I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Legendary Lord (Playful Brides) by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #6
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on November 1st, 2016
Funny and Yet Deep Emotional Undertones
FINAL DECISION: A man must take the risk to get what he wants and a woman who must upset expectations and disappoint others. THE LEGENDARY LORD starts with two people who are obviously meant for one another but have to fight their own natures to be together. Funny at moments but emotional as the two are seemingly destined to be apart. I loved the characters and the resolution. A winner!
THE STORY: Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley, has many women friends but no woman to call his own. Every woman he might be interested in becomes his dear friend instead. Retreating to his hunting lodge in Scotland, Christian doesn’t know how to proceed. When he arrives, he is held at sword point by a beautiful young woman who turns out to be Sarah Highgate, a woman who has run from her arranged engagement to a marquess. Now Sarah is beginning to have regrets for her flight because she realizes that she will disappoint her parents and be ruined. Christian realizes that he can be a friend and help Sarah avoid scandal and return to London. In exchange, Sarah offers to give Christian advice on how to change his image and become a Legendary Lord — the gentleman of the season — in order to find a wife. The problem becomes that Christian soon realizes that the woman he really wants is the one that he truly can only be a friend to — Sarah.
OPINION: A hero who convinces the heroine to return to an arranged marriage and then regrets it. A heroine who wants to find love but is convinced to settle for the approval of her parents. These two are seriously mixed up. That is what makes them interesting because they are both struggling against convention and expectations.
Christian is a man who has made a habit of saving women and becoming friends with them. Unconcerned about town life, Christian is only serviceable in dress and he is more friendly than flirty. When he meets Sarah, she offers to help remake his image — and she does. As with image, however, Christian remains who he truly is. As Sarah discovers, there are reasons that Christian remains single that has nothing to do with his clothes or image. I loved Christian because he is kind and supportive and he treats women well. I like that he has women friends (characters from the prior books in the series that he has helped) and he treats them as equals. They treat him as a beloved brother who they needle and care for.
Sarah was more difficult for me to immediately like because she starts out in such a great spot — having taken a chance to run from her arranged marriage, but then experiences regret such that she is willing to return to her fiance to satisfy her parents (who I heartily disliked!) The question I had to ask was what other choices did Sarah really have. Sarah’s opinions don’t matter to her parents because society accepted that. To reject her parents’ choice would mean that not only would Sarah lose the love of those she cared about but her physical and financial security as well. It’s not easy being a rebel without support.
The story of Christian and Sarah is ultimately about commitment — about putting yourself out for those you love — about taking huge chances. These two people who mostly play it safe, but there can be nothing safe in love — especially when you have to risk scandal to be together.
Christian and Sarah have different types of risks and challenges in their relationship. As much as Christian says he wants to marry, he is afraid of emotionally risking himself. As much as Sarah says she wants love, she is afraid of the approbation of her parents and society. Both claim to want to love, but neither wants to take the first scary step.
Balancing the mild angst in this book is humor from the heroines of the prior books in the series. As they scheme to push Sarah and Christian in the right direction, I laughed at their meddling ways and urged them on when it appeared that Sarah and Christian might miss their chance to be together.
I find it immensely satisfying to read about characters that I like and who I can identify with. Neither of these characters wants to be in the limelight. I can imagine them leading a happy and quiet life together after the pages of this book end and living happily ever after.
WORTH MENTIONING: Keep an eye out for a romance that is certainly on the horizon with Sarah’s brother.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE LEGENDARY LORD is the sixth book in the Playful Brides series. While there are appearances by continuing characters of the series, this book gives you everything you need to know and thus is a complete standalone as well.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.