Series: Playful Brides #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 29th 2014
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era
Is there any greater surprise than falling deeply, madly in love?
In This Battle of Wits
Lady Lucy Upton’s tongue may be too sharp to attract suitors but her heart is good, and when her painfully shy friend Cassandra needs help she devises a brilliant scheme to help her discourage an unwanted suitor, the Duke of Claringdon. Lucy will hide behind the hedgerow and tell Cass just what to say to discourage the duke…but it turns out that he’s made of sterner stuff than either of them anticipated. And Lucy is shocked to discover that tangling with the tenacious man is the most fun she’s had in ages.
Kisses Are the Best Weapon
Lord Derek Hunt made a promise to his dying friend to marry the demure Cassandra, and for a man who wants nothing more than peace and quiet after the horrors of war, she’ll make the perfect bride. If only the impudent Miss Upton will let him court the girl! Doing battle is the last thing on his mind, but bantering with Lucy behind the bushes is too tempting to resist. And the spoils of this war just may be true love…
Lady Lucy Upton, is considered to bold and outspoken and is considered a “wallflower”, Lucy has always been daring enough to speak her mind. When one of her two closest friends, Cassandra, is being pursued by the Duke of Claringdon, when she is interested in another man, but the Duke is being persistent, so Cassandra’s asks for Lucy’s help in deterring his advances. So Lucy comes up with various ways to discourage Derek Hunt. Derek’s best friend Julian, made him promise on his deathbed, to take care of Cassandra and marry her, knowing that his friend doesn’t have much longer to live, he tries to make good on his promise, but Cassandra doesn’t stir his blood like her friend Lucy does. Their quick-witted bantering, makes him want to second guess his decision to marry Cassandra, but he is split in two…one over honor or love…will Lucy and Derek find a way to be together despite the odds against them…
Derek Hunt grew up in a military family, he and all of his brothers have served in the military. Derek became the Duke of Claringdon, through intelligence and creativity on the battlefield, and never imagined that he would be part of London’s most elite society. Derek knows that being the Duke holds great responsibility, but with his men missing on a mission, including his younger brother, Derek has been commanded to stay in London. Derek is a character that is smart and cunning, and is determined to win Cassandra. What was most likeable about Derek was his sense of humor and the way he could laugh at himself.
Lucy Upton, had to train herself to act like a man. she is bold and free-spoken, she doesn’t care what others think of her. She hasn’t exactly been the toast of the Ton since she met with the queen which was a total disaster. Lucy, lost her only sibling when she was a child, and ever since has never been able to make her parents proud of her. Lucy was a character, that I truly loved seeing in this story. She is Derek’s match in every way…boy she is opinionated, strong-willed and stubborn…a delighful combination. She is loyal to her friends and would do anything for their happiness…you don’t see that kind of loyalty every day.
Plot and Story Line
What was most enjoyable about The Unexpected Duchess was the way that Derek and Lucy developed a relationship. We see how these two go at it and quite wildly too. Boy do they have a way with words…its almost like they each have the encyclopedia memorized and being able to recall in instantly. The Unexpected Duchess is a story that is engaging, witty and completely pulls you in. I had no problem loving this one, and as this is my first Valerie Bowman book…I can tell you it won’t be my last. I am fully excited to try out Cassandra’s story next. What this story did for me was make a regency romance come alive for me in the same way that Lisa Kleypas and Sabrina Jeffries can do for me. From the first page or two I was hooked especially on the bantering between Lucy and Derek. But there was something more to this story than just a romance that intrigued me and kept me involved…it was the friendship. It is very difficult to make and keep friends like these three have managed to done. Each of them are a bit different, you have the outspoken one, the gentle and sweet and the bookworm. Allt three of them I felt a kinship to, and boy could I have a ton of fun with these outstanding ladies. They love and support each other in their endeavors, no matter what it is…that is true friendship. We also have a sub plot occurring in the story, of three men that are under Derek’s command, and we see how that develops and we still don’t get the full mystery revealed in this story, so I hope we get some more clues on that in the next book. So if your new to historical romance, or to this author….try her out…I guarantee you will have one adventure of wits and battles with words.
Oh how I adore this cover…its simply gorgeous. The male is simple one nice piece of maleness…those toned shoulders and arms….yummy. And her dress…love the color, and the beautiful bow….love the way it flows down the back of her dress. What do you think of this cover?
In The Unexpected Duchess we see a story that is a delightful mix of sexual tension, witty dialogue, heartwarming characters, and a romance to send you into a swoon….positively DELIGHTFUL!!