Reviews: The Unexpected Duchess by Valerie Bowman

Reviews: The Unexpected Duchess by Valerie BowmanThe Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides, #1) by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 29th 2014
Genres: Historical, Historical Romance, Regency, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 368

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…


I never could resist a retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac, let alone a historical version, and bickering H/h (in the good way not the super annoying I just to smack you both in the head way) are my jam. It’s clashing attraction as soon as Derek and Lucy meet. And it’s all the drama when Derek is determined to marry Cass (Lucy’s best friend) because he promised his dying friend (who Cass happens to have the hugest crush on). Cass doesn’t want to marry Derek and Lucy’s going to make sure of that by which every means.

I totally cracked up when there’s a scene where Lucy’s hiding in the bush pretending to be Cass.

PLUS DRUNK HEROOOOOOOOO! They’re my favourite (top spot on the list currently held by Drunk Max of What a Duke Desires!). Lord Derek Hunt, you’ve made it on the list, congratulations.

“Come down here,” he called again. “I want to see you in your night rail. Indecency doesn’t bother me.”

Had he just waggled his eyebrows at her? Oh heavens, he really was drunk as a wheelbarrow.”


It was a bit fantastic. He was quite a pleasant drunk, she thought with some irony.

And who doesn’t love a sharp tongued heroine? (That is the very definition of Lucy).

[T]he lady had a rapier for a tongue. She jabbed with nouns, riposted with verbs. And she delivered adjectives with a particular flourish. By all accounts, she was a master. One who could rip an overzealous beau to shreds in mere seconds.

I really liked the lovely best friendship between Lucy, Cass and Jane (I’ll be happy when I can read all their HEA!).

Overall, The Unexpected Duchess is a bit over-the-top in way of romance and drama (and the book a teeny-tiny tedious since it’s kinda long), but at the same time it was pretty hilarious. If you’re up for silliness, cute bickering romance, a little drama and a lot-a crazy shenanigans, this is the HR novel for you!

PS. Review of THE ACCIDENTAL COUNTESS (book 2 – about Cass!) HERE if you’re interested to find out more about the series!


Derek sucked in his breath through clenched teeth and winced. “I didn’t intend to get into a fight with a tree.”

She pressed her lips together. “Oh, of course. I’m certain no one does. Jumped out at you did it? Frightened you?”


“You certainly don’t look one hundred.” Now, why had she gone and said that? She blushed and looked away. Oh perfect. Now she was a blusher. He’d turned her into a blusher.

He grinned at that. “Why, thank you, Miss Upton.”


Author: Cyn

noun. a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.

0 Replies to “Reviews: The Unexpected Duchess by Valerie Bowman”

  1. Oh, I love some good bickering. I recently read a HR after having abandoned them for years, and now I’m craving more.

    1. This book was pretty funny! I love a good bickering couple too 😉
      Yay, happy that you’re getting back into the HR! 😀 haha.

  2. Oh this sounds like a good one, I love fun bickering and drunk heroes they are so 🙂 Going on the list!

    Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my!

    1. It’s hard to resist drunk heroes 😉 Just love them, haha. Hope you enjoy it!

  3. As drunk as a wheelbarrow? LOL WHAT?! That’s brilliant

    1. Yes, ma’am! He’s a pretty hilarious drunk, ha.

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