Books are my escape...I need it. My life is super busy between working full time, being a mom of 2 super social kids, a traveling husband, and an annoying habit of not being able to say "No".
What a Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
"What a Wallflower Wants", the final book in the Bad Boys & Wallflowers series by Maya Rodale, is a surprise. The series revolves around three women who are London's "Least Likely" and find themselves in desperation mode to get married before the One Hundred Year Anniversary of Lady Penelope's Finishing School for Young Ladies of Fine Families. The humiliation of attending unwed or not betrothed is too great so the ladies have been on a quest to get hitched. The first two books in the series focused on Emma and Olivia and now this book focuses on the remaining wallflower, Prudence.
The surprise comes in why Prudence is still unwed. Evidentially, Prudence was attacked her first season by a peer and since then has largely avoided men altogether while keeping this a secret from her closest friends. It is a huge source of anxiety for her as she constantly evaluates where to stand, sit, look, and even eat it would seem so as not to be in close physical contact with a male. She doesn't even take her footmen's hand to get in and out of her carriage because the touch bothers her.
This proves problematic as she calculates a way to get married in time for the ball with a peer who has a penchant for men so she guesses she'll be safe with him. But horrible circumstances occur and she ends up in an Inn in some out of the way town to wait out heavy rain before she can go back to London.
It is here that she meets Castleton. He is such a thoughtful, caring, sweet hero that I found myself warming to him in the same way that Prudence tries to. It is so hard for her to get close to him and each time he gets too close, she ditches him and runs. It is such a let down! But I was sympathetic to her character and due to Rodale's character development, I "got it" and didn't judge Prudence like she thought everyone would.
I have to say the way Rodale handled Prudence's traumatic experience was nicely done. I am sensitive to stories regarding rape and many readers are. It would be easy to be turned off and avoid the book if it were told more graphically. But Rodale describes it in bits and pieces. She offers a little, then holds back for awhile, then a little more, then holds back again. I thought it was a good easing in so the reader could accept Prudence's account with little aversion to the entire book. It was a good call to have Castleton be familiar with peers and their attitude toward women, namely his sister, so that he had some credibility with Prudence and they fit better as a result.
The interaction between them is cute and enjoyable. Then the unthinkable villan enters the picture and messes a lot of things up for them and the story takes a few turns. It was quite shocking what comes out about Castleton and I found myself surprised. I started to suspect but then wasn't sure, so I thought Rodale foreshadowed well without giving too much away.
All in all, this is an enjoyable read. I like my books a little steamier though, and unfortunately, or really fortunately, there was more substance to this story. I was engrossed and happy with how everything was laid out. The wrap of up these girls and their stories was nice and tidy. A good series to read.
Thanks to Edelweiss who provided a review copy for my review.
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