The Wicked Wallflower by Maya Rodale (Audiobook) – narrated by Carolyn Morris

wallflower audio

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.(

Rating: B- for content and B for narration

Maya Rodale’s new series under the umbrella title of Bad Boys and Wallflowers consists of both Historical and Contemporary romances, in which I believe the contemporaries are modern re-workings of the historicals.

This first book in the series was a very enjoyable piece of well-written fluff, although if you like a little more actual history in your historical romances, this may not be the audiobook for you. Good fluff is hard to pull off, and there’s no doubt that Ms. Rodale has the talent for it. Her characters are very engaging, the dialogue is snappy, and the sexual tension between the two protagonists crackles from their very first meeting.

But the whole thing has a very anachronistic feel to it that I found difficult to ignore, even though I enjoyed the story and the performance. There are quite a few terms used which I’m not sure would have been prevalent in England in 1824 – for example, I really can’t imagine a duke referring to his great-aunt as an “old broad” or to the heroine’s other suitor as “lover boy” – and there is a complete disregard for the social conventions of the time when the hero and heroine embark on a journey over a couple of days and there is no mention of a chaperone. There’s also what felt like a very self-conscious use of slogans to describe the way women swoon at the merest sight of our handsome hero. Phrases such as “London’s Least Likely” or “The Ashbrooke Effect” became tiresome very quickly.

Lady Emma Avery and her two friends, Prudence and Olivia, have collectively become known as “London’s Least Likely…” as they have been through four London seasons without so far finding a husband. Emma’s epithet is “London’s Least Likely to Misbehave” and, although she has been courted (after a fashion) for three years by Benedict – the impoverished younger son of a Viscount, he shows no sign of coming up to scratch.

One night, after yet another ball at which all three girls spent most of the night propping up the wall, they end up getting tipsy on sherry and deciding the best way to get Emma married is to actually announce her betrothal to Benedict in the paper. Emma – being slightly less sloshed than her friends – is against the idea but Olivia and Prudence will not be dissuaded. Then they hit upon what seems, to them, an even better idea. If they’re going to tell a fib, they might as well make it a BIG one, so they write a letter announcing Emma’s engagement to the gorgeous, dissolute, and unattainable Duke of Ashbrooke, a man so handsome that he can make women swoon at fifty paces.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.


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