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.
**I feel I must be very clear right now. This novel, and therefore, this review deals with the aftermath of rape. In the novel, the despicable action is presented in a brief way (as in non-graphic) – but Pru’s life since and her recovery from the rape during this novel must be addressed now. This may be a trigger for some readers – I apologize and ask that you read no further. Just as I feel it was a gutsy move for the author to write about this subject – I also feel the need to give my thoughts on this novel.**
Read on for my thoughts on What a Wallflower Wants.
What a Wallflower Wants is the final novel in the Wallflower series. Throughout the series we knew Pru, she was there in the storylines but she was always barely there. I suspected she had an interesting story that we would one day soon discover – but I wasn’t really expecting this.
At the time in history that Prudence’s story is written women had very few true choices. Their reputation was the only true thing that they could hold on to with pride. The smallest thing could ruin a young girl forever. Which is totally unfair, but it was the way of Pru’s world.
I admire Prudence for holding herself together. For being able to be truly happy at her friends happily ever afters, knowing that such an outcome was not likely in her future. I admire her strength for simply surviving because for the women of her time suicide would have been one ready answer. .. it never is no matter what the time period.
Prudence knows what is at stake and she just needs to get through one last season and then head off to the country to be left alone. If only that pesky ball at her former school wasn’t soon, and she would be the only alumni who never managed to marry. She devises a scheme to get herself married, which goes badly as her bumbling future husband pushes her out of the carriage in order to save himself from a highwayman. And walks through the down-pouring rain towards an Inn down the road… and towards her future.
John Roark, Viscount Castleton was having a good run, in spite of the storm dumping constant rain upon him. He was heading toward the warmth of an Inn down the road, and watching the swaying skirts of the determined young lady ahead of him sloshing through the mud toward the same Inn. She curtly refuses a ride from a stranger and continues on her way. Roark will start the first of his good deeds towards Pru as he takes a room for her (separate from his own) and has a warm bath set up for the stubborn young lady upon her muddy, soaking wet arrival.
I would like to leave John and Prudence’s story right there. They deserve to have their story read, because it is a love story yes – but it is so much more. Two souls, secrets that hold them back in their world take the risk on loving each other past it all. It is a novel well worth your emotional investment.
Rape is never acceptable. Never. Not in real life nor in fiction. I must state that I do admire Maya Rodale for including this particular story slant in the Wallflowers series. It is a subject that is tiptoed around in historical romances, and sometimes used as the beginning of a love story in contemporary romances. There is nothing romantic about forcing someone to have sex. Rape is disgusting and rapists should face the hardest measure of the law. Victims need help, compassion, affection and most of all… to be believed.
What a Wallflower Wants is available at Amazon in paperback, audio and on Kindle