cover image The Accidental Countess

The Accidental Countess

Valerie Bowman. St. Martin’s Paperbacks, $7.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-1-2

Bowman draws on the identity confusion capers of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest in the charming second entry in her Playful Brides Regency series (after The Unexpected Duchess). Capt. Julian Swift, an untitled second son who served in the Napoleonic wars, returns to London in the autumn of 1815. Cassandra Monroe has been exchanging heartfelt correspondence with him, and a deep emotional connection has grown between them, but Julian is intended to be betrothed to Cass’s cousin, Penelope. When an unenthusiastic Penelope uses a house party with the fictional Patience Bunbury to evade meeting Julian, Cass decides to boldly adopt the persona of Patience in order to spend time with her beloved pen pal. Antics ensue. Readers who are frustrated by Cass’s initial passivity and the contrivances and coincidences demanded by the story’s source material will be rewarded by Bowman’s depiction of the intimate caring connecting between Cass and Julian. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Nov.)