Title: What a Wallflower Wants
In the third novel in Maya Rodale's charming Wallflower series, London's Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . .
Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret.
Everyone knows that she's the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season—but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again.
John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody's hero.
He's a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future—that do not include a wife. When he finds himself stranded at a country inn with a captivating young woman, a delicate dance of seduction ensues. He knows he should keep his distance. And he definitely shouldn't start falling in love with her.
When Prudence's dark past comes back to haunt her, John must protect her—even though he risks revealing his own secrets that could destroy his future.
Author: Maya Rodale
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: The Wicked Wallflower, The Bad Boy Billionaire's Wicked Arrangement
Published by Avon Source: Publisher
Published: 30 September, 2014
Genres: Historical Romace
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Purchase your copy: Amazon
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The second title in this series I have read, the three ladies in this trilogy are scrambling to find husbands before the 100th anniversary of their finishing school, an event they are all expected to attend and glitter through. In this story, Prudence has been through 4 seasons without a proposal. Her attitude toward men is conflicted at best, and when we learn of her first season’s trauma and the reason for her withdrawing from all things male. Unfortunately, she has kept her experience a secret, as is all too common, and it has managed to affect every aspect of her life as she is constantly on guard, struggling to always appear ‘just so’ and the anxiety that this produces is characterized by a withdrawal. Finding a husband may just prove more difficult than expected for this young woman.
Enter Castleton, a Viscount with a bit of tarnish all having to do with a penchant for men, and a decided unwillingness to marry. John also has a major secret in his past, but his determination to move forward despite difficulties and obstacles give him the necessary ability to understand and not condemn Prudence for her past experience. And his innate charm and wit, combine in his rather alpha protectiveness toward all that need defending, and his all in this story is Pru.
Patience and gentling are the watchwords for Pru and John. Coaxing her feelings forward, showing her that not all men are beasts, encouraging her anger and not allowing her thoughts of vengeance to the one who attacked her to rule her life, but to be a step to move forward and heal, John’s approach with Pru, for the most part, is surprisingly appropriate and enlightened for a man of his era. And his willingness to let Pru escape when her feelings overwhelm her only to chase her back down and push her to face her fears, without anger or accusation but a simple sense of “I am here, again, I am not leaving”, is a clear and repeated demonstration of his feelings and intentions.
Then the shocker comes, and we start to see what John has been hiding: I was suspicious but Rodale managed to give hints that suggested, yet didn’t come close to the full reveal of the secret, and his determination to rise above and move forward, despite the several twists was admirable.
Rodale manages to bring in some truly unsavory moments to the story, but in flashbacks and retelling, feelings and learning to heal, the impact of Pru’s experience remains even as the horror of the act itself is never detailed. John’s position in society and his understanding of the inequities in the peer’s treatment of women the way his regard for the accepted way of doing things when contrasted against his own relationship with his sister does add to his relating to Prudence and her skittishness. Although there is an insta-love here, I appreciated his willingness to let Pru express her own feelings and desires on her own terms: while at first I think he saw a broken yet beautiful woman who he could help and save, the truth is, as Prudence finds her own footing on new ground, and is able to start to heal, the two seem to become stronger together and apart.
There are a few niggles with pacing and some undefined insertions that are never quite fully explained that seem to jump from little interior voices of warning, memory or feeling, but on the whole the story did wrap up nicely with two characters who find, deservedly so, a happy ending.
Mini excerpt from What a Wallflower Wants
By Maya Rodale
Miss Prudence Merryweather and Viscount Castleton find themselves stranded at a country in…with secrets. There is only one thing to do: he asks her to dance.
“Just one dance…that is all,” Castleton said. “I promise I won’t get any ideas.”
Prudence gazed up at him. Too bad she couldn’t explain why she was so hesitant. She was wasting her life, letting this fear hold her back. There was a handsome man before her, who had shown her nothing but kindness, and all he wanted was a dance. The truth was: she yearned in her heart of hearts to dance with him.
“All right,” she said softly.
The last time she placed her hand in another man’s it was the beginning of the end.
They began to dance.
She did not, as she feared, forget the steps. Hours and hours of her life spent practicing them so when this moment came—waltzing in the arms of a handsome man—she could move in time to the music without counting to three and so she could look into smoldering gaze instead of at her feet.
Prue forced her breath to be even. In. Out. In. Out. She willed her heart to beat in a steady rhythm as she tried to reclaim power over her emotions and fears.
Castleton’s gaze settled on her face. She peered up at him. This time she really looked at him focusing on his mouth, which was firm, sensual and smiling encouragingly.
“Are you having fun yet?” Castleton asked her affectionately.
Her gaze flew up to his. Ah, those eyes. Knowing. Dark.