Four young ladies enter London society with one common goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.
Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle’s most intriguing — and persistent — admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure, he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition…but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.
Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon — and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon’s passionate embrace and tempting kisses…and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.
©2010 Lisa Kleypas (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"By turns amusing, sensual and sober, but always compelling, this is a first-rate offering from a truly talented storyteller." (Publishers Weekly)
It started a little slow. It finally picked up and was relatively good. I would recommend it but I didn't have to drive around the block to get to a stopping spot.
Rosalyn Landor's voice and narration are absolutely perfect for this book. Her American accents are hilarious (in a good way) and her pitch and timing are wonderful. I find myself laughing a LOT in this book, which is unusual for a romance. The story is funny, cute, and everything you want from escapism. I'll be looking for more from both the author and the narrator.
I love books! Audiobooks take stories to the next level. I'm obsessed with Audible and will try to rate all of my books. Happy Listening! ;)
A beautiful story that is very romantic. I loved the ending (one of the few that has made me cry). It set the ground for the next book that I will begin immediately. The narrator was very good also.
I read so I can write
This is going to be a fun and fantastic series if the rest continue like this first one. Such realistic characters and fun story. This Kleypas in her element and Landor at her best.
First book was wonderful, funny and oh so romantic!!
The Foundry fire
I highly recommend it!
This is the first book I’ve read by Lisa Kleypas and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The chemistry between Simon and Annabelle was just the right amount of tension and electricity. It wasn’t overly sappy nor under developed. It was very nice. I fell in love with the way Simon felt for Annabelle and vice versa. Experiencing this type of love myself, with my husband of 11 ½ years, I truly could relate to how Annabelle felt when she went back in the foundry after the love of her life. I could totally see myself doing that.
I know there is a part 2 to the Wallflower series, but I just don’t know how I’m going to feel about the story focusing on other characters beside Annabelle and Simon. I’m already attached to them. But I definitely will be reading the next novel in the series because I did so enjoy this first novel. Good job Lisa Kleypas.
The narration by Rosalyn Landor completely benefited the story. I knew who was talking at every turn. Even her male voices were great. She did an awesome job.
Read from January 15 to 25, 2014
Story: 2.75 stars
Narrator: 3.75 Stars
Overall: 3.25 stars
I've been wanting to read a Lisa Kleypas book for a while. She seems to be a prolific writer and several of the romance review blogs I follow rave about her books.
After reading the descriptions of the first book in each of her "major" series, I chose to read this book, the first book in the Wallflowers series, as the premise sounded great to me. Four young women make a pact to help each other find husbands. Not only did it seem to fit my liking for a lighthearted tone in a romance novel, but I love historical romances that feature friendships between women and not just rivalries. So I should have loved this book.
Except that I couldn't stand the heroine, and the hero was largely absent intellectually and emotionally, so I never connected with him---yet, even so, I still thought he was too good for the heroine. And that's not how I want to feel at the end of a romance novel.
Technically, Kleypas is a moderately good writer. I was continually critiquing her style in my head, though, as she tends to head-hop quite a lot---but in a way that's probably only noticeable to another writer who's been dinged on it time and time again in critiques.
Storywise, however, is where this novel was lacking for me. Annabelle, our "heroine," is petulant, spoiled, snobbish, and snotty---with absolutely no right to be. I know that Kleypas wanted us to see her as part of the down-on-their-luck gentility, those on the fringes of aristocratic society, who would have only socialized (and married) within that sphere. But the truth of the matter is that Kleypas never really gives us a solid explanation of how Annabelle's family is tied to the aristocracy and why, if they're so poor that her mother is having to prostitute herself to a disgusting old lord of something or another, Annabelle is even accepted into aristocratic society. She has no title, no dowry, and no future. In reality, people like this weren't typically invited to social functions with earls and viscounts, much less courted by men at that level.
Yet Annabelle's driving motivation is to marry a peer---someone with an inherited title and A LOT of money. But . . . this is set in the 1840s, which happens to be one of the times of transition in England when a lot of the peerage were hemorrhaging money as the Industrial Revolution was beginning to pick up steam (ha-ha) and the economy was changing and leaving most of them behind. It was the rising middle class---men like Simon, our hero---who were emerging as the movers and shakers in society. And while it really wouldn't be until after the Great Exhibition in 1851 that this class of wealthy entrepreneurs would really start taking their place in society, Kleypas set up Simon as one of these: an independently wealthy (filthy rich, apparently) son of a butcher who rubs elbows with some of the highest echelon of the aristocracy. Again, not really realistic, but, for the sake of suspension of disbelief, we'll let her run with it.
Annabelle and Simon meet in the prologue and he steals a kiss. Chapter one opens a couple of years later, at which time Annabelle hates Simon and doesn't want anything to do with him. The problem is that she's in her early 20s, the Season is almost over, and she has NO marriage prospects. Her younger brother may have to leave school and go to work to support her and her mother if she can't find a rich husband.
Simon is still obsessed with this girl from whom he stole a kiss, and so he's been trying to pursue her by stalking her---I mean asking her to dance at all of these society balls that both of them are inexplicably invited to all the time. Annabelle knows that he's rich---everyone does---yet, strangely, she basically tells him that he has a snowball's chance in hell of ever getting her to dance with him, much less let him court/marry/sleep with her.
