All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman

on October 13, 2016

legendary-lordThe Legendary Lord (Playful Brides #6)
Valerie Bowman
St Martin’s Paperbacks
2016, 320p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

THE MAKING OF A LEGEND…

When Christian Bancroft, Viscount Berkeley, flees the stuffy ballrooms of London for his Scottish hunting lodge, the last thing he expects to find ensconced before his fire is an incredibly beautiful woman. But the plight of lovely young Sarah Highgate, who has run away from an unwanted betrothal, inspires an eminently practical exchange. He’ll safeguard her reputation with the ton while she advises him how to best attract a proper bride…

As the undisputed belle of the season, Sarah has enchanted plenty of suitors. Still, she isn’t interested in marriage, especially not to the pompous bore her father has chosen for her. But her hasty escape seems reckless now that she’s estranged from her family and has no one to count on besides Christian. Turning the luckless lord into such a catch has another unplanned consequence for Sarah: Has he run away with her heart?

I’ve read all of this series now and although I’ve enjoyed most of them, there have been a couple that I struggled with and unfortunately this was one of them. It just seemed like there were far too many things happening here where it would have been impossible to smooth the way in society for the characters. And each time the Duchess of Claringdon comes up with another hairball scheme it’s all kind of brushed aside in a “haha, I’m a Duchess, I do what I like and people love me because I’m precocious.” Even though what she’s come up with is usually absolutely ridiculous.

At first Lady Sarah is presented as a bit of a rebel – she’s absconded with a chaperone to escape (or at least buy some time) before she’s forced to marry an undesirable man. She’s been raised strictly to always do what she is told, to not really think for herself. All important decisions will be made for her, first by her father and then presumably then by her husband. She’ll wear pretty dresses and as the daughter of an Earl, be expected to marry well, run a household and produce the standard heir and spare. Lady Sarah flees to Scotland where she ends up staying for a few days in a type of cabin, which is on Christian’s Scottish property. Christian arrives whilst she’s staying there and due to unforseen circumstances (the Scottish weather and her chaperone being injured) they spend several days alone together.

Christian is well known from previous books in this series, having been a contender for the aforementioned Duchess of Claringdon’s hand before she married the Duke all the way back in book 1. It seems that Christian has been forever on the fringe, interested in a few ladies but ultimately overlooked for someone else they fall in love with. He’s ready to settle down and get married but is just unable to land a bride – which is kind of hard to believe given that Christian is supposed to be good looking, wealthy and titled. You’d think that the mothers of the young ladies would have him firmly in their sights but perhaps being a viscount just isn’t enough to be eligible, what with the plethora of Dukes, Marquess’ and Earls that populate historical romance.

After her disappearance Christian promises that his powerful women friends will help her smooth over her reputation and in return, she will make him a ‘legend’ that the debutantes will all be desperate to marry. My biggest problem was that Sarah went to the trouble of sneaking away, escaping this betrothal with seemingly little plan for what would come after. She just seems resigned to go back to London and end up marrying her father’s choice anyway so it made her flight seem a little pointless. It was also surprising that they didn’t know each other – although Sarah is aware of a Viscount Berkely, she’s unaware that Christian himself is the Viscount.

I’ve liked Christian in previous books and he was okay in this one too. I think Sarah was the biggest problem I had – her character just seemed so inconsistent. She keeps remembering her upbringing, the ‘do what you’re told Sarah’ with loathing and regret and yet she had a chance to change it but ultimately she would’ve gone back and married her betrothed and settled for that unhappy, bland life with barely a flicker, after her time in Scotland. She seems so different, like she wants to break the mold and be an entirely different person but then she just keeps doing the boring, staid things that are expected of her, intending to sacrifice her own happiness in the process. I found the ending unexpected – it went in a different direction to what I had assumed but I also found it a little bit cringeworthy too. I think it was supposed to be romantic and dramatic but it just came across as a bit…..weird.

I’m not sure if this is the last installment of this series but I think it will be for me. This was disappointing and Christian’s story was one I had looked forward to. Normally I love glimpses of previous characters when I’m reading a series but I’ve definitely had enough of the Duchess of Claringdon and her schemes. It’s run its course.

5/10

Book #178 of 2016

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