Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,763 Ratings  ·  254 Reviews
Is there any greater surprise than falling deeply, madly in love?

In This Battle of Wits

Lady Lucy Upton’s tongue may be too sharp to attract suitors but her heart is good, and when her painfully shy friend Cassandra needs help she devises a brilliant scheme to help her discourage an unwanted suitor, the Duke of Claringdon. Lucy will hide behind the hedgerow and tell Cass ju
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
This book is for fans of scintillating dialogue and stimulating back and forth between the hero and heroine. It brings to mind "Taming of the Shrew" in the best ways. The chemistry is excellent, and while this is on the lighter side for a historical romance, it's a fun ride to watch Lucy and Derek go at it, and fall deeper in love with each encounter. It has a love scene that made me fan myself!

Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine for the May 2014 issue.
Valerie Bowman
Jul 09, 2013 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
This one's a retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac only with a sassy heroine and a delicious twist!
3.5 stars

This is the first book I have read / listened to by this author and a difficult rating for me to decide upon. I listened to the book within 24 hours. I definitely enjoyed it.

Lady Lucy Upton is a b****! Some of my friends absolutely cannot take a book with a heroin who behaves like this. I am usually more forgiving. In this case, it was difficult because she is Extreme. Fortunately, there is some backstory into her behavior; and she is loyal to her friends. In the end, she redeemed herse
3.5 stars

Could have done without so much bloody drama in it, but I liked the characters :)
I liked that just like Lisa Kleypas "Wallflowers" series, we have a group of women best friends who decide to help one another.
I liked their banter, I liked their witticism.
I liked the main romance _could have done without the soap opera thing :/.

In the end I can't wait to read the friends future stories. The bluestocking in particular seems mighty promising!
And I especially liked that I had fun while readi
Drea (LilyElement Reviews)
I wrote notes on this, but I'm not going to draw up an actual review because I already wasted hours of my time reading the novel.

So here's what I jotted in Evernote as I went:

So far this is just plain silly. the heroine stood behind her friend hidden by a hedgerow, feeding her lines and hero wasn't fooled.
And now her plan is standing behind her friend at a balcony and speaking for her (imitating her voice) and hero's not supposed to figure that out either
Their sparring isn't even amusing yet (46
Yesy (The Book Vagrant)

- Cyrano de Bergerac with a twist
- lovely female friendship
- hate-to-love romance
- so much fun banter!

sadly there was some random drama added to the end that i honestly couldn’t be bothered with so i had to knock it down a bit…still enjoyed it though!

(view spoiler)
Lover of Romance
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Originally Posted At Addicted To Romance
Lady Lucy Upton, is considered to bold and outspoken and is considered a “wallflower”, Lucy has always been daring enough to speak her mind. When one of her two closest friends, Cassandra, is being pursued by the Duke of Claringdon, when she is interested in another man, but the Duke is being persistent, so Cassandra’s asks for Lucy’s help in deterring his advances. So Lucy comes up with various ways to discourage Derek Hunt. Derek’s best friend
Jun 19, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A Bad Monty Python for Junior High

Lord Derek Hunt has returned from the war. He has been made the Duke of Claringdon for his extraordinary service for his country in that war. He was sent home with instructions to find a suitable bride. One stipulation of his duchy is that his choice of bride must be approved by the Queen. His friend, as he was dying, requested that Derek marry Lady Cassandra. His friend assured him that Lady Cassandra was duchess material and his friend wanted Derek to take car
Isa Lavinia

ARC provided by St. Martin's Press through Netgalley

I suppose we're all familiar, if not with Cyrano de Bergerac's actual life (which is very entertaining, since he was actually gay, and involved in love affairs with other gentlemen authors, and when these ended badly they published works vilifying the other, there were death threats, daring escapes, and all the entertaining things which populated the lives of libertines), then with Edmond Rostand's play about his love for Roxane and how he
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
It’s always nice when an author can surprise you. I was underwhelmed by Valerie Bowman’s debut story and have dragged my feet in reading any of the follow-up books. However the description for this book was just too tempting to resist and I had to give her a second chance. Oh, how things have changed for the better!

The play Cyrano de Bergerac was the inspiration for this story but the author put her own stamp on it by changing up the cues from the original. Lady Lucy Upton may start out with a s
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides #1)
By: Valerie Bowman
narrated by: Alison Larkin

Valerie Bowman is brilliant in this comical, powerful, heart clenching romance. It would be difficult to find a heroine anywhere with as much wit and cleverness as Lady Lucy Upton. Renowned for scaring the gents of the ton with her quick ton, Lucy finds herself alone without a prospect as the more marriageable ladies are swept up. At least she has her two best friends – the very bookish blue stocking Jane and
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
A delightfully witty and utterly enjoyable romance, The Unexpected Duchess was a wonderful read. I really liked this book. It was entertaining, romantic, and a lovely read.

