The Unlikely Lady by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #3
Released May 5, 2015
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Reviewed by Sheena
Favorite Quote: “I’m glad to hear it because it seems the two of you are accusing me of something. Perhaps something duplicitous involving teacakes?”
Miss Jane Lowndes is a confirmed bluestocking. She’s convinced that if she can wait out her parents’ demand that she marry, someday she can be a confirmed spinster and hold intellectual salons, her fondest dream. No man wants a bluestocking for a wife, after all. And that’s exactly the way Jane likes it. In fact, she’s invented a fictitious chaperone to help her achieve that purpose.
Lord Garrett Upton is a devil-may-care confirmed bachelor. He’s lived through the war, and now that he’s back in London, he intends to enjoy life to the fullest. Marriage is certainly not a part of that plan. He’s known Miss Lowndes for years, and the two of them have long engaged in a war of words. Jane’s latest scheme to pretend she has a fake chaperone is none of his business . . . until her desire to involve herself in a scandal becomes all too personal.
When Garrett and Jane mistakenly kiss at a wedding party masquerade, their well-documented dislike for each other is turned on its ear. And when a devious widow, who will stop at nothing to have Garrett, plots to keep them apart, will their desire for each other overcome their dreams of remaining unattached?
Fun. Find every synonym for fun and insert here.
The Playful Brides historical romance series by Valerie Bowman is a pleasure of mine and not an ounce of my pleasure is so much as tinged with guilt. The merriment! The mischievous heroines and clever, cheeky dialogue! The distinguished gentleman dressed in a rake’s clothing. Ohh I love it all! I reviewed the first book in the series, The Unexpected Duchess, last year ,and it totally made my best of 2014 reading list. The second book in the series,The Accidental Countess, was ambitious, but lacked some of the pizzazz I came to expect- though make no mistake, it was also a solid read. Well folks, Bowman is back with Playful Brides# 3! It has all of the charm and promise off book one, encompasses the warmth and easy reading of book two and in this installment, the gloves are off, and the comedy is kicked way up. This book is laugh out loud funny. I was giddy reading it- and it takes a lot for me to bliss out. The Unlikely Lady blissed me out.
Initiate fangirl thrusters!!!
Jane Lowndes is a fantastic heroine. She is self proclaimed wallflower, a witty maiden who wants nothing more than a good book in one hand and a yummy plate of teacakes in the other. Jane aspires to be a chosen spinster a blue-stocking woman who shall never marry for all of her drive and passions run purely on the intellectual spectrum. Jane is also blind as a bat without her spectacles- a handicap that sparks the quirkiest trouble of time! Tears. I laughed real tears at Jane’s vision impaired antics. Quite resolute upon her spinster status, she goes through great (hilarious) lengths to thwart her overbearing mother’s attempts at matchmaking only to be sabotaged by the most unexpected chink in her armor. Lord Garret Upton.
“It depends,” she breathed….on what you intend to do with me.”
His mouth met hers again in a fierce tangle. Then he pulled away and his gruff voice sounded in her ear. “I intend to make you come.”
Jane closed her eyes. “You…you do?”
“Yes. Do you know what that means?”
All she could do was nod. “I’ve…I’m very well read.”
“Let me assure you,” he said, as his fingers made quick work of the buttons on the back of her gown. ‘This is one thing that’s much better to experience than to read about.”
Mr. Upton is cousin to Jane’s dearest friend and she simply can not extricate him from her thoughts. No worries Jane, I too had many…thoughts of Mr. Upton. Despite the unanticipated, underlying attraction, they are very much adversaries trading stinging barbs far more often than friendly greetings. They both have preconceived notions regarding one another, and how they come around to finding fair and equal footing is as romantic as when they share their first kiss. I am a sucker for undertones and thematic life lessons and the big one in this novel is the journey to really open your eyes to see and appreciate when true love is right in your path. *sigh* The characters are all full of agenda’s and everyone has an ulterior motive. Jane’s best friends conspire to nudge (more like double-handed, full palm shove) Upton and Jane together after their chemistry can no longer be denied. I adored watching their little scheme unfold. Adding to the drama is Isabella Langford, a sultry, conniving widow with whom Upton shares a most complicated past. While she dripped with venom and vitriol, Mrs. Langford absolutely brought out the best in Jane! Historical romances usually feature a heroine and hero, danger looming of some sort but in this instance, the danger was in the form of a formidable threat to our girl’s HEA!
Mrs. Langford’s eyes grew dark and she looked down, allowing her eyelashes to splay against he cheeks in a display even Jane had to admit was fetching. “Yes. Of course. It’s for the best that Mr. Upton be the one to take me home in my disheveled state.”
What the devil did that mean?
Cass and Lucy exchanged shocked glances.
Mrs. Langford stepped closer to Lucy and Cass…Because Mr. Upton and I are close. Quite close indeed.”
The book nearly toppled from Jane’s hands.
Ladies…you don’t suppose all this time we’ve been in the presence of Garrett’s mistress?”
Oh hell no! Those are fighting words! Take off those spectacles and kick her ass Jane! The battle of wits, Jane won before Isabella Langford opens her mouth to speak. However, in the battle of woman wiles, Jane is but an innocent maiden, unaccustomed to scandalizing herself with sensual innuendo. The campaign for the wickedly handsome and wealthy Mr, Upton is lively to say the least. Both Langford and Jane have aces up their sleeves and neither is willing to give an inch when it comes to getting what she wants. That is once Jane finally realizes that Lord Garret Upton is her destiny. It all comes together during a wedding celebration, the likes of which will never be forgotten.
The plot is simple (and easy to spoil, I’m walking egg shells here people!) and the reader is in on the intrigue all along, having plenty of clues to hazard a pretty strong guess to the climax. The joy is in watching these two bull headed and stubborn people fall in love. The misunderstandings and the white lies that twist Jane and Garret into knots. They jumped to one hysterically funny and wrong conclusion after the other. I groaned and moaned and loved every second of it. The author is especially talented with her use of imagery and breathing life into the story. I connected to these characters and had to forcefully disengage myself at the end. A full length novel, rich story and impeccable comedic timing, I didn’t want to leave this delightful little world. The resolution was a little fast- I confess some mild head scratching- however, the hurried last bits were immediately forgivable as it wholly fit the frenzy and impulsive decision-making that the characters engaged in throughout the novel.
Thank goodness it appears there may be a Playful Brides #4 on the horizon! Fans of blithely, light and fun historical romance will fall in love with these Playful Brides.