Review: The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides #1) by Valerie Bowman
The Unexpected Duchess by Valerie Bowman Publication date: April 29, 2014 Publisher: St. Martin's Paperback Amazon| B&N |Goodreads
~~Reviewed by Debbie~~
Lucy was just trying to help her friend, Cassandra (Cass)... Out of marriage to a duke that is! Cass is in love with Julian, but Julian is to marry Penelope - that is, if he survives his injuries from the war. As a dying request, Derek Hunt, the Duke of Claringdon, promised Julian he would marry and take care of Cass. But
Cass only wants Julian.
Determined to help Cass get out of marriage to the Duke, Lucy agrees to help her. Lucy is the daughter of an earl and a very beautiful woman, so Derek wonders why she is not married. He soon learn why, as she keeps interfering in his courtship of Cass. Derek had never met a more sharp tongued woman; a woman
who is strong-willed, opinionated, vocal, and quick to cut a man down with her words.
As Derek pursues his wooing of Cass, Lady Lucy is always right there to discourage him. At each ball, a ride in the park, or an afternoon outing, Lucy is there to discourage Derek. Cass insists that she want Lucy’s help, but does she really? Even as Lucy repeatedly tells Derek to stop courting Cass, he is
nonetheless determined to continue. So why is it that despite his constant bickering with Lucy concerning what’s best for Cass, his thoughts turn to doing something else with Lucy?
Aside from the wooing of Cass, Derek is still trying to find information about his lost friends and
brothers from the war. He was sent back, but his friends and brothers were captured and never heard since, hence the other focus of the story. But of course, the main questions remain:
Will Cass finally give in and marry Derek? And what of her love for another?
I enjoyed The Unexpected Duchess. The main characters of Lucy and Derek are a strong thread, and the addition of the secondary characters/events, keep the readers' interest until the end. The loyalty of of Lucy to her friend Cass; Derek, as the determined suitor, trying to keep a promise to a dying friend, make them both interesting and honorable characters. Valerie Bowman writes in such a way that had me laughing out loud with the witty, humorous confrontations between Derek and Lucy. The growing feelings between the two can be strongly felt at each encounter. The secondary characters also add some additional fun to the story - Garrett, a cousin to Lucy, and Jane, another close friend to Cass and Lucy, as well as the friends of Derek that are helping to locate his captured brothers. The way the
bantering is written between bookish Jane and cousin Garrett is very fun and humorous and would make for another good story. In fact, they all would make good stories in this series, so it is hard to tell where Valerie is going to go with her The Playful Bride series. I will be following this series closely, to be sure. This book goes highly recommended. :)
Thanks go to St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of a review.