she was trying to make them (especially Andrew) seem incredibly clever and devious, Dangerous Liaisons-style. The same can be said of the supposed danger Andrew faces of being exposed, or disgraced among the ton; since almost all the characters we meet are in some way associated with the Brotherhood, it never feels like what Andrew and Phyllida are up to is all that unusual. Andrew and Phyllida are even introduced to another long-term triumvirate: husband, wife, and husband (and wifes!) live-in lover. For example, theres a long sequence in which Andrew becomes convinced that his wife is actually the author of Sense and Sensibility instead of the gothic bodice-ripper shes actually responsible for. And also a lot of Andrew calling Phyllida a slut, which I guess could be construed as hot dirty talk in certain contexts, but not when he actually seems to mean itwhen hes previously insinuated that he thinks her mother is a dirty whore.
This book was one of those odd novel that was hard to put down, with a beginning half that outshone the second part. It's not a romantic book, nor - surprisingly - an erotic one. There were some sweet connections, especially between Phyllida and Andrew, but hardly anything I'd call romantic. This book wins in that it's unique and creative with it's story, playful with the characters, but I'd like to have seem more genuineness later with developed emotion.
Andrew is, shall we say, interested in men (the Brotherhood is a club where he and like-minded gentlemen can enjoy each other's company) but decides he must marry and produce an heir for societal reasons.
Sexy, rich aristocrat Andrew Carrington decides to marry any woman who will bear him an heir and tolerate his homosexuality.
Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander is the story of Phyllida, an author of trashy gothic romances, and her bisexual husband, Andrew Carrington. The author weaves the lives of the characters - not only Phyllida and Andrew, but those of the entire Brotherhood - in and out of each other throughout the novel, and throws in a spy subplot to (it seems) draw the entire story out another two hundred pages. I would have been happy without the spy subplot, just reading the story of Andrew, Phyllida, Harry, Matthew, and the rest of the Brotherhood.
It did stretch credubility that Phyllida is titillated by her husband's homosexuality, which seems unlikely for a virginal Regency girl, and that Carrington suddenly turns bisexual and develops an attraction to his wife after resisting many wealthy, titled beauties of his own class.
Also, Andrew is kind of a jerk, and he's not even a nice jerk, if that makes any sense. Some of it was properly steamy but some of it was just uncomfortable-making, for me anyway.
With Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander, Ann put a new twist on a traditional form, creating the ultimate love story she always wanted to read: an m/m/f Regency romance.