The Unlikely Lady by Valerie Bowman
St. Martin’s: May 5, 2015 (Historical Romance)*
The Unlikely Lady is Bowman’s latest installment in her Playful Brides historical romance series, and it is my favourite to date! As one of my most anticipated spring reads, I’m happy to say it lived up to my expectations.
Miss Jane Lowndes is a bluestocking and she likes it that way. She would gladly give up her mother’s enthusiasm for the marriage mart and place herself firmly on the shelf. Alas her mother is determined that Jane make an advantageous match. So what’s a girl to do? One fictitious chaperone later, Jane is sure she has finally found a way to foil her mother’s plans. Unfortunately, Lord Garrett Upton discovers that Jane is up to something and is determined to discover just what mischief Jane and her friends are up to – they’re plans never seem to turn out exactly as planned.
From the previous two books in Bowman’s series, readers are well aware that Jane and Garrett are sworn enemies; they simply do not get along, although both get a kick out of arguing with each other. However, a convenient masquerade ball forces both of them to see the other in an entirely new light. Turns out being kissed senseless by the man you despise will do that. And with friends like Cass and Lucy, who devise A Plan, there’s no way that Jane will remain on the shelf. A batter of wits ensues, complicated debts of honour get in the way, and some more sneaky behaviour is employed. The happily-ever-after isn’t immediate, but the journey is highly entertaining in The Unlikely Lady.
The Unlikely Lady was a charming romance and it’s a perfect read for those looking for a lighter romance filled with humour. Garrett and Jane’s war of words is entertaining as were the obstacles in their way. Was this one a little over-the-top in the drama department? Yes, but that’s the best part! I love humourous historical romances (Tessa Dare anyone?) so I loved every minute of this one.
What was also well done in The Unlikely Lady was the development of a relationship between Garrett and Jane. They already have a well-established relationship – one of animosity – and Bowman does a great job of transforming this into a romance. The funny banter is a big part of the romance, but I never felt that it came at the expense of real character development. The humour could have completely overpowered the book; instead it worked with the relationship development, allowing Garrett and Jane to finally get to know one another.
And to top it all off, the ending was also fantastic, a perfect way to set up the next book leaving me looking forward to Daphne’s story!
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
For another humorous, opposites attract romance, you can’t go wrong with Tessa Dare’s A Week to Be Wicked. I love Dare’s outlandish plot and unlikely on-the-road-romance. If you liked the lighthearted and funny tone to The Unlikely Lady, Dare’s historical romance is the perfect follow up.
Another fun enemies-to-loves historical is Julia Quinn’s The Sum of All Kisses. Hugh and Sarah remind me a lot of Garrett and Jane, especially in the bantering department.