Playful Brides, Book 10
I think I may have read a couple of the books in this series, some of the minor characters seemed somewhat familiar. Bowman takes a very typical plotline in historical romances, the commoner and the royal who can’t possibly marry, and does a terrific job with it.
In this case, Lady Regina has been orphaned at a young age and raised by her uncle. She is firmly “on the shelf” having rejected many suitors as she approaches her thirtieth birthday. Her uncle is dying and it is his final wish to see her married. To that end, she is affianced to a neighboring peer. He is moderately good looking at least, but a snob and a bore and Regina can’t imagine spending her life with this man. But she is a dutiful young woman and makes peace with the decision.
The book opens with Regina visiting a Bow Street Runner whom she met when he was hired to solve the murder of a relative. She was strongly attracted to him, and she decides if she is going to spend her life with a bore, she wants her first time with a man to be her decision. To that end, she visits Daffin Oakleaf, the runner, in his office and propositions him. Badly. She bungles it, he rejects her offer, and she is beyond embarrassed.
But when someone tries to run her carriage off the road, Oakleaf is hired to protect her. Spending all that time together forces them to learn about one another and eventually fall in love. But Oakleaf knows he can’t marry her because of the difference in their stations – or can he?
A delightful romance with some humor, witty dialogue and well developed characters I couldn’t help but care about. Regina was smart and sassy and Oakleaf was dark and damaged. The combination was explosive and made this a really fun read.
10/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
KISS ME AT CHRISTMAS by Valerie Bowman. St. Martin’s Paperbacks (October 30, 2018). ISBN 978-1250147523. 320p.