#Review To Win A Wallflower by Liz Tyner (@LizTyner1) #ToWinAWallflower #Regency #Romance @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks
From a marriage masquerade…
…to his bride for real!
Viscount’s son Barrett prefers building his empire to securing a bride—and a wager to spend a week in sheltered Annie Carson’s family home won’t change that! But Barrett doesn’t expect Annie to be so captivating, and when she runs away to find her scandalous sister he must bring her home. To protect innocent Annie’s reputation they pretend to be married! Will Barrett lose the wager…and win his wallflower?
This is an interesting story that is far more complex than you initially think, which is what I love about Ms Tyner’s work, she takes what is a very basic trope and storyline and gives it a twist and it ends up being fresh and new. To Win A Wallflower is no different, at first glance it does appear to be a basic marriage of convenience story; rake meets wallflower they find themselves in questionable circumstances only to end up married. Yes, this does go along those lines but this is something else, when I first started reading I did think that I had read the back blurb of a different book and I did become slightly perplex as to where the story was going. But that is only because the story starts off in such a different way to what we have come to expect from this trope and I am very happy to say once I got to know the character’s and why the story started as it did, it all fell into place nicely as we got into the story. And that story ended up being playful, heart-warming, emotional and witty.
The story opens where Viscount’s Barrett is staying with the Carson family for the week under the illusion of forging an alliance in business. But his real motives for being there is because he has been told that the daughter is one of the most beautiful women that society has ever seen – or in her case, not seen. But his actual motives for being there is to win a wager he has with his brother, a wager if won will give him some rest from his drunk, bullying father. But in order to win he must spend the full week under the same roof as Annie Carson and more than that not touch her, and prove he is more interested in building his business empire than gaining a wife. All goes well, that is until he finally sets eyes upon the illusive Annie, one glimpse of a bracelet clad wrist and the sound of a tinkling laugh makes the cold and focused Barrett feel thing’s he never thought he could, she makes him want to care for someone deserving.
He becomes captivated by her, she is the most innocent and pure thing he has ever laid eyes upon and when he comes to terms with his unrelenting attraction her, Annie decides to break away from her suffocating life and flee to her scandalous sister. He may act uncaring and a little rakish but he is a gentleman which is why as soon as he hears Annie has fled he is the first to go after her. It is here when the real fun starts and the story grabs you, as to not cause scandal they must put on a charade of them being married.
Annie is treated like a little show doll, only to be allowed out to show her off, only allowed to go out with her controlling parent’s and never on her own, only allowed to meet and socialize strictly approved person’s. She misses her sisters, she is lonely and wants more than what she has. Which is why she decides to run away, only problem with that is she is so naive and innocent she has no idea of the way of the world and the dangers everywhere. Even though the most dangerous thing is the devilishly attractive man who has turned up to take her back to her parents. Who she knows as soon as they get their hands on her she will be back in the attic never to see daylight again.
I love Barrett, he is so different to how we see aristocrat’s, he is a man who is trying to distance himself from his cruel up-bringing, trying to make something of himself that doesn’t involve being who he is supposed to be in the eyes of the ton – and in the eyes of his manipulative, drunk of a father. Really that man is vile, the way he treats everyone around him and especially his son is terrible and yet he is one of those kind of men who think that just because they have a title they think that they can do and act however they like. Grrr I do hate those people! Barrett may act the ultimate rake but there is a real vulnerability beneath that cold mask, he is a man who doesn’t allow any to get too close to him and yet when he does lower his defences he is utterly charming.
I felt so much sympathy for Annie she is well and truly a porcelain doll who is cloistered away never to be seen by anyone other than family. They lean on her way too much and have taken full control of her life. Every aspect of her life is controlled from who she sees, where she goes, what she wears, what she eats when to go to bed and so on, in a way it’s a form of abuse and personally the faster she gets away from these people the better. I have never met such an innocent woman before, you can feel her frustration at her life she wants to do what is right but she also wants to live she is confused by her mixed emotions and suddenly there is this big, handsome, irritating man who wants to take her back to the very place she is fleeing from. And yet this man is kind and caring, if a bit of the abrupt side and at times he doesn’t act like a gentleman but she likes how he makes her feel something other than a little girl, how he treats her like a lady other than a doll. It is that which really makes me love Barrett, the moment he meets her he sees that she is so innocent and he tries to teach her how to be more human, more self-reliant and I really like that.
Over all this is a lovely and original romance, it did start off a bit on the slow side and I was a bit confused as to what was going on in the chapter, but other than that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Once the story got going it was surprisingly imaginative and complex, for me the moment where Barrett rescues after she flees is the turning point. I loved the scene where they are walking back, his anger and frustration at her is so palpable. He is broody, grumpy, monosyllabic and utterly fascinating.
Don’t let the initial bumpy start put you off from finishing this book, as it is well worth persevering with as once our couple are alone together there is a lot of great moments between them.
This was an Arc copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.
To Win A Wallflower is to released on 24 January and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.
The scoundrel of society …has compromised the Vicar’s daughter!
When scandalous Fenton Foxworthy is a beaten and left for dead, he’s rescued by demure Vicars daughter Rebecca Whitelow. Fox is a cynical rake, whose outrageous propositions are the talk of the ton – but his injuries are so great that Rebecca mistakes him for the new village Vicar! Too late, Rebecca realises her error…She’s been compromised into a hasty marriage!
Well, what can I say about this book, bar fabulous? In it’s entirety this is a very simple ‘Marriage of Convenience’ story but it is the circumstances behind why they must marry and the character’s themselves that keeps you gripped from the start. I also found that Redeeming the Roguish Rake to be much more than the ‘Marriage of Convenience’ trope, this is a story of second chances – in the case of Fox; third and fourth chances – about moving on and more than that, it is a story about learning to love and trust.
Fenton Foxworthy (Isn’t that the best name, ever?) is the rake of the ton, he is scandal in a pristine evening suit, he has got the blackest reputation and is notorious for not just dallying for with other men’s wives, but he is a dab-hand at proposing to every married/widowed woman he can. But Fox is getting bored, he wants something more than just the routine drinking, gambling and bed hopping so to get his mind back on track and figure out where he goes from here he heads off to his ancestral home – firstly making sure that he will have the house to himself first – on route, Fox is set upon by a gang who after assaulting him leave him for dead at the side of the road.
Fox really is the most scoundrelly (is that a word? – never mind!) vein rake that I have ever met. When we first are introduced to him I will admit that I was in two frames of mind about him, Tyner does work really hard to make this man more and more likable as the story unfolds. He is one of those strange creatures of the world that grows on you the more you are exposed to it – I felt like I really didn’t want to like him, that there wasn’t anything good about this man, but he soon turned my view of him around with his unusual charm.
He could walk out the door. He could! Then she kissed his mottled misshapen, un-shaven cheek. Damn her! He shut his eyes, forcing anger to stay inside his body. How dare she be so good?
I think deep down Fox is a lonely man, he wants to be liked and more than that I think he wants to be appreciated and he wants to feel like he is worth something. Unfortunately, up until he was attacked he has gone through life as though life itself owed him something and he could take and do what he wanted. But all that self-worth is thrown out the window when he meets Rebecca, who shows not just Fox himself but me as a reader that there is goodness in that cavernous selfish body of the heir to the earldom.
He just wants to belong somewhere, and he finds that somewhere in Rebecca!
Vicars daughter Rebecca Whitelow is as pure and good as you can get. She has got to the stage in her life where just tending to her father’s flock in the village is not enough for her. She wants more, she wants to be more than just a vicar’s daughter so when her father reveals to her that he will be pensioned off due to his age, Rebecca soon learns that the new vicar has been chosen with her in mind – he is a bachelor on the market for a wife and what better woman to be a vicars wife, than Rebecca!
When she finds a severely wounded man by the side of the road who has been beaten to an inch of his life, she does what any good Christian does and takes him home. It is once he has woken up that her and her father jump to the conclusion that this man must be their new vicar – and also her soon to be betrothed. It’s only after he has recovered and when the Earl turns up with the actual vicar that their stranger’s identity is revealed. Rebecca is shocked to the core that the man she has fallen for is none other than the most debauched man in the country and he is the man she is forced to marry – not just for her reputation but for her father.
Fox could have told Rebecca who he was at any time while she was caring for him, if he had been honest with her and then they wouldn’t have had to marry. But, being a selfish rake who always gets what he wants as soon as he saw Rebecca he wanted her. What he doesn’t expect is an uncommon urge to make her happy and protect her, putting someone else first is something that he is not accustomed to.
Rebecca is so naive, she is too good and pure to be with the selfish Fox, he genuinely believes all that he is telling her – or to be precise all that he is not telling her as it’s her making all the presumptions about him he just didn’t put her straight until he had no choice. She is sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place, she wants to be free to help people, she knows that one way or another she will have to marry just to keep a roof over her father’s head but what she doesn’t want is to be stuck in a loveless marriage, which is exactly what she thinks will happen if she marries either one of the men in the picture; the actual vicar or Fox!
He knelt on one knee, held her hands in his and looked into her eyes. “My Rebecca,” he said.
For the first time, he understood the solemnity of a proposal, of putting one’s heart at a woman’s feet…
…he took her hand and placed it on against his chest, holding it so that she could feel his heart beating. “My heart beats for you, I breathe for you. I love you…”
They are so different she is lightness and spring sunshine and he is dark and fire and brimstone and at first, I wasn’t sure if they would work as a couple, as they are so different. Yet strangely enough once together all their differences tend to melt away and they fit.
I really enjoyed this book, I like the chemistry between the character’s not just between Rebecca and Fox, but there are undercurrents of emotion between Fox and his father and the love between Rebecca and her father is palpable, so is the fact of how much she misses her mother. I do like Tyner’s writing I found she has a flare with words to draw you in to the story and their world and makes you feel what the characters are feeling. This is the first book I have read by Ms Tyner, I was hooked by the story and how it her style of writing just seamlessly flows, all the while taking you on a journey.
Very enjoyable and highly recommended!
The was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.
Redeeming the Roguish Rake can be purchased at Amazon.