The Unlikely Lady (Playful Brides #3)
Author: Valerie Bowman
Release Date: 5 May 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
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?
The Unlikely Lady is the third book in the Playful Brides series and finally gives us Garrett and Jane's story. These two have been prominent characters through the series and their contentious relationship has provided plenty of entertainment, but it's time for these two to realise they've been blind to the possibility of true love right in front of them.
Jane is the definition of a bluestocking. She's happiest when she's left alone with a book and the last thing she wants is to marry and have her freedom taken away, much to her mother's disappointment. She's not a big fan of guys in general, but she particularly loathes Garrett Upton and considers him a rakish ne'er-do-well who is a thorn in her side. I loved Jane's wit and intelligence and I imagine she would make a pretty awesome friend.
Garrett is a perfectly dreamy hero. He's a former soldier and whilst the war still haunts him, he hides it well underneath a jovial demeanor. He's got a really good heart and his compassion is very admirable but does almost lead him to some pretty bad decisions in this story!
Jane and Garrett's relationship has always been full of bickering and witty sniping at each other. It's fun to read and they're certainly equally matched in intelligence which makes it lively. They both have a perception of each other that is quite off the mark and it turns out they don't really know each other that well. I loved that once they started to learn more about each other they both softened and opened up, especially Jane. Although one thing I found a touch irritating was the blind prejudice that Jane has against Garrett, which I thought could almost verge on plain bitchiness in moments at the beginning of the book. Though for the most part, their arguing is more amusing than anything else.
Overall, this is another great addition to an already thoroughly enjoyable series. I think Garrett and Jane make a wonderful couple and it was fun to see the return of 'Bunbury' and the rest of the characters from the previous books, with Lucy up to her old tricks again. It's a fun and romantic read, complete with a perfectly dislikable villainess.
*I received a review copy from the publisher, for my honest opinion. Thank you!