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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Gemma Lancaster Phillips, PhD

I thought for today’s post I’d introduce you to my main character and fictional muse, Gemma. I’ve had the pleasure of “knowing” Gemma Lancaster Phillips, PhD, for some time now. Gemma is the main character and sleuth in the My American Almost Royal Cousin Series. The series begins with The Crown for Castlewood Manor, where the 27 year old American heiress from Malibu goes to England to assist her ancestral family cousin Evan Lancaster, 8th Marquess of Kentshire, to compete in an estate competition being held to determine the set location for the upcoming period drama television series, Castlewood Manor. Evan’s estate, Cherrywood Hall, has made it to the final four estates being considered.

Gemma is a true California girl, tall, long blond hair, athletic and smart. She’s an heiress, but doesn’t want to be known as a trust fund baby. Gemma followed her father David’s academic path and wrote her doctoral dissertation on “Twentieth-Century Reunification of British and American Aristocratic Families with the Influx of American Heiress Inheritances.” That’s a big title, but Gemma is very proud of the fact that her ancestral Aunt Pippa brought the feuding factions of her American and British Lancaster family together when she married her distant cousin Charles, the 4th Marquess of Kentshire, and became known as the American almost royal cousin.  She loves the history of the early twentieth century and is an avid fan of the fashions and cultures of the period.

Gemma is very close to her mother Jillian, “Ma-ma”, an American actress. Jillian and Gemma have maintained close ties with their English relatives, Evan, and his mother Margaret through-out the years. They are the last of the Lancasters and have forged a loving, supportive relationship. Aunt Pippa would be proud that her descendants have continued the Lancaster British-American family bond.

So why would Gemma leave her cozy Malibu beach cottage and put her career plans on hold to go over to England to help her cousin? I think Gemma is unsure of what she wants to do with her career. Being an heiress, she doesn’t have the financial pressures that hasten a career decision that most of us have when we graduate. Should she teach? She’s been offered professorships at leading universities, but that doesn’t seem to be her calling, at least not for now. Finding out about her cheating boyfriend hasn’t been a big boost to her ego either. A fresh change of scene is just what this PhD needs.

Gemma wants to support her cousin Evan of course, but she is drawn to going back to the ancestral home, Cherrywood Hall, learning more about her British family–especially the beloved Aunt Pippa, and delving into the competitive world of producing a television period drama series. Gemma is taken aback when she receives some British highbrow snubs for her American heritage–what would an American know about British estates or period dramas? Gemma quickly responds with her good ole American gumption and know-how, no shrinking flower here! Speaking of which, will romance blossom for Gemma once more?

I hope you get to know Gemma for yourself! She’d love to meet you.

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. Gemma adores boots! What do you think of these black velvet booties with crystal bees? They’re Gemma approved 🙂 #Gemmasboots

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