Book Review: The Wicked Wallflower by Maya Rodale

A little personal news: A novel I wrote several years ago is currently being beta read, and I have been doing research on publishing, both self-publishing and through a publisher. I’m pretty sure I know which way I want to go, but the whole thing is a little daunting. I’ve been sitting on several novels for several years without doing anything with them, so this time around I’m really trying to take things one step at a time and actually get something out there that I wrote. Fingers crossed I follow through.

Now, onto the book review.

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One-Sentence Synopsis
A drunken plot becomes a reality, and a plain young woman finds herself suddenly “engaged” to the most eligible bachelor in town. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Haters Gonna Hate
Emma and her friends are wallflowers who have each  been given insulting nicknames by members of society who are less than kind. One thing these books have taught me? The ton are a bunch of douchebags.

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Drunken Regrets
Emma is in love with a man who has courted her for three seasons, but when she and her besties get drunk on sherry, they write a fake announcement that includes a lofty fantasy of Emma being engaged to the Duke of Ashbrooke, a most eligible bachelor and known rake. Emma has no intentions of doing anything with the letter, but someone else does, and the fake engagement ends up in the papers, setting Emma up for complete humiliation when everyone finds out it’s a lie.

Regency Survivor
Enter Blake, the Duke of Ashbrooke, who needs funding for his invention but can’t get it because those who could give him money can’t take him seriously because his rakish ways. When the surprise announcement shows up in the paper, Blake realizes this might be exactly what he needs, especially since his aunt is getting ready to hold her annual version of a present day reality TV show. So he goes a long with it, making a deal with Emma that if they win his aunt’s contest, she can keep half the fortune to do with as she wants, including getting the man she loves to marry her.

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No Makeover Needed
Heroines who believe they’re not worthy of a handsome man are my favorites, especially when their counterpart is a handsome man who realizes just how beautiful the heroine is. Though he tries to resist, Blake falls in love with Emma, and he seems to realize they should be together before she does. Warm fuzzies were afoot when he realized just how beautiful she was. I love that whole Truth About Cats and Dogs philosophy about someone becoming more beautiful the more you know them. It gets me every time.

Pleasure (?) Games
The concept of the games entertained me, though for some reason I was thinking they were going to be much more debauched. I was expecting a giant orgy, but it was really just an old lady messing with people’s heads. It still cracked me up, it just wasn’t as scandalous as I expected.

The Romance Factor
The way Blake and Emma skirt around each other is wonderful, and Blake flirting while Emma pretends she’s completely unaffected was my type of foreplay. Their banter was fun, and I was definitely invested in their story and relationship. When conflict threatened, my heart broke a little for them, even though I knew they’d get a happy ending. 5/5

The Steam Factor
Though not highly detailed, I love the sensuality and eroticism that the author put into the steamy scenes…even when very little touching happened. Blake and Emma spend a night together writing fake love letters to strengthen the ruse of their engagement. Being able to read the story from both points of view and seeing what each of them are thinking is one of my favorite things, and it just ups the excitement and titillation of the scene. 4/5

Final Thoughts
There seemed to be several negative reviews for this one, but I loved it. It was a fun, romantic read with enough angst and conflict to keep me hanging on.

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