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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Blog Tour: The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman (Review)

Guess who finally got his happy ending? Christian Forester, Lord Berkeley!

VALERIE BOWMAN grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she's number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got.

Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her two rascally dogs. When she's not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. She is also the author of the Secret Brides series, starting with Secrets of a Wedding Night, Secrets of a Runaway Bride, and Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage.

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Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: St. Martin
Release Date: November 1, 2016

When Christian Bancroft, Viscount Berkeley, flees the stuffy ballrooms of London for his Scottish hunting lodge, the last thing he expects to find ensconced before his fire is an incredibly beautiful woman. But the plight of lovely young Sarah Highgate, who has run away from an unwanted betrothal, inspires an eminently practical exchange. He’ll safeguard her reputation with the ton while she advises him how to best attract a proper bride…

As the undisputed belle of the season, Sarah has enchanted plenty of suitors. Still, she isn’t interested in marriage, especially not to the pompous bore her father has chosen for her. But her hasty escape seems reckless now that she’s estranged from her family and has no one to count on besides Christian. Turning the luckless lord into such a catch has another unplanned consequence for Sarah: Has he run away with her heart?

I just love Valerie Bowman, seriously she just puts her own unique spin on such classic tales and she’s at it again with The Legendary Lord. Christian Bancroft, Viscount Berkeley has failed yet again to find a bride and flees to his cottage in Scotland where he finds Sarah Highgate living in his cottage. She’s running away too, and she’s so desperate to avoid the marriage her father arranged for her that she accepts a deal from Christian: He’ll protect her reputation if she teaches him how to catch a proper bride.

The biggest thing I liked about Christian was his awkwardness and inability to charm the ladies. In the majority of historical romances, the titled hero is a smooth talking rake who has his pick of proper (and improper) women. Christian was decidedly not that guy. He suffered from anxiety attacks and stuttered from time to time when it came to talking to women. His social handicaps were his selling point though. Bowman’s elimination of the typical rake in favor of a socially awkward viscount allowed for more attention to be paid to Christian’s personality rather than skirt chasing. It was refreshing. Christian has been a fixture in Bowman’s Playful Brides series from the very beginning, often helping out with the Duchess of Claringdon, aka Lucy’s mad schemes. I’ve always liked Christian because he had such a great sense of humor and adventure. It’s kind of par for the course when one is in Lucy’s odd circle of friends.

Lady Sarah took a little time to show her personality, or rather her courage. In the beginning she was extremely likable because she was away from London and her parents but later, when she was back home she sort of faded into the background. She was docile and malleable to the point of boredom. I liked Sarah better in the beginning, she was a character that really made things interesting. That Sarah didn’t come back after she returned to London. I would have liked to see Sarah save herself by standing up to her parents at least. Instead she let everyone else do it for her. That was a bit of a letdown when she had started off so strong.

The Legendary Lord is a bit of a read and it took a long time for anything romantic to really happen between Christian and Sarah. The first half of the book was a bit slow but it did allow a friendship to grow between the two. Finally when the romance starts to really kick off, the pace picks up significantly and that’s when I really started to have fun. No Playful Brides book would be complete without the meddling Lucy and she usually comes with Jane and Cassandra. I wasn’t disappointed when these three stepped in to help their mutual friend Christian. I was pleasantly surprised to see Lady Alex, Lord Owen, Daphne, Rafe, and even Rafe’s naughty twin Cade too! Sarah also has a brother, Hart, and a best friend named Meg that seem to have some kind of thing for each other. I smell more books coming! Yay!

Final Verdict: Even with Sarah turning out to be a wilting flower for the second half of the book, The Legendary Lord was a solid read. Valerie Bowman managed to create a satisfying story and happy ending for the one character who has been “Friend Zoned” more times than I can count. Christian is finally off the market!

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