STORY: 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?
REVIEW: London – April 1816
Jane Lowndes, ages 26, is a bluestocking, book reading, follower of Mary Wollstonecraft, and wears glasses. Her idea of a perfect day is spending the day in the library reading books. Therefore, when she is forced to attend a soiree, she can often be found in a corner reading having secreted a book in via her reticule. Jane’s father is Sir Charles Lowndes and her mother has been pushing her to find a husband and settle down.
Jane’s friend, Lady Cassandra Monroe (Cass), is soon to marry Julian Swift, Earl of Swifdon, in Surrey. Many of Cass’s friends have been invited to a house party for a week before the wedding. For Jane to be able to attend, she has convinced her mother that an (imaginary) Mrs. Bunbury will chaperone her to the party for the week.
Garrett Upton, heir presumptive to the Earl of Upbridge, has been invited to the party as well. As the guests begin to arrive, one of them is a very beautiful woman around 30. She is Mrs. Isabella Langford, a widow. Her interest in Garrett is immediate but he wants nothing to do with her. Why?
Jane and Garrett have known one another for years but have always clashed. He finds her bluestocking ways irritating and does not like the frumpy way she dresses. However, to please Cass, she agrees to dress up, fix her hair and attend a masquerade party that Cass has planned. When Garrett sees this mysterious masked woman and Jane encounters this handsome masked man, sparks begin to fly. When they both realize whom the other one is, they are very intrigued. However, Isabella Langford will stop at nothing to win Garrett Upton.
Several incidents happen where Jane is injured and it’s wondered if it’s an accident or not.
This is a delightful story and I loved it. Jane is a wonderful character. Well done, Valerie Bowman!
This is the third book in the Playful Brides series. The first two are: “The Unexpected Duchess” and “The Accidental Countess.” I have read and enjoyed all three of them and believe that this is my favorite one so far.
Connie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher