Saturday, September 27, 2014

Review - - What a Wallflower Wants

What A Wallflower Wants
Wicked Wallflower Series-Book 3
By Maya Rodale
Publisher: Avon
Release Date:  September 30, 2014

I have been a fan of Maya Rodale and her books ever since I read her debut The Heir and the Spare back in 2007. From the start, I was taken by her smart writing and lively and entertaining characters. In her Wicked Wallflower series, we meet three best friends, Emma, Olivia, and Prudence who are running up against a deadline to find husbands.  So, in order to find and attract a husband in time, they engage in all sorts of schemes and shenanigans to get their happy ever afters. What A Wallflower Wants is the final book in the series, and we finally find out what Rodale has in store for Prudence. Rodale’s books are known for their humor, wit, and charm. But her latest book is a bit of a departure for her. What A Wallflower Wants is a bit darker in tone and deals with the painful and sensitive topic of rape and sexual violence.

Prudence Merryweather Payton has been deemed “Prude Prudence” and “London’s Least Likely To Be Caught In A Compromising Position” by the ton. But no one knows about the incident with The Beast that happened four years ago that haunts her still and rendered her “ruined” and “unmarriageable.” It has also left her deeply fearful and distrustful of men, and understandably so. But still, she is expected to marry and Prudence can’t figure out a solution to her dilemma. Until she meets John Roark, Viscount Castleton, and they end up stranded together at a rural inn.

What I love most about Rodale’s books are her heroines. Rodale heroines push the boundaries of “acceptable ladylike behavior” all in the name of love and living the best and most fulfilling lives they can. Rodale heroines learn to toss aside silly restrictive rules that don’t make sense, even if society deems it “shocking” and “scandalous” because love is worth it. Prudence definitely learns this lesson to wonderful effect. Prudence learns to reclaim her past and body. She learns to forgive herself and heap the shame and blame on the one who deserves it-the perpetrator. Prudence also learns that she is a woman of strength and courage who should give herself more credit.  I really loved the way Prudence gradually opens up to John and her friends, finds her voice, and learns to fight for what she wants, instead of passively letting life happen to her.  I admired Prudence’s strength and resilience, and you can’t help but want her to get the fairy tale happy ending she’s convinced isn’t in the cards for her.

John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is a man with a plan. He is determined to make it to the Great Exhibition to meet the men responsible for the Difference Engine in an effort to make secure his family’s future. He is also a man with secrets-huge secrets that have potentially devastating consequences. But despite that, we see from the beginning that he is a good man who is caring and sensitive. He sees into Prudence and can tell that she is wounded, and that rouses his protective instincts. His compassion, understanding, and sensitivity towards Prudence makes him hero-worthy for sure. His core of decency and goodness made him very attractive and appealing. John won me over with how hard he worked to gain Prudence’s trust, and showing her how a real man treats a woman.  I especially loved John teaching her self-defense. However, I will admit that the fallout from John’s deception was wrapped up in a neat little bow, perhaps a bit too neat for some. But, it is definitely not outside the realm of possibility, and thus it was believable to me.

As with all of Rodale’s book, What A Wallflower Wants is an excellent enjoyable read that I recommend highly. It is a sweet and tender love story that will definitely tug at your heartstrings. You can’t help but root for Prudence and John despite the overwhelming obstacles between them. These are two people who want more out of life, even though society tells them they can’t/shouldn’t have it. The fact that they overcome those odds together through faith, love, and trust makes their happy ending together all the sweeter. And in true romance tradition, the villain (and there is definitely a vile villain in this story) gets what’s coming to him.  

The Wicked Wallflower series also has three fun sexy contemporary novellas that tie into the books. If you haven’t read the Big Bad Billionaire novellas, I definitely recommend those too!


The e-ARC of What a Wallflower Wants was received from Avon as part of the Avon Addicts program.


  1. Thanks for the review, Lisa! This is one I definitely want to read!

  2. I read the first book in the series & plan to read the whole series now. Thanks for the review!

  3. Great review, Lisa! This book sounds like one I'd love to read!

  4. I've been so excited to read this book and am even more so after reading your review, Lisa!