The Unlikely LadyTitle:  The Unlikely Lady
Series:  The Playful Brides
Author:  Valerie Bowman
Genre:  Regency Romance
Published:  May 5, 2015
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press
My Rating:  5 stars
Source:  NetGalley
Synopsis:

Miss Jane Lowndes is a confirmed bluestocking. She’s convinced that if she can wait out her parents’ demand that she marry, someday she can be a confirmed spinster and hold intellectual salons, her fondest dream. No man wants a bluestocking for a wife, after all. And that’s exactly the way Jane likes it. In fact, she’s invented a fictitious chaperone to help her achieve that purpose.

Lord Garrett Upton is a devil-may-care confirmed bachelor. He’s lived through the war, and now that he’s back in London, he intends to enjoy life to the fullest. Marriage is certainly not a part of that plan. He’s known Miss Lowndes for years, and the two of them have long engaged in a war of words. Jane’s latest scheme to pretend she has a fake chaperone is none of his business . . . until her desire to involve herself in a scandal becomes all too personal.

When Garrett and Jane mistakenly kiss at a wedding party masquerade, their well-documented dislike for each other is turned on its ear. And when a devious widow, who will stop at nothing to have Garrett, plots to keep them apart, will their desire for each other overcome their dreams of remaining unattached?

Read on for my thoughts on The Unlikely Lady.  No true spoilers, promise.

Long has the constant bickering between Jane and Garrett been a source of amusement in the earlier novels of The Playful Brides series.  It would seem that in the eyes of these two the other can do nothing but wrong.  I eagerly awaited their own story, and I was not in the least bit disappointed.

Jane wants nothing but to be left alone with her books and occasionally her friends.  She has absolutely no interest in marriage or ever being shackled to a man, no matter how handsome his form or prospects might be.  She is rather proud of her reputation as a bluestocking and has no intention of ever giving up her beloved books for the harsh reality of marriage, no matter how hard her mother tries to change her mind.

Garrett has had enough of war.  And the death of good men.  His return to London is a relief and his intentions are to enjoy life to the fullest – and just to be clear, that does not involve marriage.

Amazing how just one kiss can change everything.  During a masquerade party, Jane, for once without her spectacles, and Garrett share a kiss.  And something shifts in their relationship.  Oh, they’ve danced around each other in verbal banter (or outright warfare) for years, but never in a personally involved way.  Now things are changing, and these two must come to grips with that knowledge.

Add in a vicious viper of a widow who wants Garrett all for herself – and you have the ingredients for a delightful story.

I really enjoyed The Unlikely Lady.  This novel delivered all of the previous aspects of Jane and Garrett’s ongoing annoyances with each other and simply took them to the next level.  I think anyone who has followed the series up to this point knew that these two would end up together, and there was certainly no instant love involved.  But their feelings did change or perhaps become clear, because really with that much animosity hidden behind their war of words you just knew that stronger emotions were involved somewhere in that mix.  Jane’s story was perfect for her.

The next installment of this series, The Irresistible Rogue, will be available in November 2015.

If you love strong characters,  a bit of mischief and a love that was destined to be, then you will love The Unlikely Lady.  Be sure to pick up this next novel in The Playful Brides series.  It could be read as a stand alone novel.  But with the previous novels’ characters showing up or being mentioned in this novel you would probably get a better overall enjoyment if you knew everyone’s story.  That is an opinion, not totally necessary to have read them but it will help.  I recommend this one for any Historical Romance reader – or simply anyone who enjoys battling heroes and heroines whose strongest weapon are words.

(and I have to say this – is that cover not stunning?  I love the colors and the barely held in check emotions of the couple.  Beautiful cover)

*I received an e-ARC of The Unlikely Lady from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.*

This novel is available in paperback, audio and for the Kindle