All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Untamed Earl by Valerie Bowman

on May 2, 2016

Untamed EarlThe Untamed Earl (Playful Brides #5)
Valerie Bowman
St Martin’s Paperbacks
2016, 304p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

AN INDECENT PROPOSAL

Lady Alexandra Hobbs, the daughter of the Duke of Huntley, has intended to marry Lord Owen Monroe since she first glimpsed him from the window of her bedchamber, back when she was just a girl. But the duke has already chosen Alex’s infamously spoiled elder sister, Lavinia, for Owen. And now there’s no turning back.

Owen has spent most of his bachelor years drinking, gambling, and skirt-chasing. He won’t see another pound from his parents, however, until he’s engaged to Lavinia. Desperate, he accepts an offer from her innocent and spirited–and absolutely beautiful–sister Alex: She will
turn him into a perfectly tamed suitor, and show him how to woo the shrew. But when Alex’s true motives come to light, will their bargain lead to recriminations–or to a romance that defies everyone’s expectations?

I requested this book before realising it was fifth in a series – something I seem to do a lot! Luckily I had no trouble sourcing the first four books on iBooks. To me, this is a situation when ebooks just come into their own perfectly. There’s no need to go traipsing around to various bookstores or libraries trying to track down previous installments in a series only to discover that you can find 2 and 4 but no one has 1 and 3 or something similar. Instead you can just download them 1 after the over and get to reading, to catch you up to where you should be for the release of the most recently book. And in this series, that’s book #5, The Untamed Earl.

The titular Earl is Lord Owen Monroe (actually heir to the earldom) the brother of Cassandra Monroe from book 2 so he’s someone the reader has seen in a few previous books. Lord Owen is a bit of a wastrel, gadding about drinking, gambling and chasing women. His father has had enough of Lord Owen’s footloose and fancy-free ways and threatens him with what every heir fears the most – the suspending of the family coffers until he toes the line. Owen won’t get another cent until he secures the engagement of Lady Lavinia, a famously pretty but savagely tongued daughter of a Duke.

Lady Lavinia’s younger sister Lady Alexandra has admired Lord Owen from afar for years and now that she’s out she wants to finally have her shot. When she hears that her father has picked the man she wants for herself for her spoiled sister, Lady Alexandra seeks to sabotage it by pretending to actually assist Owen in his endeavour. This puts the two of them into close proximity, which is exactly what Lady Alexandra wants. She knows that he and her sister are not at all suited and that’s not a fate she’d wish on her worst enemy, let alone the man she truly wants for her own.

Alexandra is such a fun character that I think she carries most of this book. She’s the younger, more down to earth sister and she’s endured a lot of suffering and being overlooked because of the way her sister has been cossetted and spoiled, which has ended up in her having a very unlikable character. Alexandra is the polar opposite and I found her to have a wicked sense of humour as well as a strong independent streak which leads her to go after Owen herself. She knows that she’ll probably get found out that she’s not exactly ‘helping’ him court Lavinia but by then she hopes that she’s spent enough time with Owen that he recognises that there might just be other options for him.

The two of them do have a pretty enjoyable chemistry and I liked their secret meetings (ostensibly so Alexandra can help Owen, and in return he agrees to pay her some token attention to make her look attractive to other young eligible bachelors). Importantly, I could see Alexandra fitting in perfectly with the little group that has slowly grown in the previous books – the Duchess of Claringdon, her friend (and Owen’s sister) Cassandra, the Countess of Swifdon and several others and I do like how the friendships and the group has evolved in the books to include more and more people, most of which are not typical ton types. Probably Owen and Alexandra are the closest to being standard ton families where a marriage between their offspring wouldn’t raise much of an eyebrow.

I went back and forth on Owen – when he’s with Alexandra, he’s quite fun. Roguish but not in a ruining virgins kind of way. But in his scenes with his father, I kind of just wanted to slap him and tell him to man up. His family are pains, I remember from Cassandra’s book but honestly he’s nearly 30 or something and his daddy has to threaten him with cutting off his allowance in order to get him to finally agree to get married and get about furthering the line to inherit the earldom. He’s positively whiny when he gets his money cut off, despite the fact that he’s had ample warning that it’s time to stop spending and wasting money and actually start taking on a little bit of responsibility. A lot of the time the heroes have inherited their title and are at least busy in some way managing their estates or whatever whereas Owen really does nothing at all except spend money and drink at his club. I feel as though Alexandra will definitely make Owen mature the way that he needs to but also the two of them will continue to have fun.

Another fun installment in this series….and it set up the next one perfectly.

8/10

Book #69 of 2016

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