Monday, October 27, 2014

REVIEW: "The Accidental Countess" by Valerie Bowman


The Accidental Countess (Playful Brides, #2)

The Accidental Countess by Valerie Bowman
For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Regency England

St. Martin's Press -- Published on October 28, 2014
Ebook, 304 pages
Read in October 2014
Received from Netgalley

THEMES
Comedy of Manners, Beta Hero, Friendships

SUMMARY
CAN A SCANDALOUS CHARADE...

For seven long years, Lady Cassandra Monroe has waited for the man of her dreams to return from the war. Unfortunately, he happens to be engaged to her flighty cousin. What Cass wouldn’t give to take her cousin’s place! When he mistakes Cass for Patience Bunbury, a fictitious friend her cousin has invented to escape social obligations…even with her future husband, Cass thinks this is her chance.

LEAD TO TRUE AND LASTING LOVE?

After defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, Captain Julian Swift is not quite ready to settle down and enter into his unwanted arranged marriage—especially when the real object of his affection turns out to be a beguiling beauty he meets at a party. Patience Bunbury is witty, independent, passionate…and, unbeknownst to him, the cousin of his current fiancĂ©e. When the truth about Cass comes out—and Julian discovers that their courtship is anything but accidental—will he surrender his heart to a woman who really is too good to be true?



FIRST LINE
"How can one attend the country house party of a person who does not exist?"

MY THOUGHTS
The Accidental Countess features a heroine with a long-standing crush, a soldier returning to England, and plenty of misunderstandings.  I am a huge fan of "comedy of manners" type stories and this book is a really entertaining one.  I continue to be impressed with Valerie Bowman's hilarious writing style and obvious love for her characters.

Lady Cassandra has been in love with Julian Swift ever since she was a teenager though she knows her crush will only bring heartbreak.  You see, he has been engaged to her cousin, Penelope, for years and Cassandra is sure that his heart will never be hers.  Julian finally returns to England and he is determined to get his engagement straightened out, but the problem is that he can't get alone with Penelope to talk about things.  A series of unrealistic, but hilarious situations commence and Cassandra ends up masquerading as the fictional Patience Bunbury at a house party where she and Julian begin a seductive dance around one another.

I really liked both Cassandra and Julian.  While I was not the biggest fan of Cassandra's deception, I understood her desire to be more than the quiet, proper young lady she is known as in society.  I have read the previous book in the series, The Unexpected Duchess, and know how easy it is to get sucked into Lucy Hunt's schemes.  Julian was very easy to fall in love with.  He is a sweet guy who has never felt like he truly matters to anyone.  His father viewed him only as the spare and pretty much told him that his lot in life was to die at war with honor.  I appreciated his desperation to straighten things out with Penelope before pursuing Patience (Cassandra).

As Patience, Cassandra is finally able to show her true self to Julian and their scenes together were just wonderful.  Their chemistry is written very well and goes beyond basic lust.  I did find myself wishing that they would just talk to each other about their feelings since that would avoid a lot of confusion, but that was part of the Shakespearean plot so it didn't disrupt my overall enjoyment of the book.

I also loved that we got to see more of Cassandra's friend Lucy and Jane.  Female friendships are always some of my favorite things to read in historical romance and their's is a great one.  They support each other's decisions and are willing to do anything to make their friends happy.  I can't wait to see Jane get her story next especially since it will (more than likely) involve her constant rivalry with Lord Garrett.

I received a free copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

4 STARS


STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.


FAVORITE QUOTE
"I cannot allow you to go to your grave, dearest one, without knowing how madly, passionately, desperately I love you.  I've refused all offers for some mad reason, thinking that I couldn't marry another man knowing he'll never fully have my heart, as it has always and will always belong solely to you.  I can only hope this letter will reach you before you leave this earth, my love.  And that after reading it, you'll know how much you have been truly loved."

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. The Unexpected Duchess
2. The Accidental Countess
3. The Unlikely Lady (Coming 2015)

SIMILAR BOOKS/SERIES
The Duchess War by Courtney Milan
Duchess By Night by Eloisa James
How To Marry A Marquis by Julia Quinn

1 comment:

  1. I am always a sucker for books where the heroine has been pining for the hero. It makes me think of Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, which is ALWAYS okay with me. But I'm a little hesitant, because I might get annoyed with Cassandra while she's pretending to be Patience. I might give it a try, though, because Julian seems like a very attractive hero.

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