Let me explain---she's to the point at which she's starting to think she's going to have to take an offer from one of the titled gentlemen to become a mistress just so that she and her mother don't starve. Yet she continually spurns the attentions of a VERY wealthy man, just because he's a butcher's son and not a peer of the realm. Because snob.
Somehow Annabelle and the Wallflowers finagle invites to a country house party at which they've agreed to try to hook Annabelle up with one of the wealthy titled gentlemen, even if it's the nerdy, cadaverous one. Of course, they end up having to concoct a BIG PLAN to snare him into marrying Annabelle. As per usual in most run-of-the-mill romances like this one, the Big Plan doesn't go as planned. This is the point at which Simon actually starts looking like a hero. Unfortunately, it doesn't last long.
Without giving away too many spoilers, Simon and Annabelle end up getting married---voluntarily---about two-thirds of the way through the book. And from there on, it's just sex, sex, sex, interrupted only by his buying her extravagant gifts, like a five-carat diamond ring---which, of course, prompts more sex. And it's not even good sex. It's awkwardly written and stuff I would have skipped past if I'd been reading a print version and not listening on audio. The scenes didn't add anything to the characterization (made her look worse, as a matter of fact) nor did they add anything to the plot or development of the relationship.
Annabelle continues to be snobbish and mercenary even after she's voluntarily married Simon, even to the point of offending his family. This is the woman who knew her mother was whoring herself out to pay the bills, yet she's going to look down her nose at the family of a successful merchant who lives in the same neighborhood where she and her mother could barely afford to live?
It takes another massive (and highly implausible) crisis right at the end of the book for her epiphany moment to come---and even then, it's not enough to redeem her character and the way she's been throughout the rest of the book.
I've read tons of reviews that drool all over Simon as the perfect hero. Um...no. Not only does he stalk Annabelle for a couple of years until she agrees to marry him (and the only thing she really has to offer is the fact that she's supposedly so beautiful every man who sees her instantly wants her), there aren't enough scenes from his viewpoint to really give us a reason as to why he'd want to marry her (other than the Insta-Lust he felt the first time he saw/kissed her) for me to be able to determine if he really does have qualities to qualify him as a "hero" in the truest sense. He's handsome. He's wealthy. He's kind...to a point. In the beginning of the novel, he actually thinks about whether he'd marry her or just make her his mistress! That's not hero quality, for me.
Now, all of that said, I may go ahead and read the second book in this series, because I hope that Kleypas can actually follow through on the sparks/fireworks hinted at between Lillian and Lord Westcliff.
I picked out this book just for a little fluffy romance reading. Which it most satisfactorily was, until it nearly nearly gave me a heart attack due to the last two chapters. It starts out well, setting up a typical period piece in 1880s London/Hampshire. The girls known as the Wallflowers were quite an incongruous but entertaining crew when they put their heads together. I quite enjoyed their plans and activities. I thought all of the characters were wonderfully drawn - though the focus was centered on a few, there was enough attention given to others, with the suggestion given a bit more plainly in the epilogue, to foreshadow the next books of the series. I foresaw much of the initial courtship and undesired (by Annabelle) complications, as well as the resolutions of the Lord Kendall plan and the ensuing events at the end of the season. Without any explicit spoilers, Annabelle is with the right man, and they are just finding happiness in their new life when the author saw fit to strike terror into my heart. I was so gripped by the violent imagery -terrifying and well depicted as far as I'm concerned- that I panicked and (thinking of the real world likelihoods) I failed to anticipate the fictional story wrap-up. Luckily for me, I was reaching those events just as my fiancé was coming to bed... Unluckily for him, as I held his had so tightly and crushed his fingers for a solid half-hour. Aside from my horror at that, the first 24 chapters was a fun fanciful Victorian romance, just what I wanted. Just enough hot-n-bothering scenes. Bonus, it was read by Roslyn Landor, who has never let me down in the several novels I've heard her narrate. She has a wonderful flowing voice, and can sufficiently distinguish enough voices (even male characters'!) to avoid any dialogue confusion. Those of fainter hearts might skip most of the last two chapters, read the last few pages/minutes and epilogue and be no worse off story-wise.
This was a good story. I could have been better. But it was a bit to wordy and descriptive of furnishings and the like for my taste. Not enough dialogue for me either. I enjoyed the H and H and the secondary characters. All in all it would have been a much better book with less descriptions and more dialogue. It was not good enough for me to move on to the next book.
Narration is okay if you listen to it on 1.25 speed. Not a huge fan of Rosalyn Landor but it was tolerable.
No, nothing beats the actual physical activity of holding the book and turning to the next page with all of the excitement and anticipation of seeing what is printed on that page.
It actually has no comparison for me. I usually read regency London novel's, this is the first of this era of London for me, but I LOVED IT.
No, the men kind of all sound the same to me.
Wall flowers, not just for show but for showing their peers how to get it right.
Love LK, I have tons of her books, but this series by far is my FAVORITE.
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