Genre:: Historical Romance
Publisher: August 1st 2006 by Avon
Poor Daisy. In her circle friends, known affectionately to themselves as "The Wallflowers" being without a husband after three seasons isn't unheard of. The flirting and simple, pointless banter that comes with any social event of the season has just never come easy to Daisy or her friends and they have notoriously preferred to wait on the sidelines and watch the other husband hunters catch their prey. Only now, Daisy is the last of the wallflowers, all her friends having made very wonderful matches, and love matches no less, with some pretty remarkable men. To add to the pressure, her father has informed her that she is a burden, and like most businessmen, he sees any product that he cannot sell as a bad investment and he's ready to wash his hands of the whole deal. He gives Daisy the ultimatum that either she finds herself a husband, and quickly or he will force her to marry his business associate, Matthew Swift- an odious, money grubbing toady who does whatever Daisy's father asks. Daisy hasn't seen her father's employee in a long time, but she can't remember there ever being anything pleasant about him.. The former wallflowers organize a house party, and invite many eligible bachelors, all titled lords and well sought after members of society, to come and stay. Surely one of them will be a decent enough match for Daisy? Maybe it will be the tall, devastatingly handsome, charming newcomer with the most amazing eyes that has just joined the party?
Maybe...oh no...poor Daisy, her gorgeous new stranger is none other than Mr. Matthew Swift and the years apart have turned him into everything a girl could ever want- with one big exception. Matthew Swift does whatever Daisy's father tells him to do and her father told him to marry Daisy. Of all the men to choose from, Daisy finds herself loosing her heart to the one person who may be the least deserving of it, the calculated heartless one who is only courting her...because it's his job.
"Daisy realized that her heart had begun to thump just as it had when she had read the more lurid passages of The Plight of Penelope, in which a maiden was captured by an evil villain who locked her in a tower room until she agreed to surrender her virtue.
Daisy had known the novel was silly even as she had read it, but that had not detracted one bit from her enjoyment. And she had been perversely disappointed when Penelope had been rescued from imminent ruin by the bland golden-haired hero Reginald, who was not nearly as interesting as the villain.
Of course the prospect of being locked in a tower room without any books had not sounded at all appealing to Daisy. But the threatening monologues by the villain about Penelope's beauty, and his desire for her, and the debauchery he would force on her, had been quite intriguing.
It was just plain bad luck that Matthew Swift would turn out to look just like the handsome villain of Daisy's imaginings."
I was first introduced to the magic that is Lisa Kleypas in the 4th Wallflowers book, Devil in Winter, in which she gives us probably one of the best villains/heroes ever written in a romance. Sebastian alone was enough to make me want to continue with the series but the light, witty and funny style of writing through which Miz Kleypas delivers her stories isn't a bad incentive either. Having finished this, the third book in the series, I am thoroughly in love with the gifted story telling, and The Wallflowers themselves. I assure you that there is no need to read the series in order and you'll fall in love no matter which one you start with.
I liked Daisy from the moment I met her in Devil in Winter. I loved how she was exploring the world outside of books, to see how it compares to the world within books. I can see more than a bit of myself in her. Who among us avid readers couldn't side with the bookworm? All of The Wallflowers are endearing because they aren't what was considered to be the norm in their time (women who read and get this- think) and in the end they are rewarded for being just who they are. Impossible to not fall in love with that idea.
I also like this time in history, that requires for everyone to be polite and polished, to approach everything, even the unpleasant with a smile and a well placed, deep cutting snub disguised as a pleasantry (Southerners typically like this trait in people). Where emotions are well thought out in advanced and strategically placed, making it all that much more rewarding when our heroes and heroines are faced with situations where the standard code of conduct just simply doesn't apply. Kleypas manages all of this beautifully, complete with a delightful twist that gives added depth to her already lovable characters.
Reading romance novels is a bit new to me. I've always thought of a romance novel as one of those tacky grocery store books with the shirtless dude and some open mouthed big boobied girl on the cover. Then for some reason I picked up Dreams of Stardust by Lynn Kurland, a time-travel romance novel that didn't contain any heaving bosoms or throbbing manhoods but was on the whole adorably funny and entertaining. Over the past few years I've read almost every single one of her books, though I still sort of did so secretly- because well, romance novels aren't real books right?
Wrong. They're better :) I think I've discovered that I like witty, strong female leads, and absurdly handsome, stubborn, slightly villainous heroes. I like for them all to be well dressed, well spoken, rich, and more than a little scandalous. I also like for there to be gratuitously over described sex scenes, written by someone who obviously appreciates the comedy of the situation and doesn't take the whole thing too seriously and for everyone to get everything they want or deserve in the end. I'm rather a simple reader that way.
"You see - comedy. Love, and a bit with a dog. That's what they want." -Shakespeare in Love
I can further blame this new found love, as mentioned previously, on my recent reading of Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean- a book I will keep beating you to death with mentioning until everyone reads it.