What a Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale

This was another DBSA podcast find. Those people know their romance books. This book was amazing…but first…

Trigger warning: This book has detailed descriptions of a rape, and rape is a prevalent theme throughout. Those who find this hard to read will want to avoid this one.

This was the third book in a trilogy by Maya Rodale, but it can be read as a standalone.

What a Wallflower Wants

One-Sentence Synopsis
After being compromised against her will, a young woman believes her dreams of love and marriage are finished, but a handsome and mysterious man wants to show her that she can still have those things…preferably with him. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
Where do I even start? This book was amazing from start to finish, and not just because the romance was one of the best I’ve ever read. This book was amazing because it handled a hard subject like rape in a way that didn’t shy away from what it was while still being tactful. It highlighted the possibility of finding happiness after a traumatic event, so though sad, it was also hopeful.

It was also relevant to how things are today. While people might not think there are a lot of similarities between current culture and those found in historical romances, the author has drawn attention to the parallel of women being expected to act a certain way and being shunned when they don’t, even if it puts them in danger. It highlights the polite way in which women are supposed to act, and it brings in the shame that a woman faces from society, even if she’s not at fault and her rapist has ruined her. How have we not made more progress in this area?

The Romance Factor
5/5 all the way on the Romance Factor. John, the hero, is fantastic and kind and patient. He’s intrigued by Prudence from the first time he meets her and quickly falls in love with her. He catches on quickly that something isn’t right, and the way he handles it…best hero ever.


Prudence is frightened of men in general, but she starts to trust John and eventually tells him the story she hasn’t shared with anyone else, not even her best friends. Not once does John try to “claim” her as his or try to avert authority. Instead, he goes slow, putting her needs before his and saving her when she’s almost attacked again. He’s written in a way that the reader never doubts how much he feels for her. So many feels…oh, so many.

The Steam Factor
Another 5/5, because while there aren’t very many (happy) sex scenes, the first intimacy Prudence and John have is one of the most steamy and sensual scenes ever…and they don’t even touch each other.

Hot Hiddleston

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
As far as the story goes, I have no complaints. I loved the whole thing. What was a little weird about this book was the use of text to convey certain emotions. It didn’t happen a lot, but in a few instances, the author uses all caps to convey the manner in which something is said. The thing that really cracked me up was the actual use of a strikethrough. I wasn’t mad about this. If anything, I kind of like the idea of using things like that to convey a mood or tone. So as far as anything goes, I don’t have any complaints, I just thought that was an interesting characteristic of Maya Rodale’s writing.

Final Thoughts
I’m afraid to read the first two books in the series because I’m worried they won’t hold up to this one. I mean, I’m going to, but I’m prepared to realize that this book set a really high bar. Not only did Rodale tell a beautiful romance story, she also worked it around a tragic event and she did it with tact and care and an honesty that, while difficult at times to read, made the quality of the book that much higher.

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