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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

ARC Review: The Unlikely Lady by Valerie Bowman

Happy Release day to Valerie Bowman, The Unlikely Lady is out today! Okay aside from the stunning blue cover, this book and new to me author really hit the mark with me! I'm only sad that I missed the previous books and have to add them to my long "To Buy" list.

Format: .epub (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: May 5, 2015


Certain that no man wants a bluestocking for a wife, Miss Jane Lowndes is careful to wield her books and her spectacles as weapons against matrimony. Convincing her ambitious mama that she's content to stay a spinster is easier said than done, however. It's a good thing Jane is not above a bit of manufactured scandal if it will keep her from the altar, and the argumentative, contrary Lord Garrett Upton…


With the war over, Garrett is determined to enjoy his bachelor's life while he can, even when it means attending a house party in celebration of a friend's wedding--and suffering Jane's notorious disdain. But when a masquerade ball leads to a mistaken kiss, he's surprised to learn that Jane's bookish exterior hides a truly passionate soul. When two such headstrong people are determined to remain unattached, can love lead to a happy ending?

Mischief, match making, and meddling abound in The Unlikely Lady, creating a brisk romance laced with humor that I couldn’t get enough of!

On the shelf and certain she won’t be getting married, Jane Lowndes doesn’t bother to hide her intelligence. She regularly uses her sharp wit against unsuspecting men to put them in their place. Lately though, her favorite target seems to be Lord Garrett Upton. There’s just something about that man that irritates Jane to no end. When Jane hatches a plan to create a scandal in order to get her match making mom out of her hair, Jane discovers that the man for her may have been under her nose all along.

Lord Upton just wants to enjoy his bachelorhood in peace but he cares about his friends enough to attend a house party to celebrate their wedding. He knows he’ll have to suffer Jane’s insults and disapproval but it’s nothing new. But when the two mistakenly kiss at a masquerade ball, they both start to re-evaluate what they thought they knew about one another.

I’ve never read Valerie Bowman before and I’ll admit it was the beautiful cover that snagged my attention, but no matter how gorgeous the cover, if the chemistry isn’t there between not only the two lead characters but myself as a reader, I won’t enjoy the story. In the case of The Unlikely Lady, there was some serious character/reader chemistry going on.

Lucy and Garrett’s bickering in the beginning is just too funny. Normally it’s the hero that throws his intelligence around but in this case, Jane is the one who can’t resist putting Garrett firmly in his place with her well phrased opinions on his lifestyle and what she feels is his lack of motivation to do anything worthwhile. Honestly, the back and forth between the two set the foundation for what would become a very interesting, fun and passionate romance.

I found Lucy so endearing for the slightest reasons! There was just something so special about her that I connected to. For instance, the small fact that she adores teacakes was mentioned quite a bit and I seemed to latch on to that. I thought it was such a cute fact about her and made her seem a bit more real to me. She was such a strong character, reveling in her intelligence in order to hide her growing loneliness as all the young ladies her age were married or getting married. I loved that she wasn’t invincible or immune to heartache.

And Garrett? He just had that special “something” about him that I immediately liked. He certainly was patient with Jane that’s for sure. He allowed her to have her misconceptions about him and even when she was proven wrong, he never rubbed it in her face; he just accepted that she knew the truth about him. Like Jane, he wasn’t immune to heartache and once he began falling for Jane, he didn’t fight it. I expected Garrett to be a less than what he turned out to be. He didn’t act like most of the men of his time, and he seemed like he would be just as comfortable in modern times as in his time.

My favorite part of Garrett and Jane’s romance was how effortless it seemed. Like it was the most natural thing in the world once they saw each other in a new light to fall head over heels in love. I never felt like the author was forcing their romance and while they had their conflicts, they never created ridiculous drama around themselves. But I also found myself getting attached to the simplest things about these two characters like Jane’s favorite color or Garrett’s support of women’s rights (okay so that one was a biggie and had me falling hard for him). I think that’s what made their romance so sweet too. The simple traits that were revealed throughout the story, yet they played such a big role in making this couple so much fun. These two took the time to ask each other important questions and to actually talk to one another, not just rely on the physical attraction that resulted from the kiss. They truly wanted to see if a marriage between them would work.

The Unlikely Lady gave me so much to chew on as a romance fan. There was the lovely bluestocking heroine, the dashing, reluctant hero, the sneaky villain who wants to keep the two apart, and the well meaning mutual friends. Those friends have already had their own books and since I loved this book so much, I just have to get my hands on the previous ones! The Unlikely Lady can be read as a standalone but be prepared to become hooked on the author’s way of telling a story.

Valerie Bowman’s addictive storytelling and lively characters grabbed me from the beginning and demanded my attention all the way through.

Final Verdict: Darn that "To Buy" list!!!!

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