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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

...more than a dash of impudence!

The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides #1) by Valerie Bowman       

I really liked the character of Lucy, lady Lucy Upton that is.  She is feisty, passionate and a true friend, and at heart a victim of rejection by her parents. Her guilt at surviving her brother and therefore having the family fortunes pass to another due to the inheritance laws cuts her deeply.
In trying to be a son she from childhood did the unexpected and embarrassed her parents. Yet all she wanted was their approval.
Her loyalty and determination to rescue her shy friend Cassandra from the unwanted attention of the Duke of Claringdon is laudable. Unfortunately neither young woman know that Lord Derek Hunt had made a promise to his dying friend to marry Cassandra. And Hunt is an honourable man. Well that is until the sparks ignited between himself and Lucy.
The dance between these two is hilarious as they try to deny their mutual attraction, are caught in its web, withdraw, only to be caught again.     
Yet, Hunt is determined to honour his promise.     
Cassandra, the dreamer, in love with the unattainable, drifting in a dream of unrequited love is actually stronger than Lucy in my opinion. 
The last friend in this trio, the blue stocking Jane is a mystery. One does wonder what she's up to in the background. Certainly the friendship between the three young women is interesting.
Lucy's plans for Cassandra to repel Hunt are tinged with hilarity. However, as she herself a falls deeper in love with Hunt, her old pains of abandonment, surface. Certainly Lucy's pain is tangible and we like and admire her the more for it.
I loved the scene where she is represented to the Queen, the first occasion having been an unmitigated disaster.
An amusing and bewitching read. I smiled and murmered in sympathy with Lucy all the way through, occasionally wanting to shake Cassandra and awaken her to the now.

A NetGalley ARC

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