The Legendary Lord (Playful Brides #6) by Valerie Bowman

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When Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley, flees the stuffy ballrooms of London for his Scottish hunting lodge, the last thing he expects to find ensconced before his fire is an incredibly beautiful woman. But the plight of lovely young Sarah Highgate, who has run away from an unwanted betrothal, inspires an eminently practical exchange. He’ll safeguard her reputation with the ton while she advises him how to best attract a proper bride…

As the undisputed belle of the season, Sarah has enchanted plenty of suitors. Still, she isn’t interested in marriage, especially not to the pompous bore her father has chosen for her. But her hasty escape seems reckless now that she’s estranged from her family and has no one to count on besides Christian. Turning the lucklesslord into such a catch has another unplanned consequence for Sarah: Has he run away with her heart.

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Publisher and Release Date:  St. Martin’s Paperbacks   November 2016

Time and Setting: England and Scotland, 1816
Genre:  Historical Romance
Heat Level:  2
Reviewer Rating:  4 stars

Review by Lady Cicely

One seeks solitude and one seeks an escape from an arranged marriage.  Fate has other plans.

Lady “do as you’re told” Sarah Highgate has run from an arranged marriage to a self-absorbed, titled peacock.  Unfortunately, however, things haven’t gone to plan and she’s ended up stranded in a small cottage in Scotland.  When her maid is injured the cottage’s overseer takes her to town to see the physician leaving Sarah with only a small dog, better known as Fergus II, as company.  Sarah is not one to sit idly by and she makes use of her time cooking, cleaning and knitting sweaters for Fergus II, all things a lady of quality would never dream of doing.  Her peace is soon shattered when an intruder barges in in the middle of a snow storm and she realizes her folly in running and what it means to her reputation.

Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley, barely manages to make it to his cottage in Scotland before the snow storm hits.  Longing to be away from London’s fickle ton, his peace and quiet is shattered when he finds a beautiful woman asleep in his bed. Realizing Sarah’s reputation will be ruined should it get out that she ran away Christian makes a proposal – he will help get her back to London with a flawless cover story but she has to help instruct him in how to impress a woman so he can find a wife.

As the transformation begins, Sarah silently vows to never disobey her parents again even while falling for MR. Christian Forester.  Learning what society expects from a person in order for them to be noticed, Christian soon realizes how unusual Sarah is for a member of that illustrious set.

Back in London, Sarah quickly remembers why she ran and continues to put off setting a wedding date.  It doesn’t help that she is constantly being thrown into Christian’s company and her fiancé pales in comparison; but being the dutiful daughter she is determined to wed as directed by her parents.  Sarah’s plan to make Christian into a legend is a success; Christian’s only problem is the one woman he wants is determined to marry a man she doesn’t love. 

The Legendary Lord is a well written tale of desire versus duty and how it affects everyone involved.  Sarah is written as a strong, caring woman whose sense of duty to her parents is so strong she is willing to forsake her own happiness.  Ms. Bowman writes Christian as a down to earth man – not an entitled lord – looking for the one thing that has eluded him his entire life. 

From the first chapter to the end Ms. Bowman held my attention and had me both loving the characters and wanting to shake sense into them both.  While bringing in Christian’s friends from previous books could have been confusing she does so in a way that a new reader would not be lost by not having read a previous book.

I enjoyed the book and would recommend to fans of the author, new readers and lovers of historical romance in general.

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