Lord Owen Monroe has quite a reputation for gambling and womanizing. Tired of his behavior, his father gives him an ultimatum. Owen is to become betrothed within a month and settle down or his monthly pension will end. Additionally, his father has even picked out his bride. However, Owen's bride-to-be must choose him herself. When Owen mistakes Alexandra for Lavinia at a social event, he finds her fascinating. But then he discovers his mistake and has the misfortune of meeting the real Lavinia. Although he tries to court Lavinia, she consistently shows her disdain for him and he finds himself seeking out Alexandra wherever he goes. When Alexandra offers to turn him into the perfect suitor by giving him insights into her sister's likes and dislikes, he accepts. But when her true motives come to light, will it end the attraction between them, or will it be the beginning of a lifetime of love?
A fun read, THE UNTAMED EARL, the fifth book in author Valerie Bowman's PLAYFUL BRIDES series, is a witty, sexy historical romance. Misunderstood by his father, Owen goes out of his way to live up to his father's estimation of him, but Alexandra sees the real man behind his façade and falls for him. Meanwhile, Alexandra is also overlooked by her family as they give all their affection to her once sickly sister. Together, Owen and Alexandra find true love and a soulmate with whom they can be themselves. Whenever they are in the same room, the chemistry between them is palpable.
This story was inspired by Shakespeare's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and it doesn't take much guess work to figure out which part Lavinia represents. Lavinia, the villain in this tale, does not want Alexandra to have Owen, even though she doesn't want him either. Two sisters could not be more different than Alexandra and Lavinia. I really enjoyed Alexandra, but if Ms. Bowman plans a book for Lavinia, I cannot see, at this point, how she can be redeemed enough to be likable. However, with Ms. Bowman's wonderful gift for storytelling, I am sure she can accomplish this feat.
Humor, passion, plot twists and turns, wonderfully betrayed characters, snappy dialogue and true love combine to make this light, playful romance absolutely delightful. Fans of Regency romance will particularly enjoy this story. Although this story can be understood as a standalone, I believe readers will enjoy it even more by acquiring the previous books in the series first and getting acquainted with the various characters since they reappear in this novel and have their own hand in the romance. For some great entertainment, pick up THE UNTAMED EARL today! While you are at it, you may want to also pick up the previous books in the series: THE UNEXPECTED DUCHESS, THE ACCIDENTAL COUNTESS, THE UNLIKELY LADY and THE IRRESISTIBLE ROGUE, as well as the novella entitled THE UNFORGETTABLE HERO.