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THE UNEXPECTED DUCHESS by Valerie Bowman Kirkus Star


by Valerie Bowman

Pub Date: April 29th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-250-04207-1
Publisher: St. Martin's

Sharp-tongued Lady Lucy Upton is determined to save her friend from an unwanted courtship by the newly minted Duke of Claringdon, but she never expects that standing up to him will draw the arrogant—and handsome—man her way.

War hero Derek Hunt would much rather be with his men on the battlefield than in a ballroom, but since having a dukedom bestowed on him for his service, following orders means staying put and boosting morale on the homefront. Before leaving the war zone, however, Lord Hunt made a deathbed promise to his best friend that he would marry Lady Cassandra, a quiet, easygoing young woman who would make a perfect bride. However, once he starts to pursue her—to her mother's delight—he's continually thwarted by her friend, the infamous Lady Lucy: “Apparently the lady had a rapier for a tongue. She jabbed with nouns, riposted with verbs....By all accounts, she was a master. One who could rip an overzealous beau to shreds in mere seconds.” Lady Lucy is a nuisance but an intriguing one. “He was a man used to having...orders carried out immediately and here was this slip of a young woman who not only refused to snap to attention but she also seemed to enjoy antagonizing him. He had to reluctantly admit, it fascinated him.” Hunt finds himself falling for Lucy, who won’t admit to her own feelings for him; and Lady Cassandra’s family takes exception to his change of direction, leading to some challenging obstacles to their happiness. Bowman gives playful nods to Shakespeare and Cyrano de Bergerac in this appealing start to a new series. Lucy is the Regency shrew to Hunt’s gentle-warrior hero who falls for her quick wit, then recognizes the wounded girl behind the virago mask. 

A fun, smart comedy of errors and a sexy, satisfying romance.