Welcome to red wine and books! Where an avid lover of all genres shares with you her opinion on some of the best (and not so great) stories she reads.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Review: The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides, #1) by Valerie Bowman


Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (April 29th, 2014)

From Goodreads.com:  Is there any greater surprise than falling deeply, madly in love? 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…

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My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

I will be honest (and probably in the minority) when I say that Lucy did have a tendency to annoy me. While I appreciated her sharp tongue, and clever mind, the fact that she often tried to dissuade Derek at every turn, and seemed to create problems in her own mind (and force people to adhere to the outcomes she felt were best), took away from her being an otherwise engaging and strong female character. 


Cassandra felt like more of a "background" character. For the most part, she came across as less a "demure young lady", and more a "spineless ninny". She rarely spoke up for herself, often allowing others to do so for her, and even when she could have spoken up sooner and potentially saved Lucy (and herself) problems, she chose to remain silent instead. 


Derek was hands down my favorite character. At first I admired him for his promise to his dying friend, and his unwillingness to back down from his pursuit of Cassandra in order to fulfill that promise. Later on, I admired his tenacity in following his own heart, and choosing the path that would bring him happiness irregardless of what others may think of his choices.


Parts of this novel seemed to drag on, including a lot of unnecessary drama for the sake of having it. For the most part however, this was a witty and fun read that I think would be enjoyed by fans of the genre. 


I do hope that future novels explore these characters more, I would love to see what happens in the future to Cassandra, Julian, Jane and Garrett. Do any of them find their happily-ever-after? I would definitely read more from this author!







DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way, all opinions contained in this review are 100% my own.

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