Lucy was a good heroine. She was very strong and fiercely loyal to her friends. She was definitely clever and her wittiness brought a lot of fun to the book. My only issue was that, sometimes, her wittiness tended to cross the line to mean and she made problems out of nothing. But, otherwise, I liked her.

Derek was wonderful. H
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first book in the new Playful Brides series by Valerie Bowman, one of the funniest and most charming voices in historical romance. This book features humorous themes from the play, Cyrano de Bergerac.

I wish some historical romance novels would be made into movies; the stories are so beautiful, sweet, sexy, funny, and charming. But that will never happen. This is one I think would make a wonderful movie.

Lady Lucy Upton is impulsive, direct, and often speaks before she thinks. She’s fearless i
Sissy's Romance Book Review
This is the first book in the series "Playful Brides". This is a standalone book as I am reading them out of order and haven't found a problem. I enjoyed the interaction between the heroine, Lady Lucy Upton and her friends. I cannot wait to get to the next book! The hero, Duke of Claringdon is trying to make the best of a promise he made to a friend and finding it hard to ignore Lady Lucy.
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A lovely historical romance where Lucy and Derek fell in love without realizing when they did.

I will definitely read Cassandra and Jane's stories.
Joana V.
review em breve
Jessica Robbins
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
For complete review check out my blog at https://booksapelntybookreviews.blogs...
Oh my gosh!!! Valerie has done it again!!! I just have to say I absolutely adored this new series!

I'm not saying that because I absolutely love Derek and Garrett but man I super love them!!! Oh and Jane is just my kind of girl~ She's so....... Me!!! LOL

Anyways, I was super happy to have received an early reader copy -in print- which I absolutely love and couldn't put down! And can I say that cover is just amazing. But that right hand of hers is just, distracting...... It really looks like she's
Patty McKenna Van Hulle
Valerie Bowman The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides, #1) by Valerie Bowman

Do you love a good best friends forever story? Three best friends are ready to end yet another Season unmarried. Lucy is bold, out spoken and has a sharp and cutting tongue. Cassandra is demure, quiet but she really loves everyone. Jane is the clever one with blue stock tendency. Each are different but the team up to help one another to get their greatest wish. This is Lucy's story!!

Lady Lucy Upton is a woman that scares men away because she cuts, stabs and lacerated men with her
Arc provided by St Martins press via Netgalley for an honest review!

"The Unexpected Duchess" was, well it would fit well if I say unexpectedly good , but I expected it to be good and the book did not dissapoint!
Wonderful, Witty, Heartwarming romance!
Lady Lucy Upton is for the most part on the shelf, not do to looks, nor due to standing, she is an earls daughter, Lady
Lucy is on the shelf because she is smart , witty, competent and can wield wordsband her tongue like a cutless, she is also a fi
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Lady Lucy Upton souffliert ihrer schüchternen Freundin Cass um ihren Verehrer den Duke of Clarindon abzuweisen, da diese in einen anderen verliebt ist.
Der Herzog ist aber ein Mann, der zu seinem Wort steht und ist bestrebt sein Versprechen Lady Cass zu heiraten, einzuhalten. Da Cass einfach zu nett ist um ihn abzuweisen, bekommt er es immer öfter mit ihrer besten Freundin zu tun, die ihn vergraulen will.

Beim erstmaligen Lesen hat mir die Leseprobe gar nicht so gefallen, aber irg
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: skvela-vec
Vydavateľstvo Ikar prinieslo do našich končín novú autorku. A musím poznamenať, že veľmi talentovanú. Valerie píše len niekoľko rokov, no už má na svojom konte peknú hŕstku románov. My sa môžeme začítať do prvej knihy zo série Playful Brides.

Derek Hunt bojoval v napoleonskej vojne, no nastal čas vrátiť sa domov. Najnovším jeho poslaním je byť vojvodom. Titul získal za zásluhy a jeho prioritou je oženiť sa a splodiť dediča. Cieľ je jasný.

Na radu svojho priateľa Justina, ktorý leží na smrteľnej
This book was absolutely delightful. It's a cross between Cyrano de Bergerac and The Taming of the Shrew. The characters were charming and engaging, and the repartee between the hero and heroine was wonderful. The hero kept looking forward to his verbal jousts with the heroine, and so did I. I also loved the close friendship between Lucy, the heroine, and her two best friends, the subjects of the next two books in the trilogy. While the secondary characters will feature as leads in the next two ...more
Nov 19, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was soooo frustrating to read. The only parts I enjoyed were the ones with the lady friendships (we need more on HR, not just sisters!) and the parts were our otp was not exchanging barbs with each other.

