All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Mini Reviews: Playful Brides 1&2 by Valerie Bowman

on April 13, 2016

Unexpected DuchessThe Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides #1)
Valerie Bowman
St Martin’s Paperbacks
2014, 384p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {courtesy of the publisher/}:

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…

Sometimes, ok, quite often, I request or receive books for review that are part of a series. They might be bk 3 or 5 or whatever and nearly all of the time I’ll want to read a series in order, especially if the same characters continue to recur throughout. So when I accidentally requested the 5th book in this series not realising that it was a 5th book, I found the rest of them on iBooks and they looked pretty fun so I decided to read them all.

The first book introduces the reader to Lady Lucy Upton, a very sharp-tongued daughter of an Earl. Lady Lucy is beautiful but most men have felt the lash of her cutting remarks and have retreated. She has two very close friends – the demure and stunningly beautiful Lady Cassandra (also daughter of an Earl) and Miss Jane a bookish wallflower. When the ton’s newest Duke attempts to court Lady Cassandra, whose heart belongs solely to another, Lady Lucy comes up with numerous plots to get him to go away….only the thing is he might be perfect for Lucy.

At first I had a few issues with the Duke’s pressed/forced (?) attempt at courting Lady Cassandra, who was willing to try all different sorts of schemes with Lucy in order to get him to stop. However when he explained the reason for it, I began to understand, especially placed within the context of their time and situation. He honestly did think he was doing the right thing, even though the two of them were totally unsuited. They were both nice so could’ve probably had a perfectly acceptable life – if Cassandra wasn’t so in love with someone else and the Duke wasn’t fast falling for Lucy. The two of them were perfect together and it was fun watching them realise it and overcome the obstacles that had been put in place for them to get their happy ever after. It set up several of the future books very nicely as well.


Book #63 of 2016

Accidental CountessThe Accidental Countess (Playful Brides #2)
Valerie Bowman
St Martin’s Paperbacks
2014, 320p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:


For seven long years, Lady Cassandra Monroe has waited for the man of her dreams to return from the war. Unfortunately, he happens to be engaged to her flighty cousin. What Cass wouldn’t give to take her cousin’s place! When he mistakes Cass for Patience Bunbury, a fictitious friend her cousin has invented to escape social obligations…even with her future husband, Cass thinks this is her chance.


After defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, Captain Julian Swift is not quite ready to settle down and enter into his unwanted arranged marriage—especially when the real object of his affection turns out to be a beguiling beauty he meets at a party. Patience Bunbury is witty, independent, passionate…and, unbeknownst to him, the cousin of his current fiancée. When the truth about Cass comes out—and Julian discovers that their courtship is anything but accidental—will he surrender his heart to a woman who really is too good to be true?

Readers got to know Cass quite well in the previous book, in particular the fact that she was in love to someone she couldn’t have, Captain Julian Swift who not only nearly died fighting but was engaged to her cousin. When Julian returns against all odds, Lucy Hunt Duchess of Clarington comes up with a scheme to give Julian time to get to know Cassandra in person, rather than just through the letters they’ve exchanged while he was away at war. She’s sure that given the right setting, Julian will return Cassandra’s feelings.

Okay this one was a little crazy. I liked it but I think it relied too much on the reader having to let a lot of things go: such as the fact that Julian wouldn’t recognise Cassandra, such as the fact that no one would slip up referring to them as different names and about seven million things revolving around the party Lucy organises to be held at her parent’s country house. There are so many close calls and so many people randomly turning up uninvited as well as some tenuous situations that rely on people keeping their mouths closed who in that kind of social situation, probably just wouldn’t. Lucy’s schemes can quite often be outrageous and the fact that she’s now a Duchess hasn’t stopped her wild ways but so much just seemed a bit crazy, especially as really, there was no need for all this subterfuge! Despite the absurdity of the situation, Cass and Julian did have some really good moments but I kept getting distracted by the weird plot that was going on. What I really like about these books is the friendship the women have – Lucy, Cass and Jane. They’re unusual for their time and all quite different but the trio does work very well.

This one was okay – not as good as the previous and the third and fourth really intrigue me so I’m hoping this is a rare weaker installment.


Book #64 of 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: