Wallflowers #1-4 by Lisa Kleypas (2004-2006)
Fiction | Historical Romance | (TV-MA)
Oh my goodness I ended up binge-reading this entire series! I love Jane Austen’s novels and these are very similar in style but, well, less reserved (lol). It’s been a while since I found a historical fiction tale that so captivated my attention and of course I didn’t mind the romance!
The thing for me when it comes to the romance genre is that while a good romp is always fun, what I require is substance. A large point in favor of these books is that simply “hitting a home run” is not the objective, rather there is so much characterization, plot, world-building, realism, and historical dedication that even if it were as polite as Jane Austen’s books I would still love them and read them many a time. (And yes before you annoy me with it I do realize that Austen and Wallflowers do not take place in the same era. It is beside the point. And really the British aristocracy evolves so slowly there is little difference.)
The Wallflowers series is a set of Victorian romance novels each of which follow the love story for one of the four Wallflowers. These four girls who always find themselves seated at the fringes of balls, no suitors’ names on their dance cards, have had enough. The men won’t come to them so they decide to team up and use a touch of polite persuasion to find suitable matches for them all. Although things don’t quite go how they expect….
It really was fun to read these books! They had me laughing, swooning, clutching my heart in fear, swooning, grimacing, swooning, glued to the page, and did I mention swooning? I admit it, despite what I always thought about my reading tastes I found myself utterly riveted and grasping for the next book the moment I finished the last. Fortunately these are standalone tales (although obviously linked by the Wallflowers’ quest) so you don’t have to pull out your hair over any dreadful cliffhangers and you may rest easy knowing that each one has a Happily Ever After ending (Oh who am I kidding? It’s a testament to the writing to say that you will endure many trials and worries, often stopping to remind yourself that it does have an HEA resolution, but it makes that ending all the more sweeter).
Favorite: Devil in Winter
Least Favorite: Secrets of a Summer Night
P.S. My only complaint is that Cam doesn’t get his own book! There are two spinoff stories (one about Mr. Westcliff’s sister (Again the Magic) and another about the Bowman sisters’ brother (A Wallflower Christmas) but I really wanted one about Cam. I suppose as these were written over a decade ago there is no point hoping but a part of me will always yearn. *swoony sigh*
UPDATE: I just found out that Cam does get his own book!!!!!! Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways #1) ♥
Secrets of a Summer Night
Goodreads | Amazon
Four young ladies at the side of the ballroom make a pact to help each other find husbands . . . no matter what it takes
Proud and beautiful Annabelle Peyton could have her pick of suitors—if only she had a dowry. Her family is on the brink of disaster, and the only way Annabelle can save them is to marry a wealthy man. Unfortunately her most persistent admirer is the brash Simon Hunt, a handsome and ambitious entrepreneur who wants her as his mistress.
Annabelle is determined to resist Simon’s wicked propositions, but she can’t deny her attraction to the boldly seductive rogue, any more than he can resist the challenge she presents. As they try to outmaneuver each other, they find themselves surrendering to a love more powerful than they could have ever imagined. But fate may have other plans—and it will take all of Annabelle’s courage to face a peril that could destroy everything she holds dear.
It Happened One Autumn
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Four young ladies enter London society with one necessary goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So they band together, and a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.
It happened at the ball…
Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren’t entirely “the thing.” And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London’s most eligible aristocrat.
It happened in the garden…
When Marcus shockingly—and dangerously—swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn’t even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed… thank goodness they weren’t caught very nearly in the act!
It happened one autumn…
Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly unsuitable… as his bride?
Devil in Winter
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Four young ladies enter London society and band together to each find a husband. Has the third “Wallflower” now met her match?
A Devil’s Bargain
Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!
Sebastian’s reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden’s good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.
But Evie’s proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine’s callously discarded broken hearts—which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions… or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.
Scandal in Spring
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After spending three London seasons searching for a husband, Daisy Bowman’s father has told her in no uncertain terms that she must find a husband. Now. And if Daisy can’t snare an appropriate suitor, she will marry the man he chooses—the ruthless and aloof Matthew Swift.
Daisy is horrified. A Bowman never admits defeat, and she decides to do whatever it takes to marry someone… anyone… other than Matthew. But she doesn’t count on Matthew’s unexpected charm… or the blazing sensuality that soon flares beyond both their control. And Daisy discovers that the man she has always hated just might turn out to be the man of her dreams.
But right at the moment of sweet surrender, a scandalous secret is uncovered… one that could destroy both Matthew and a love more passionate and irresistible than Daisy’s wildest fantasies.
Meet Lisa Kleypas!
LISA KLEYPAS is the RITA award-winning author of 21 novels. Her books are published in fourteen languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband and two children.