By the end of the book I was so done with these two. I understand honor and friendship, but I never like noble idiocy and sacrificing oneself without having all the information! Not even Lucy's proposal at the end, which was a lovely mirror to Derek's, could save this book for me. The
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
(Copy and pasted from my review on from 2015. May edit later.)

I've listened to all three books in this series, and I like this one the most. I enjoyed the bantering between the hero and the heroine. Their banters were so much fun to listen to that I couldn't help but smile several times. Both characters are strong-willed, clever, witty, and loyal. They are perfect for each other! The love scenes were pretty hot and steamy. *fans self*

I felt that some parts toward the end of the book
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Regency with all the credentials to be the first of a new good series: the characters are fun and well-chosen, their exchanges ironic and often I found myself laughing alone while I read. I just wonder who will be the characters of the next one that I look forward to.

Regency con tutte le carte in regola per essere il primo di una buona serie: i personaggi sono divertenti e azzeccati, i loro scambi ironici e spesso mi ritrovavo a ridere da sola mentre leggevo. Mi chiedo soltanto chi saranno i per
Ana Luisa
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Finalmente foi publicada!!!
Valerie Bowman é uma daquelas autoras que me despertou a atenção no momento em que comecei a olhar para o panorama literário mundial. Os seus livros, pareciam-me na altura, serem dotados de histórias fantásticas e as suas capas apelativas faziam-me sonhar pelo momento em que chegassem ao nosso país. Finalmente chegou o dia e o que me chegou às mãos deixou-me deliciada, porque não só tinha finalmente um livro que tanto esperava, c
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Missing number of pages (and also ISBN) 2 12 May 28, 2017 03:52AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 27, 2015 11:06AM  
  • The Duke in My Bed (The Heirs' Club of Scoundrels, #1)
  • Must Love Dukes (Tricks of the Ton, #1)
  • How the Duke Was Won (The Disgraceful Dukes, #1)
  • The Trouble With Being a Duke (At the Kingsborough Ball, #1)
  • Wicked Designs (The League of Rogues, #1)
  • Christmas Brides
  • Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard (The Renegade Royals, #1)
  • The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane (Rhymes With Love, #4)
  • How to Master Your Marquis (A Princess In Hiding, #2)
  • Forever Your Earl (The Wicked Quills of London, #1)
  • Lady Windermere's Lover (The Wild Quartet, #3)
  • The Earl Takes All (The Hellions of Havisham, #2)
  • The Scoundrel's Seduction (House of Trent, #3)
  • Vixen in Velvet (The Dressmakers, #3)
  • The Duke's Guide to Correct Behavior (Dukes Behaving Badly, #1)
  • At the Duke's Wedding
  • The Captive (Captive Hearts, #1)
  • Miss Molly Robbins Designs a Seduction (Sydney Dovedale, #4)
Valerie Bowman is an award-winning author who writes Regency-set historical romance novels aka Racy Regency Romps!

Valerie’s debut novel was published in 2012. Since then, her books have received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus. She’s been an RT Reviewers’ Choice nominee for Best First Historical Romance and Best Historical Romance Love and Laughter. Two of her books h
More about Valerie Bowman

Other books in the series

Playful Brides (10 books)
  • The Accidental Countess (Playful Brides, #2)
  • The Unlikely Lady (Playful Brides, #3)
  • The Irresistible Rogue (Playful Brides, #4)
  • The Untamed Earl (Playful Brides, #5)
  • The Legendary Lord (Playful Brides, #6)
  • Never Trust a Pirate (Playful Brides, #7)
  • The Right Kind of Rogue (Playful Brides, #8)
  • A Duke Like No Other (Playful Brides, #9)
  • Kiss Me at Christmas (Playful Brides, #10)

