I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
I have read a couple of the historical romances in Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides series, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read The Legendary Lord.
This is Christian’s story. Fans of the series will remember Lord Berkeley from the secondary role he has played in earlier books. Christian is the genial sort of man who has always been relegated to a friendship rather than the romantic lead. He has grown weary of his high social circle, and decides to spend some time by himself in his hunting lodge in Scotland.
Sarah Highgate, a popular debutante, also feels stifled by London society and her insufferable fiance, so she runs away. She inadvertently ends up at Christian’s lodge, and they wind up stuck in the house together after a snowstorm- alone together.
Nothing happens during their time in the lodge, and Christian goes to great lengths to make sure that Sarah’s reputation is preserved. His wonderful friends (the heroines from the previous books) provide an “alibi” for Sarah and she is able to return to London with an acceptable explanation for her absence.
During their time in the lodge, Sarah gives him Christian some tips about what women are looking for, and he uses this information to transform himself. He is quite popular after his makeover, and captures the attention of many eligible young women. But the only one he wants is Sarah, but she is still engaged to another man.
The Legendary Lord is a wonderful book. I loved the chemistry between Christian and Sarah. This was not a case of “instalove”; their connection built slowly. It was so sweet to see them appreciate the “little things” about each other. There’s a poignant irony in Christian using the information Sarah gave him, only for her to realize that she is falling in love with a man she cannot have.
I loved the unconventionality of this book. The usual trope would have Christian and Sarah discovered together in the lodge, which would force a marriage in order to avoid a scandal. It turns out that the ramifications of nothing happening are far more interesting than a torrid snowbound romance.
There are hijinks aplenty throughout the book, including the reappearance of the infamous Mrs. Bunbury. Bowman also introduces us to some new characters, and I saw hints for at least two more books in the series.
I would absolutely recommend The Legendary Lord. This book functions well as a standalone, but I do think that reading some of the other books in the series first will give the reader a greater sense of appreciation for Christian’s story. I am looking forward to reading more of Valerie Bowman’s books, and I can’t wait to see who will be matched up in the next book!