Review: The Unexpected Duchess

Review: The Unexpected DuchessThe Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides, #1) by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 29th 2014
Genres: Historical
Pages: 336

Light and Fluffy Comedy of Errors Historical Romance

“A twig in her eye and a mouthful of foliage were the unfortunate by-products of having her head lodged in a hedgerow.”

FINAL DECISION: A light romance with numerous misunderstandings and confusions, THE UNEXPECTED DUCHESS does it genre well. Readers looking for realism and serious story should look elsewhere, but those enjoying a sweet, fun romance with comedy and humor will enjoy this book.

THE STORY: Lady Lucy Upton is known to have a “rapier for a tongue”. She is determined to help her shy best friend Cassandra rebuff the courtship of Derek Hunt, Duke of Claringdon. Soon Lucy and Derek are deeply engaged in battling one another which ends up overshadowing the Duke’s courtship even as he is determined to marry Cassandra since he made a promise to do so. But what is Lucy to do when she realizes that she is falling for the Duke even as her best friend is now considering allowing the Duke to court her after all?

OPINION: A mapcap romance with humor and light drama, this book gives the readers a smile. There are many misunderstandings, mix-ups and mismatched couples along the way to the happy ending. The book itself refers to Much Ado About Nothing and like many of Shakespeare’s comedies there are farcical elements. There are also allusions to Cyrano in reverse where Lucy tells Cass what to say to discourage the Duke while she hides in a bush.

These light historicals are not my favorites, but I really enjoyed the characters who — despite their sometimes illogical behavior — are likeable and funny. By the end of the book, I really wanted to see how the romances between the other two couples in the book will turn out in future books in the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book sets up the couples for the next couple of books in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE UNEXPECTED DUCHESS is the first book in the Playful Brides series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.



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