The Accidental Countess (Playful Brides #2)
Author: Valerie Bowman
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: 28 October 2014
CAN A SCANDALOUS CHARADE
For seven long years, Lady Cassandra Monroe has waited for the man of her dreams to return from the war. Unfortunately, he happens to be engaged to her flighty cousin. What Cass wouldn’t give to take her cousin’s place! When he mistakes Cass for Patience Bunbury, a fictitious friend her cousin has invented to escape social obligations…even with her future husband, Cass thinks this is her chance.
LEAD TO TRUE AND LASTING LOVE?
After defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, Captain Julian Swift is not quite ready to settle down and enter into his unwanted arranged marriage—especially when the real object of his affection turns out to be a beguiling beauty he meets at a party. Patience Bunbury is witty, independent, passionate…and, unbeknownst to him, the cousin of his current fiancée. When the truth about Cass comes out—and Julian discovers that their courtship is anything but accidental—will he surrender his heart to a woman who really is too good to be true?
Cass is such a sweetheart. She's gentle, kind, loyal and sweet. I think she's also the perfect contrast to her more outspoken best friend, Lucy. She's the kind of person who thinks of everybody before herself, which is why she hides the love she feels for Julian from him, as he's practically engaged to her cousin. She definitely grows through the book, which was lovely to read. She really starts to emerge from her shell, make her own decisions and seize her life firmly with both hands.
Julian is a perfect hero in many ways, he's honourable and sweet. His father treated him awfully as the 'spare son', making him feel worthless and unneeded. I loved his determination to straighten out his 'engagement' with Penelope, it really showed that he was just truly a good guy.
Cass and Julian are pretty perfect together. When he knows her as Patience Bunbury, he's utterly beguiled by Cass and she can be her true self with him. She lets herself say and act as she feels, rather than restraining herself for propriety or for others sakes. Cass makes Julian see that he's not useless and that she very much needs him. I loved that even when Julian has strong feelings for 'Patience', he still thinks about Cass as he knows her through her letters, showing that they did have a genuine connection beforehand.
There were so many time when I wished that Cass and Julian could jut talk about their feelings and that the truth would come out. Alas, the ruse Lucy dreams up at the beginning of the book makes this rather difficult, but didn't disturb my enjoyment of the story.
One of the best things in Valerie Bowman's books is that they're just so much fun. This book is rife with misunderstandings and the deception soon spirals out of hand in a series of increasingly entertaining setbacks. It's quite the tangled web that Cass ends up weaving. The secondary characters are also fun and engaging in their own right and add so much to the story. Lucy is the heroine from the previous book, The Unexpected Duchess, and features a great deal in this as does Jane, Cass and Lucy's other friend.
Overall, this is an engaging and romantic romp of a book. I loved seeing Cass and Julian finally get their chance and there's plenty to make you alternately sigh dreamily and laugh out loud. I can't wait to read the next book in the series and the ones to follow!
*I received a review copy from the publisher, via NetGalley, for my honest opinion. Thank you!