The Unlikely Lady is the third book in Valerie Bowman’s “Playful Brides” series, in which each book is based on a classic play. Book 1, The Unexpected Duchess, is loosely based on Cyrano de Bergerac. Book 2, The Accidental Countess, is a retelling of The Importance of Being Earnest. The Unlikely Lady, the most enjoyable of the three (so far), is based on Much Ado About Nothing.
THE PLOT: Jane has every intention of becoming a spinster so she can avoid society and just read her books in peace. She’ll break the news to her mother right after her friend Cass’s wedding, where she plans to cause some sort of scandal that leaves her ruined and, therefore, on the shelf. For extra entertainment, there’s the neverending “merry war” betwixt her and her other friend’s cousin, Garrett.
Garrett would never admit how much he enjoys arguing with Jane. He would claim he just puts up with her because she’s his cousin Lucy’s friend and partner-in-crime. In the meantime, he has problems of his own. He’s haunted by survivor’s guilt, and to add to it, the widow of the soldier who saved Garrett’s life has wangled an invitation to the wedding and seems intent on hooking up with Garrett. He’s not interested.
At a masquerade party during the pre-wedding festivities, Jane goes masked but without her eyeglasses, and Garrett is just drunk. They end up in the library together getting quite cozy…each without realizing who the other is. Whoops. But their meeting is witnessed by Lucy and Cass, and the friends plot to trick the unlikely couple into getting together. They tell Jane that Garrett is in love with her, and tell Garrett that Jane is in love with him. This helps them to at least lower their defenses enough to start really getting to know each other. But then there’s the widow, who wants Garrett for herself, and will make sure Jane believes that Garrett is a two-timing dog. Can this mess possibly end in true love? (Hint: It’s a romance! Based on Much Ado About Nothing!)
MY TWO CENTS: I love Jane. I love Garrett. I love Garrett’s library. What more is there to say?
Seriously, though, this is a fun takeoff on Much Ado with a few twists and turns. I identify with Jane and am glad she realized that Garrett was more than just a pretty face who likes to pick fights. They truly seemed like a good couple, one who naturally belonged together.
I will admit that I’m not a fan of Lucy, and I didn’t love The Unexpected Duchess, the book that focused on her. She’s a little less prominent in this book, which I liked. I also recommend trying this book if you read the first one and didn’t like it…this one may be more to your taste.
BOTTOM LINE: So much fun, you won’t want it to end. Looking forward to book 4, The Irresistible Rogue, based on The Philadelphia Story
TEACUP RATING: Four-and-a-half out of five teacups.
ON SALE DATE: Available May 5, 2015, in paperback and eformats.
Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.