cover image The Irresistible Rogue

The Irresistible Rogue

Valerie Bowman. St. Martin’s Paperbacks, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-2

Bowman’s enjoyable fourth Playful Brides Regency (after The Unlikely Lady) puts a 19th-century spin on Philip Barry’s The Philadelphia Story. Lady Daphne Swift’s knowledge of Russian made her the perfect person to accompany Capt. Rafe Cavendish on a spy mission from England to Russia. In order to protect her reputation, she needed to marry him first, but their union was never consummated. On the eve of her engagement to another man, Rafe reappears, asking for her help before he will agree to an annulment. While Daphne claims that she never wanted their “marriage,” she can’t help her attraction to the dashing captain. Daphne is not a typical aristocratic young lady; she refuses to enjoy proper ladylike sedentary pursuits and must decide whether she is willing to break from the secure but stifling life her family has created for her and go after the one man she desires. And Rafe must learn to let go of the past and rise above his father’s demeaning criticisms of him if he’s going to allow Daphne into his life. Bowman’s novel is the complete package, filled with fascinating characters, sparkling romance, and a touch of espionage. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Nov.)