The unexpected duchess

Valerie Bowman

Book - 2014

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FICTION/Bowman Valerie
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Regency fiction
Love stories
New York, NY : St. Martin's Paperbacks 2014.
Item Description
"St. Martin's Paperbacks historical romance"--Spine.
Physical Description
354 pages ; 18 cm
Main Author
Valerie Bowman (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Lucy Upton knows she can talk; the problem is that Derek Hunt, Duke of Claringdon, just won't listen! Lucy's friend, Cassandra Monroe, simply can't find the words to let Derek know she has no interest in him as a potential husband. Because Lucy has no trouble at all in speaking her mind, she offers to provide Cassandra with the clearest possible language for letting Derek know, once and for all, that his offer of matrimony is not welcome. However, no matter how many times Lucy—either channeling her words through Cassandra, or speaking as herself—tells Derek to go away, the infuriating man continues to court Cassandra. Lucy knows that Derek has had more than his share of success on the battlefields of Europe, but this is one battle he simply isn't going to win. Rising historical fiction star Bowman builds on the potential she displayed in her first Regency-set trilogy (the Secret Brides series) with The Unexpected Duchess, which launches her new Playful Brides books. This novel's engaging characters, snappy banter, and judicious infusion of smoldering sensuality will have readers clamoring for the next installment in this smart and sexy series. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Bowman (the Secret Brides series) launches the Playful Brides series of theater-themed Regency romances with a charming take on Cyrano de Bergerac. Lady Lucy Upton and Derek Hunt, the Duke of Claringdon, can't quite conform to polite society's expectations. Lucy's clever tongue and unladylike bluntness has left her on the shelf, and her parents all but disowned her. Derek, a lowly soldier's son, received a dukedom for his military actions against Napoleon. Derek promises his gravely wounded friend Julian that he will take care of Julian's beloved, Lady Cassandra Monroe—which Derek takes to mean that he should marry her. When Lucy is caught feeding dialogue to the more demure Cassandra, Lucy and Derek embark on entertaining verbal skirmishes that lead to heated physical encounters. Some unnecessary repetition of their conflicts and a thoroughly unsurprising twist are only minor detractions. Regency fans can anticipate more racy antics in future installments, which will focus on Lucy's beloved friends. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (May) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

To help her painfully shy friend discourage unwanted suitor Lord Derek Hunt, sharp-tongued Lady Lucy Upton engages in a battle of wits with him and is shocked to find herself falling for her entertaining opponent.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

To help her painfully shy friend discourage an unwanted suitor, sharp-tongued Lady Lucy Upton engages in a battle of wits with Lord Derek Hunt and is shocked to discover that tangling with this tenacious man is the most fun she has had in ages. Original.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Bestselling author Valerie Bowman sets the stage in Regency England for her Playful Brides series, where couples' misadventures on the way to the altar are witty, romantic romps based on some of the world's most beloved plays. The first installment, The Unexpected Duchess, is inspired by Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac.


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 of Claringdon...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.


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 in The Unexpected Duchess, the spoils of this war just may be true love…

Valerie Bowman's Secret Brides novels are:

"Intriguing [and] engaging."—Publishers Weekly

"Too delightful to miss!"—Lisa Kleypas

"Sparkling…witty…engaging." —RT Book Reviews