Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BLOG TOUR: What a Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale

I'm so excited to be hosting Maya Rodale's What a Wallflower Wants on the blog today. Released September 30th, 2014 by Avon, What a Wallflower Wants is a historical romance with real heart. It's the kind of historical romance that you want to go back to when you're looking for a little pick-me-up. You know what I mean - when you want to read something that makes your heart flutter, that gives you faith in humanity again or that simply makes you smile. 

For all the stops on What a Wallflower Wants' Virtual Book Tour, check out Tasty Book Tours.

The Book

In the third novel in Maya Rodale’s charming Wallflower series, London’s Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . .

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.

What a Wallflower Wants is available now!


Prudence glanced at the Vicar. He caught her eye and hastily bowed his head and resumed his prayers.  She wanted to tell him not to waste his breath. She wanted to tell him to have mercy on her in this moment. 
Everyone tensed at the sound of heavy boots crunching on the dirt and gravel road. Ominous, those steps were. Everyone was completely awake now. 
Prue’s heart thudded loudly as she looked at her fellow passengers. All of them pleaded with their eyes for her to sacrifice herself. 
“You can distract him,” Cecil whispered quickly. “While we escape for help.” 
“Cecil, please...” Prue begged, knowing it was useless. The very reasons she had assumed him safe doomed her now: he didn’t care for her, he wouldn’t touch her, he wanted only the distraction she offered.   
“Go on, Prudence. Please,” Cecil pleaded. He reached over her to unhitch the latch. The door swung open. He gave her a shove and then pulled the door shut. 
Because she hadn’t actually believed he would be so cruel as to physically shove her in harms way, she hadn’t braced herself. She went tumbling to the ground, landing on her bottom. 
Immediately a bloodcurdling scream emerged from within the carriage. 
Her eyes adjusted to the dark, she held her breath and peered under the conveyance. She saw moonlight reflecting on the highwayman’s polished black leather boots on the other side of the carriage.

My thoughts:

Before I get distracted by what What a Wallflower Wants made me think about, let me be clear: I loved this book. This is absolutely the sort of book that I will come back to for a re-read. It left me feeling warm fuzzies, as a good romance novel should. It made me think, which was a bonus. There were scenes that absolutely warmed my heart and others that chilled it. I loved the emotional rollercoaster, particularly since all the emotional lows were a little insulated (for me) by the developing love story.

I loved that the romance blossoms early, and that there's not a ton of dancing around it. The usual difficulties that couples face in these plots - whether through lack of communication or misunderstandings - would have been too much for Prudence to handle, I think. She's paralyzed by her past and I think that any additional complications brought on by being unclear about intent or desire would have made this romance unbelievable. As it was, John was incredibly sweet and patient and I loved that about this book. 

There's some explicit sex scenes - no fading to black here! Necessary, I think, for character development, but also a wonderfully sensual element of the novel. There's a scene of directed exploration that rates right up there as one of the hottest sex scenes I've read this year (and I've read a lot!). Unless you're a fade to black preferred reader, trust me in that you'll want to read this book for this scene alone. Truly.

In addition to fulfilling my expectations of romance, with an engaging hero, damaged, loveable heroine, and a beautiful love story between them, What a Wallflower Wants also provides a lot of material that made me think.

First, What a Wallflower Wants made me think really carefully about the historical romance subgenre: on the whole, how does it fit into this relatively new "New Adult" category?  I started debating this because I think this particular book is a really interesting example of how the two connect. We have a young woman who has a traumatic past meeting a young man with big secrets who wants to help her heal, but also is committed to supporting his family by gambling his way to enough money to a better future. You can see how this might work as a New Adult book, right? Now put those people in the Regency period, and wrap that woman's sense of self-worth up in her ability to marry well, and add in all the social constraints on a woman's ability to express herself, particularly when it comes to sexuality, as well as the pressures of the class structure and the expectations therein.... and well, you have a really fantastic historical romance.

The book also made me think about how historical romance traditionally addresses sexual crimes. I think there's usually an awareness of the vulnerability of women, especially lower class women. What a Wallflower Wants goes above and beyond to tackle the issue in an upfront manner. I appreciated that there was no tiptoeing around it. This isn't about the shock factor or providing a viable reason for Prudence to be damaged, but instead is an honest portrayal of one woman's experience, and all the ramifications. There is a raw emotional quality to a lot of this book and the often conflicting desires to survive and to thrive really stuck with me. 

Lastly, What a Wallflower Wants also discusses the expectations of a lady and of a gentleman. This is particularly timely with the #heforshe Twitter campaign happening in the wake of Emma Watson's United Nations speech. All the pressures and expectations of what a lady does and does not do quite clearly contribute to Prudence's experiences and decisions both in the past and leading up the moment the book begins. The ability to act differently, to protect herself, to heal - all of these are prevented by the social rules and expectations Prudence feels compelled to follow and live up to. However, equally significant is that John also refers to 'what a gentleman should do' and while these actions are often positive, it's still important to recognize that these expectations exist.  

Bottom line:

I absolutely loved reading What a Wallflower Wants. I will come back to it as a 'pick-me-up' read and to revisit some of my favourite scenes. It was a pleasure to review this book and I completely recommend it to fans of historical romance, of new adult romance and of romance in general. 

5 stars

The Author

Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own. 

Find her on the web:

The Contest

Avon is hosting a tour-wide giveaway of not one, not two, but all *three* of the Bad Boys & Wallflowers books in *print*!  This is a fantastic opportunity to check out the series.

1 comment: