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The Unexpected Duchess Mass Market Paperback – April 29, 2014

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (April 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250042070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250042071
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #565,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Lucy Upton knows she can talk; the problem is that Derek Hunt, Duke of Claringdon, just won’t listen! Lucy’s friend, Cassandra Monroe, simply can’t find the words to let Derek know she has no interest in him as a potential husband. Because Lucy has no trouble at all in speaking her mind, she offers to provide Cassandra with the clearest possible language for letting Derek know, once and for all, that his offer of matrimony is not welcome. However, no matter how many times Lucy—either channeling her words through Cassandra, or speaking as herself—tells Derek to go away, the infuriating man continues to court Cassandra. Lucy knows that Derek has had more than his share of success on the battlefields of Europe, but this is one battle he simply isn’t going to win. Rising historical fiction star Bowman builds on the potential she displayed in her first Regency-set trilogy (the Secret Brides series) with The Unexpected Duchess, which launches her new Playful Brides books. This novel’s engaging characters, snappy banter, and judicious infusion of smoldering sensuality will have readers clamoring for the next installment in this smart and sexy series. --John Charles


 Praise for The Unexpected Duchess:
"Engaging characters, snappy banter, and judicious infusion of smoldering sensuality will have readers clamoring for the next installment in this smart and sext series." —Booklist (Starred Review)
"A fun, smart comedy of errors and a sexy, satisfying romance."—Kirkus (Starred Review)
"Smart, witty, sassy and utterly delightful!"—Romantic Times (4 1/2 Stars; Top Pick!)
"...a charming take on Cyrano de Bergerac." —Publisher's Weekly
"Fun, engaging romance with great characters!" —Fresh Fiction

More About the Author

Valerie Bowman is an award-winning author who writes Regency-set historical romance novels aka Racy Regency Romps!

Valerie's debut novel, SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT, is the first in the Secret Brides series. Book two, SECRETS OF A RUNAWAY BRIDE, was released March 26, 2013 and SECRETS OF A SCANDALOUS MARRIAGE was released Oct 1, 2013. A SECRET PROPOSAL, a related novella, was released 1/1/13. A Secret Affair was released 7/1/2013. The final story in the Secret Brides series, It Happened Under the Mistletoe, A Christmas Novella, was released 10/29/2013.

She is hard at work on a new series based on famous romp plays. The Playful Brides series consists of The Unexpected Duchess (May 2014), The Accidental Countess (November 2014), and The Unlikely Lady (May 2015) with three more planned.

Valerie has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a minor in history from Smith College. By day, she is a technical editor at a computer software company. By night, she combines her love of writing, history, and romance to craft stories about people falling in love.

Originally from Rantoul, Illinois, Valerie lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her family including her rascally rescue dog, Roo. When she's not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS.

Visit Valerie on the web at
Twitter: @ValerieGBowman
Sign up for her newsletter at or go here:

Customer Reviews

I read the book so fast & was sad it ended.
Patricia L. Linkous
The hero, Derek, a new duke is very swoon-worthy and the heroine, Lucy, is a feisty gal and yet so very vulnerable too.
A delightfully witty and utterly enjoyable romance, The Unexpected Duchess was a wonderful read.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By teach4173 on May 1, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book in the Playful Brides Series.

Derek Hunt, the Duke of Clarington, is determined to honor his best friend's final wish. He is asked to marry and take care of Cassandra Monroe and not even her sharp tongued friend, Lucy Upton will get in his way.

Lucy knows her best friend is in love with someone else and will never accept the Duke's proposal. Why is it that he doesn't seem to understand it? Lucy does everything in her power to convience Derek that he and Cassandra will not suit. While Derek might not be the right one for her best friend, Lucy is having way too much fun sharing barbs with him.

Is there something more going on than a battle of words?

This is the first book by Valerie Bowman that I have read and I LOVED it. I'm always a fan of the bantering H/H and I was not disappointed with this one. While Lucy did not see it coming, her friends knew that Derek was perfect for her and "arranged" a few things....

I love when an author gives me secondary characters that are written so well that I want their story to be told too. Lucy's two best friends and her cousin are such characters and I can't wait to read more about this group of friends. Cassandra's book, The Accidental Countess, comes out in October. I don't know if I can wait that long to see what happens!!

I've definitely found a new author to add to my TBR pile and I can't wait to read her backlist.

Thanks go to St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of a review.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Melody May on April 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The past couple of days I have been reading The Unexpected Duchess by Valerie Bowman. I love Valerie's writing. I find her stories fun and entertaining, especially The Unexpected Duchess. I absolutely love Valerie's heroine's cause they aren't simpering. Oh no, they tend to be brash, intelligent, and have a backbone. They usually make the story more interesting.

Anyway, in The Unexpected Duchess we meet a group of friends: Lucy, Cassandra and Jane. There goal is to protect Cassandra from being courted by the Duke of Claringdon. Sounds like a simple task if he wasn't such anyone other the Duke of Decisive. Now Derek Hunt promised his friend that he would court Lady Cassandra when he got home. He figured why not. However, there's one problem standing in his way, a harpy of a woman: Lady Lucy Upton.

I LOVED this story. I love how Derek and Lucy go to war over what's best for Cass. Each of them has a valid point. However, the more they go to battle, the more they realize they are more suited for one another. Yet, Derek is set on courting Cass no matter what is the cost. At the same time he never expect to feel the passion and the fire between Lucy and him. Now he's face to decide what's best for him, which isn't an easy task.

Overall, Valerie did a fantastic job launching her new series and I excited to see what will happen. I found The Unexpected Duchess highly entertaining and definitely a page turner. Derek and Lucy sure do move the story with there constant bickering on who is right and wrong. Both are equally match when it comes to word war. Honestly, I could spout how great The Unexpected Duchess. It's one of those stories that I love and want to tell every awesome detail. So, if you are looking to start a new series that's fun and entertaining, you might give The Unexpected Duchess a try.

Copy provided by the author
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Farrah on April 29, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A delightfully witty and utterly enjoyable romance, The Unexpected Duchess was a wonderful read. I really liked this book. It was entertaining, romantic, and a lovely read.

Lucy was a good heroine. She was very strong and fiercely loyal to her friends. She was definitely clever and her wittiness brought a lot of fun to the book. My only issue was that, sometimes, her wittiness tended to cross the line to mean and she made problems out of nothing. But, otherwise, I liked her.

Derek was wonderful. He was very sweet and loyal to his friends and the promises he made to them. He was clever in his own right and utterly adorable when he wanted to be. Not to mention that he was an extremely determined character and heaven help the person who got in his way when he was set on something. I thought he was wonderful and I adored him.

The romance was lovely. Lucy and Derek were great together. They were both very clever, witty, and strong-willed and they had definitely met their match in each other. The sparks between them were constantly flying, when they were arguing and when they were doing...other things. I thought they were perfect together.

The plot was well paced and I was kept hooked the entire way through. The wit and humor of this book was entertaining and made the book very fun to read. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was lovely.

The Unexpected Duchess was an absolutely lovely historical romance. It was fun, witty, romantic, and a truly enjoyable read. Romance lovers, this delightful book is one you'll definitely want to check out.

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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Format: Kindle Edition
Valerie Bowman is brilliant in this comical, powerful, heart clenching romance. It would be difficult to find a heroine anywhere with as much wit and cleverness as Lady Lucy Upton. Renowned for scaring the gents of the ton with her quick ton, Lucy finds herself alone without a prospect as the more marriageable ladies are swept up. At least she has her two best friends – the very bookish blue stocking Jane and the demur classical beauty Cass who is quiet in love with a man already promised to her cousin. The band of wallflowers vows to watch out for each other and to pool their resources to ensure happy futures for each of them.
When Lord Derek Hunt promises his dying friend that he will marry Cass, he knows that nothing will stand in his way from keeping his promise. Nicknamed the Duke of Decisiveness, once Derek makes up his mind no force in nature can thwart his path. He’s won battles, lead troops, and faced unsurmountable odds and came out on top, earning himself the title of Duke.
Cass just can’t imagine marrying the tall, handsome, intimidating Duke. Not when she is madly in love with Julian! She has loved him since they were small children and she vows to wait for his return from war, even if he is promised to her cousin. Too shy to push back on the Duke’s advances, she does the only thing she can think of and asks Lucy for help. Lucy has never met a man she could not beat in a match of wits.
For a man with unstoppable determination and a miss who out banters the best of them, they have finally each met their match in the battle to win Cass. Lucy is determined to rebuke the Duke and Derek is equally determined to keep his promise to his friend. What entails is a comic battle of verbal challenges that will have even the most stoic reader laughing out loud.
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