Wallflowers, Book 4.5
Heat Factor: Get cozy on the rug in front of the fire heat level
Character Chemistry: Very solid, considering it’s a novella that also involves all four Wallflowers
Plot: I shouldn’t love you, you rogue, but I can’t help myself.
Overall: Very good for a snuggle with a blanket and a cuppa
Rafe Bowman is your typical alpha hero with money, swagger, and ego. He’s the son of an American millionaire who’s seeking to improve his social status through the marriages of his children. The daughters of the family have done their part, and now it’s Rafe’s turn to marry a perfect English lady.
Hannah Appleton is not a perfect English lady. She is prim, and she is proper, but she’s not an English rose and she doesn’t have the noble pedigree so attractive to American money. Hannah is acting as a companion to the lady Rafe’s father has selected, and she does not believe Rafe will be good for Lady Natalie at all.
For his part, Rafe is/isn’t willing to do what his father asks. It’s not like he has any burning desire to marry anyone else, and he does have a burning desire to run his father’s business in Europe. This is, naturally, contingent on his marriage because parents just need control. Rafe is also his own man, and just because daddy said jump doesn’t mean he’s gonna say, “How high?” So the minute Hannah Appleton walks into his sister’s house, he’s smitten. For her part, Hannah takes a little minute to warm up to Rafe. It’s that whole, “I think you’re a player and a Bad Man, but I still have the hots for you, but I probably shouldn’t, but I DOOOOOOOOO!”
I don’t want to spoil it because the ending actually did manage to give me some butterflies. Novellas don’t usually do that just because of their length. I do love a hero who knows himself well enough to know he’ll take what he wants…and he knows when he shouldn’t. Now, this one isn’t going to be for everybody. There’s some relationship framing that probably wouldn’t fly today. Here’s what I mean:
Slowly Bowman took his lips from hers and guided her head to his chest, which moved beneath her cheek with strong, uneven breaths. A mischievous whisper tickled her ear. “This is how we court girls in America. We grab them and kiss them. And if they don’t like it, we do it again, harder and longer, until they surrender. It saves us hours of witty repartee.”
So please go into this with your eyes wide open.
Because we’d never met either Rafe or Hannah in a prior book, the initial draw of this book for those of us who are already Kleypas fans is that we get to revisit the Wallflowers. The story takes part almost entirely at the residence of Lord and Lady Westcliff (It Happened One Autumn), which makes sense because Rafe is Lillian, Lady Westcliff’s brother. And of course Annabel Hunt (Secrets of a Summer Night) and Evie, Lady St. Vincent (Devil in Winter) live in London where the Westcliffs reside about half the time, so they’re in London with Rafe and Lillian before everybody jaunts off to the countryside. And finally, since it’s a Christmas party, Lillian and Rafe’s little sister Daisy Swift (Scandal in Spring) joins the party with her new husband. By reintroducing these four beloved heroines, Kleypas gives us a fun little glimpse into the romance after the Romance that makes epilogues and sequels and series so fun. She does a good job, too, of giving us that satisfaction while still spinning the story of Rafe and Lillian without losing sight of them.
This is a solid, snuggle-up-on-your-Christmas-couch read. Enjoy it, especially if you love the Wallflowers as much as I do.
Buy Now: Amazon
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