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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday Reviews: The Accidental Countess by Valerie Bowman

Throwback Thursday Reviews is dedicated to those books that have been around for years but you’ve only recently discovered. They’re the “New but Old” reads that are just too good NOT to talk about! Why not share them anyway? They may end up being a “New Read” for someone else too! After all, there’s no such thing as “Too Many Books!”

This Week’s Throwback Thursday Book is:The Accidental Countess by Valerie Bowman

Format: Paperback (Library Loan)
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: October 28, 2014

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.

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 fiancée. 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?

Lady Cassandra Monroe has been in love with Captain Julian Swift for years. Unfortunately he's engaged to her cousin who couldn't care less about him. When Julian returns from war, he mistakes Cassandra for Patience Bunbury, a figment of Cass' cousin's imagination. Cassandra takes the opportunity to get closer to Julian without any risk. In the meantime Julian is fast falling for "Patience" and when the charade is discovered, he's torn between being angry and giving his feelings for Cassandra a chance to become something more.

Cassandra couldn’t be more different from Lucy if she tried and that gave The Accidental Countess a totally different vibe! She’s composed, quiet, thoughtful, kind, and loyal. All good qualities except she didn’t have much of a backbone when the book started. Cassandra is railroaded into things by almost everyone, including Lucy and it landed her in trouble most of the time. It wasn’t that Cassandra didn’t have her own mind; it was just that she was essentially stripped of any act of rebellion by her upbringing. It was a gradual build up for Cassandra before she finally had her moment of “No more.” In the meantime she had her moments where I loved her and then I was annoyed by her, but it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of her or this story. She was always in love with Julian and by the time this book takes place, she’s almost convinced herself that she could let him marry someone else, almost.

Julian was just too irresistible to me. A second son returning home from the war and a near death experience and all this guy wants to do is move past his experience in the best way he can. I loved that Julian was more than willing to follow his heart from the beginning and break off his engagement in order to find out if he and Cassandra could be more than pen pals. I love an honorable man but shackling yourself to someone you don’t love when there’s a possibility to marry for love is just ridiculous. Thankfully Julian wasn’t that big of a fool. What really struck me about Julian was how beaten down he was by his experiences. He practically begged for someone to care about him and that really drew me in. I couldn’t see him with someone who constantly drew attention or who argued with him about everything. *I’m looking at you Lucy* Julian needed someone calm, level headed and caring.

As a couple Julian and Cassandra took awhile to find their footing, mostly because Julian thought Cassandra was someone else and Cassandra lacked the courage to tell Julian the truth about her identity and later about her feelings. There were a lot of misunderstandings that stood in the way of these two and their relationship but it gave way to a lot of tension, angst, and yearning on both parts. The Accidental Countess was more of an emotional read than a physical one, not that there weren’t a handful of really hot scenes between Julian and Cassandra but it felt like it was more important that their emotions were fully engaged and it worked for this particular couple. Especially since Cassandra was the type that needed reassurance before she jumped into anything.

Of course, no Playful Brides story is complete without Lucy Hunt, the new Duchess of Claringdon. It’s her scheming and bulldozing ways that land Cassandra in trouble yet her madness is endearing in a way. She loves her friends and is loyal to a fault. There’s also Jane and Garrett who continue their bickering and sniping every time they see each other. Another casualty of Lucy’s scheming is Cassandra’s brother Owen who is a good sport through it all.

Final Verdict: The first book was fun and feisty but The Accidental Countess was more emotional and romantic. Julian and Cassandra are probably one of the best couples in the series because of their emotional connection that took place way before anything physical. I just loved this couple to pieces!

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