The Unlikely Lady (Playful Brides), by Valerie Bowman

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The Unlikely Lady (Playful Brides), by Valerie Bowman

The Unlikely Lady (Playful Brides), by Valerie Bowman

The Unlikely Lady (Playful Brides), by Valerie Bowman

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The Unlikely Lady (Playful Brides), by Valerie Bowman


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?

  • Sales Rank: #495615 in Books
  • Published on: 2015-05-05
  • Released on: 2015-05-05
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 6.79″ h x .95″ w x 4.19″ l, 1.00 pounds
  • Binding: Mass Market Paperback
  • 352 pages


“Too delightful to miss!” ―New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas on Valerie Bowman’s novels

“Splendidly satisfying…[with] emotional depth.” ―Booklist (starred review) on Valerie Bowman’s novels

“Fabulous, sexy tales!” ―USA Today bestselling author Kieran Kramer on Valerie Bowman’s novels

“In this installment, the gloves are off… this book is laugh out loud funny. I loved every second of it. A full length novel, rich story and impeccable comedic timing, I didn’t want to leave this delightful little world.” ―Smexy Books, Smexy Books

“Impossibly charming, witty and sexy fun.” ―Be My Bard

“Valerie Bowman’s Playful Bride series is a delightful example of the best in celebrating love between two smart caring individuals who respect each other. THE UNLIKELY BRIDE …[is] a wonderful retelling of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. Recommended for fans of Eileen Dreyer and Mary Robinette Kowal.” ―Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore

About the Author

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 rascally dog, Roo. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS.

Most helpful customer reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful.
A difference of opinion.
I was really hoping this would be a good book. It got a lot of glowing reviews, so I went ahead and bought it. I usually like this kind of a setup–wallflower, spinstery type paired with the gorgeous rake. But, something got lost in translation for me. I did not like Jane. For me, there is a thin line between a character, such as hers, being witty and bantering with the hero and the character just sounding mean. I got that vibe from Jane, particularly in her encounters with Garret’s erstwhile pursuer, Isabella. Isabella really was a despicable character, but I felt that Jane went beyond just uttering clever put downs to actually sounding bitter and spiteful. That was the impression I was left with. I’m sure the author meant for us to see how Jane had been so badly mistreated in her childhood because of her weight and used reading as a big ol’ defense mechanism and shield, but it didn’t work for me. I felt Jane crossed the line into unlikable heroine territory, which is the kiss of death for me as a reader. I’ve said before in my reviews, too many times a poorly written heroine ruins a book. I felt the whole imaginary chaperone angle went on too long and sort of reinforced my opinion. She didn’t like to be what she felt was deceit by Garrett, but she deceived her mother throughout the entire book. Her being able to do that and just make up lies about where the chaperone was, just played up her unlikeability. I deduced from this that I probably wouldn’t enjoy the previous book in this series, where the main character pretends to be someone else. I remember that sounded iffy to me, so I passed on that book and haven’t read it.
Garrett was perfectly fine. I liked him, he didn’t do stupid, goofy stuff, and was really quite noble in his dealings, but he was paired with Jane and I didn’t care for her, so… He did do one thing quite early on in their romantic encounters that I felt was a bit too much, too soon. Sort of came out of left field and was a little too Fifty Shades for me. Not bad, just a little off.
Another thing I found very jarring was that anytime there was a mention of God or praying, Jane would say things that sounded way too modern, such as wondering if she really believed in a God, or going to heaven. These instances were jarring, felt out of time and place, and gave me the impression they were the author’s beliefs, not a young lady of the 1800’s, even if she were a devotee of Mary Wollstonecraft. I prefer an author keep their religious views to themselves, but I think we got them in this book. Just leave them out of a romance novel.
Valerie Bowman has been sort of a hit or miss author for me. This book was extremely light reading, with lots of telling, not showing, and a character who was unlikeable, in my opinion. And that was the heroine, not the money grubber who should have been the unlikeable one. To me, Jane didn’t set herself apart from Isabella and show what a much finer person she was. Jane got down in the dirt and duked it out with her. So, two stars for Garrett. He deserved better.

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful.
A twist on ‘the spinster and the rake’ trope
By C. Halford
Originally published at Rookie Romance.

The Unlikely Lady is the third book in the Playful Brides series and finally gives us Garrett and Jane’s story. These two have been prominent characters through the series and their contentious relationship has provided plenty of entertainment, but it’s time for these two to realise they’ve been blind to the possibility of true love right in front of them.

Jane is the definition of a bluestocking. She’s happiest when she’s left alone with a book and the last thing she wants is to marry and have her freedom taken away, much to her mother’s disappointment. She’s not a big fan of guys in general, but she particularly loathes Garrett Upton and considers him a rakish ne’er-do-well who is a thorn in her side. I loved Jane’s wit and intelligence and I imagine she would make a pretty awesome friend.

Garrett is a perfectly dreamy hero. He’s a former soldier and whilst the war still haunts him, he hides it well underneath a jovial demeanor. He’s got a really good heart and his compassion is very admirable but does almost lead him to some pretty bad decisions in this story!

Jane and Garrett’s relationship has always been full of bickering and witty sniping at each other. It’s fun to read and they’re certainly equally matched in intelligence which makes it lively. They both have a perception of each other that is quite off the mark and it turns out they don’t really know each other that well. I loved that once they started to learn more about each other they both softened and opened up, especially Jane. Although one thing I found a touch irritating was the blind prejudice that Jane has against Garrett, which I thought could almost verge on plain bitchiness in moments at the beginning of the book. Though for the most part, their arguing is more amusing than anything else.

Overall, this is another great addition to an already thoroughly enjoyable series. I think Garrett and Jane make a wonderful couple and it was fun to see the return of ‘Bunbury’ and the rest of the characters from the previous books, with Lucy up to her old tricks again. It’s a fun and romantic read, complete with a perfectly dislikable villainess.

*I received a review copy from the publisher, for my honest opinion. Thank you!

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful.
The Unlikely Lady
By tjarch
I have several of Valerie Bowman’s books. She is truly an author that draws you into her stories with her clever and witty characters. I always love a story about a bluestocking and a rake. Masquerade balls also always draw me in. Jane and Garret were the perfect heroine and hero. They start off as rivals so when they are in a room together the sparks fly. The romance was such a sweet romance with a few twists. I have already pre-purchased this book and can’t wait for the next in the series. I have received this book for an honest review by Net Galley.

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