The Accidental Countess by Valerie Bowman

December 16, 2014 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★½

The Accidental Countess by Valerie BowmanThe Accidental Countess by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #2
Published by St Martin's Paperbacks on October 28, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 321
Format: Audiobook

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?

Lady Cassandra Monroe has waited what seems like a lifetime for Captain Julian Swift to return from the war.   She’s imagined a life with him and pined for his presence and comfort of his arms.  There’s only one problem.  He’s engaged to her cousin, Penelope.  A cousin who wants nothing to do with the dashing Captain Swift!  When Julian returns and mis-identifies Cassandra as Penelope’s (fictitious) friend Patience, Cassandra is unwillingly pulled into a deception that gives her the freedom to explore who she is and what she wants while also gaining the opportunity to grow closer to Julian.  But Cassandra is about to discover how one small deception can quickly become a tangled web of lies and hurt feelings.

Julian Swift is a former soldier.  He carries awful memories of the war alongside those of his verbally abusive childhood.  As such, he also carries a great deal of guilt and self-loathing.  Yet despite this background, he is disciplined, loyal, and honorable.  He is torn between his desire to end his unwanted engagement to Penelope Monroe, his love for her cousin Cassandra Monroe, and his unexpected lust for Patience Bunbury.

Cassandra Monroe has loved Julian Swift since she was a teenager.  Ever the dutiful daughter, Cassandra has kept her feelings a secret, even from Penelope, and silently watched as her cousin tries everything she can think of to avoid Julian and the engagement.  When Julian leaves for the war, Cassandra promises to write him every day since Penelope will not.

Cassandra and Julian’s story is beautiful and emotional.  It is clear that they fell in love of their years of letter-writing.  Friends first, lovers second, this couple just seems to instinctively know what the other needs.  Cassandra’s unwilling masquerade as Patience Bunbury creates a series of humorous escapades and sensual encounters with Julian.  When her secret comes out, I thought Julian over-reacted given his less-than-honorable actions with “Patience,” but the ending more than made up for it!

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