Romance Deals

  • The Wedding Shroud (Tales of Ancient Rome, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Release Me (Stark Trilogy, #1)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • Better Off Without Him
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Veronica's Dragon (Icehome, #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • No Prince Charming (Secrets of Stone Series Book 1)
    $6.99 $2.99
  • A Loyal Heart (An Uncertain Choice, #4)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Surrender (Steel Brothers Saga, #6)
    $7.99 $2.49
  • Forged in Smoke (Red-Hot SEALs, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Hunted (The Warrior Chronicles, #2)
    $4.99 $2.49
  • A Husband's Regret (Unwanted, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Be My Reason
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Cuffed (Honor Bound Book 2)
    $6.99 $2.99
  • His Unlikely Lover (Unwanted, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Love Me Sweet (Bell Harbor, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Forged in Ember (Red-Hot SEALs, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Taking Catie (Temptation Saga #3)
    $5.99 $2.49
  • Desire After Dark (Gansett Island, #14)
    $4.99 $2.49
  • The Scotch King (Scotch #1)
    $6.99 $2.99
  • This Love of Mine (Mirror Lake, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Your Scandalous Ways (Fallen Women, #1)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The End of Feeling
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Seaside Hearts (Love in Bloom: Seaside Summers #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Forgotten Secrets (Singing River Legacy, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Knight (Endgame, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Storm Warrior (Grim, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Bayside Passions (Bayside Summers, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Misadventures with a Rookie (Misadventures, #11)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Finding Libbie: A Novel
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Love at Last (Love in Bloom: The Bradens at Peaceful Harbor, #6.5)
    $2.99 $1.49
  • Nitro's Torment (Sydney Storm MC #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Strange Hymn (The Bargainer #2)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Only You
    $4.99 $2.49
  • Lily and the Duke (Sex and the Season #1)
    $5.99 $2.49
  • A Girl's Best Friend
    $9.99 $1.99
  • My Once and Future Duke (The Wagers of Sin, #1)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Surrender/Submission Bound Hearts 1 & 2
    $2.99 $1.49
  • Burn (Steel Brothers Saga, #5)
    $7.99 $3.49
  • Mistress of Magic
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • INK: A Love Story on 7th and Main
    $4.99 $2.49
  • Misadventures of a City Girl (Misadventures, #2)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Ruthless Proposition
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Hearts at Seaside (Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Hometown Girl
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Mind (Trinity Trilogy #2)
    $6.99 $2.49
  • Rhapsodic (The Bargainer, #1)
    $2.99 $1.49
  • The Room Mate (Roommates, #1)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Surrender My Love: Cole Braden (Love in Bloom: The Bradens at Peaceful Harbor Book 2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Decaying Empire (The Vanishing Girl, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Forgiving Hour
    $2.99 $1.49
  • Bright Side (Bright Side, #1)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • The Fixer Upper
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Room for More (Cranberry Inn Book 2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1)
    $4.99 $2.49
  • Chasing I Do (The Eastons #1)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Forever Hunted (Forever Bluegrass #9)
    $4.99 $2.49
  • Slow Dance in Purgatory (Purgatory, #1)
    $4.99 $1.49
  • The Cafe by the Sea
    $9.99 $1.99
  • That Month in Tuscany
    $6.99 $2.49
  • My Brother Michael
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Something in the Way (Something in the Way, #1)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Elect (Eagle Elite, #2)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • Just Friends
    $7.80 $2.99
  • To Taste Temptation (Legend of the Four Soldiers, #1)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ghosted
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Dodging Temptation
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Billionaire's Final Stand (Billionaire Bachelors, #7)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Find Me (Corrupted Hearts #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Blackmailing the Billionaire (Billionaire Bachelors, #5)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Hunger (The Energy Vampires #2)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Healed By Love (The Bradens at Peaceful Harbor #1; The Bradens #13; Love in Bloom #32)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Billionaire Falls (Billionaire Bachelors, #3)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Runaway Heiress (Billionaire Bachelors, #6)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Treading Water (Treading Water, #1)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Life Next Door (Love Not Included Book 3)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • Undeniable Love (Journey Of Love Book 2)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Bittersweet
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Mr. Perfect (Mister, #1)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Made for You
    $3.99 $1.49
  • The Light In Summer
    $5.99 $1.99
  • For Love and Honor (An Uncertain Choice, #3)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Collision Point (Brute Force, #1)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • The Journey Home
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Heirs of Grace
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Storm Bound (Grim, #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Unforgettable Love (Journey of Love Book 3)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Prom Night in Purgatory (Purgatory, #2)
    $4.99 $1.49
  • The Valiant (Spy Girl Book 4)
    $6.99 $2.99
  • Dear Aaron
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Running Barefoot
    $5.95 $1.99
  • Wrecked
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Sapphire Heist (Jewel, #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Other Side of the Story
    $10.99 $1.99
  • One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Out of Focus (Adams Grove, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Eighth Grave After Dark (Charley Davidson, #8)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • What If
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Journey's End (Gilded Promises)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Light After Dark (Gansett Island, #15)
    $4.99 $2.49
  • Pecan Pie and Deadly Lies (Adams Grove, #4)
    $4.99 $0.99
  • How To Marry A Werewolf (Claw & Courtship, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
“The lady had a rapier for a tongue. She jabbed with nouns, riposted with verbs.” 6 likes
More quotes…