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The Unexpected Duchess

(Playful Brides #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  2,230 ratings  ·  318 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, 354 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,230 ratings  ·  318 reviews

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)
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! ...more
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
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
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
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
Lover of Romance
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
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think I found me a new author to read. This was not only fun, it was heartwarming and emotionally satisfying. I will definitely be reading the series.
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)
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 ho
Tanya Sridhar
Don't know why this doesn't show read - I read this ages ago! ...more
The Unexpected Duchess
5 Stars

Home from the Napoleanic Wars, the newly minted Duke of Clarendon, Derek Hunt, wants nothing more than to settle down with a sweet woman by his side. Calm and shy Lady Cassandra Monroe seems the perfect choice. Unfortunately, Lady Lucy Upton, Cass's best friend and the woman with the wickedest tongue in the ton has other ideas. Soon Derek and Lucy are trading barbs and banter, and Derek begins to suspect that perhaps a quiet life is not in the cards for him after all
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
(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
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. ...more
Michelle Rupe
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not historically accurate, but such a fun read! My favorite of hers that I've read so far. ...more
Jessica Robbins
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
For complete review check out my blog at https://booksapelntybookreviews.blogs... ...more
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
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
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
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
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.
Marsha Keeper Bookshelf
Reviewed at Romantic Historicals

The Unexpected Duchess starts off the Playful Brides series with a group of characters that often had me chuckling, talking back to my book (thankfully not in public) and having an absolute blast with their antics. Lucy and Derek are well matched on most levels, it’s just going to take a bit before they figure that out for themselves.

One deathbed promise is going to lead Derek on a merry chase to court the quiet Cassandra, who has no interest in his attentions fo
May 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance-regency
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 27, 2015 11:06AM  

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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

Other books in the series

Playful Brides (1 - 10 of 11 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)
  • No Other Duke But You (Playful Brides, #11)

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