The Unlikely Lady is the third book in Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides series of regency-set historical romance novels. I received an advanced reader copy of Bowman’s The Untamed Earl, which I enjoyed so much that I sought out some of the other books in the series. I listened to the Audible version of An Unlikely Lady last year, but I never got around to reviewing it. I’m trying to get back into the swing of book reviewing, and catching up on books I missed.

The Unlikely Lady is the story of Miss Jane Lowndes, who is a thorough bluestocking. She has been bantering with Garrett Upton for years, and they appear to have a mutual disdain for each other. Needless to say, they are both surprised when they share a passionate kiss during a masquerade ball at a house party.

Jane realizes that there is more to Garrett than she thought, and she would like to get to know him better during the house party. However, life is rarely that simple: there is another woman vying for Garrett’s attention. She is beautiful and vivacious, everything that Jane is not. Will Jane be able to compete with this woman or will she lose Garrett forever?

I enjoyed reading The Unlikely Lady. Bowman infuses the story with a whimsical sense of humor, including the return of the fictional chaperone Mrs. Bunbury. Although some things have changed for Jane and her core group of friends as they fall in love and marry, much remains the same and they are still lifelong friends.  The interaction between the characters is so organic, and it’s easy to see why these women are friends. Bowman inserts tension amidst the lighthearted moments, making this a well-rounded book.

I would recommend The Unlikely Lady to fans of historical romance novels. The book functions well as a standalone, so you don’t have to read them in order. Bowman is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and I am looking forward to reading the next entries in the Playful Brides series!

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