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May 27, 2014


Is there any greater surprise than falling deeply, madly in love?
Playful Brides
Book One
Valerie Bowman
The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides, #1)
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 29th 2014 
 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN 1250042070
 (ISBN13: 9781250042071)
series: Playful Brides
(from Goodreads)
In This Battle of Wits
Lady Lucy Upton’s tongue may be too sharp to attract suitors but her heart is good, and when her painfully shy friend Cassandra needs help she devises a brilliant scheme to help her discourage an unwanted suitor, the Duke of Claringdon. Lucy will hide behind the hedgerow and tell Cass just what to say to discourage the duke…but it turns out that he’s made of sterner stuff than either of them anticipated. And Lucy is shocked to discover that tangling with the tenacious man is the most fun she’s had in ages.

Kisses Are the Best Weapon
Lord Derek Hunt made a promise to his dying friend to marry the demure Cassandra, and for a man who wants nothing more than peace and quiet after the horrors of war, she’ll make the perfect bride. If only the impudent Miss Upton will let him court the girl! Doing battle is the last thing on his mind, but bantering with Lucy behind the bushes is too tempting to resist. And the spoils of this war just may be true love…
Ms. Bowman's stories and very fun and interesting.  I found that the heroines in her books are rather strong, smart and won't back down.  That's so much better than a whimpering wilting flower.

The characters are a group of friends, Jane, Lucy and Cassandra.  Cassandra is being wooed by the Duke of Claringdon.  Her friends are trying hard to protect her from the Duke.   He is also the Duke of Decisive, which makes the task so much harder.  Derek Hunt figured why shouldn't he court Lady Cassandra when he came home from war.  She would make the perfect bride for him. One big problem-one little, bitty nag of a  woman, Lady Lucy Upton. She has a good heart  but what a nag.
You can't help but like this story.  Cass's friends all want to fight over what is best for Cass, especially Derek and Lucy.  They all have their points of view.  I thought to myself, the more they fought, the more they liked each other.  They never expected the heated passion between themselves.   Derek is bound and determined to court Cass no matter what it took.  I found myself turning the pages in anticipation of the courtship that might take place between Derek and Lucy and Cass and the Duke of Decisive. Another thing that kept the story moving along so well was the constant fighting about who was right and who was wrong.  It felt like I was at home when I was younger.  My brothers and sister always were at odds with each other over who was right.
I thought the author told a fun, light hearted story of love and friendship.  I felt the detail was down to a "T".  It made the characters and the scenes so much more imaginable and real.  The author puts the reader right in there to help Cass find her way to the Duke, Lucy and Derek's constant squabbling and then there's Jane.  I'll leave her life up to the reader to find out about.  The cover and the synopsis is enough to make you want to get a copy and enjoy.  I hope this writer keeps writing because this story left me wanting more. I feel whenever a story leaves you wanting more, it's a good book.  So therefore, in my opinion this was a good book.

I was given a complimentary copy of THE UNEXPECTED DUCHESS by Valerie Bowman from Night Owl Reviews for my view of the book.  No other compensation took place.

I would give this book 4 STARS.
Valerie Bowman is an award-winning author who writes Regency-set historical romance novels aka Racy Regency Romps!

Valerie writes the Secret Brides series and the Playful Brides series for St. Martin's Press. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a minor in history from Smith College. By day, she is a technical editor at a computer software company. By night, she combines her love.

Valerie Bowman grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got.

Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her rascally rescue dog, Roo. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS.

Valerie loves to hear from readers. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and at her website.
Secrets of a Runaway Bride (Secret Brides, #2)
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Runaway Brides Series
Book Two

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