THE ACCIDENTAL COUNTESS
Playful Brides Series, Book 2
by Valerie Bowman
St. Martin’s PressPublication Date: Oct 28, 2014
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Narrated by Alison Larkin
Running time 9 hrs
Audiobook provided by Tantor Audio for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
CAN A SCANDALOUS CHARADE LEAD TO TRUE AND LASTING LOVE?
For seven long years, Lady Cassandra Monroe has waited for the man of her dreams to return from the war. Unfortunately, he happens to be engaged to her flighty cousin. What Cass wouldn’t give to take her cousin’s place! When he mistakes Cass for Patience Bunbury, a fictitious friend her cousin has invented to escape social obligations…even with her future husband, Cass thinks this is her chance.
After defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, Captain Julian Swift is not quite ready to settle down and enter into his unwanted arranged marriage—especially when the real object of his affection turns out to be a beguiling beauty he meets at a party. Patience Bunbury is witty, independent, passionate…and, unbeknownst to him, the cousin of his current fiancée. When the truth about Cass comes out—and Julian discovers that their courtship is anything but accidental—will he surrender his heart to a woman who really is too good to be true?
This amusing story reminds me of a drawing room comedy with dramatic elements. It all depends on the premise that the man Cassandra loves, Julian, doesn’t recognize her. In today’s age of instant selfies and the internet, it’s hard to reconcile the idea that one could correspond with someone all the time, but not recognize her. It makes the premise seem silly but if you think about it, there were no photos, I don’t think even daguerreotypes were available at the time of this book which is the early nineteenth century. So the story’s impact depends on looking at romance from a Regency point of view.
With all the rushing from one room to another, flighty fiancees, mistaken identities and general silliness, this story reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST or LEND ME A TENOR by Ken Ludwig (which, though it is not British or Regency feels like a drawing room comedy). I love this kind of story – especially with a house party!
Even though it is funny there are some serious themes:
- Self-esteem is huge in this story. Some people have it unjustifiably, and others not at all do to extremely bad parenting. Where’s social services when you need them?
- Parenting, bad parenting and worse parenting.
- Loss. I cannot say more but there is loss.
- Steadfastness, loyalty, deep understanding of another person, friendship and love.
I had some issues keeping track of the support characters. And, Julian has a lot of anger over something in the story; it seemed out of proportion.
The madcap of the plot makes the story quick, and never dull! I felt very sympathetic towards Julian and Cassandra both. They obviously belong together!
I enjoyed the story, the narration was competent and I can’t even think of anything that stood out in it to bother me!
I recommend this one.
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