28 October 2013

The Wicked Wallflower (Bad Boys & Wallflowers #1)

Summary from Goodreads:

Maya Rodale's captivating new series introduces London's Least Likely—three wallflowers who are about to become the toast of the ton…

Lady Emma Avery has accidentally announced her engagement—to the most eligible man in England. As soon as it's discovered that Emma has never actually met the infamously attractive Duke of Ashbrooke, she'll no longer be a wallflower; she'll be a laughingstock. And then Ashbrooke does something Emma never expected. He plays along with her charade.

A temporary betrothal to the irreproachable Lady Avery could be just the thing to repair Ashbrooke's tattered reputation. Seducing her is simply a bonus. And then Emma does what he never expected: she refuses his advances. It's unprecedented. Inconceivable. Quite damnably alluring.

London's Least Likely to Misbehave has aroused the curiosity—among other things—of London's most notorious rogue. Now nothing will suffice but to uncover Emma's wanton side and prove there's nothing so satisfying as two perfect strangers…being perfectly scandalous together.

Rodale's books always put me in a quandary when I go to rate/review them.  On the one hand, I find them inaccurate in the attention to detail and language that I prefer in my Regencies/historicals and possibly over-plotted in the lead up to the resolution, but on the other I quite like her hero/heroine pairings and plot elements.

"Least Likely to Misbehave" is a terrible misnomer when the punishment for stepping outside Society's strictures is ruin and ostracism. The false betrothal announcement was just for fun, it was never meant to be sent to the paper and when it appears in print Emma is particularly lucky that Blake is in need of a very respectable fiancee.

I particularly like Lady Emma in this instance and is very much the stronger character of this pairing. She's allowed to have doubts, as annoying as they are to the reader, right up until the very end. Blake seems more of a stock character at times - the Reformed/Reforming Rake is a very popular type - but he has an interesting relationship with his aunt. (I would have offed the character of Benedict, Emma's waffling long-time suitor, much earlier in the book. What a wanker.) Speaking of Blake's aunt, Agatha, the section of the book that makes up the Fortune Games is a hilarious riff on the popular Hunger Games young adult series and movies. Very imaginative and a way to get her hero and heroine together without parents for a good portion of the book. The Wicked Wallflower is the first in Maya Rodale's new series Bad Boys & Wallflowers that will consist of historicals with contemporary companion novels, the first being The Bad Boy Billionaire's Wicked Arrangement.

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