cover image The Untamed Earl

The Untamed Earl

Valerie Bowman. St. Martin’s, $7.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-07258-0

Bowman’s Playful Brides Regency series (after The Irresistible Rogue) is inspired by classic works of literature; this charming fifth episode draws on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Lord Owen Monroe, heir to the Earl of Moreland, is one of London’s most well-known rakes until his father orders him to settle down. The earl expects him to woo Lady Lavinia Hobbs, eldest daughter of the Duke of Huntley, a woman who, though beautiful, has a reputation for being somewhat of a shrew. Lady Alexandra, Lavinia’s younger sister, has been in love with Owen for years and fears that he will be forced to wed her sister. In an effort to spend more time with Owen, she asks him to help make her a success in London’s ballrooms, and in exchange, she will help him win Lavinia’s heart. But some of the suggestions she gives to Owen will cause Lavinia to dislike him more, and Alexandra hopes that he will turn to her instead. The cleverly executed reappearance of characters from earlier installments adds allure to the innocent romance and carefully orchestrated seduction. Readers will be especially drawn to Alexandra, a refreshingly open and honest woman. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary. (May)