Monday, August 6, 2012

Review: Waltzing With The Wallflower by Leah Sanders and Rachel Van Dyken (4 stars, novella)

Full Description: Amazon

Rating: 4 out of 5

Thoughts After Reading:
If the title has the word "wallflower" in it, chances are I've read it. I can't help it, it's one of my favorite storylines to read about. So when I realized I've never read the novella Waltzing With The Wallflower, by Leah Sanders and Rachel Van Dyken, I was eager to correct the situation. I found the novella to be a very sweet, clean and frequently humorous read, with only one gaping imperfection.

The hero actually starts out as a pretty good guy. He, along with his twin brother, are some of the most eligible bachelors, being both titled and handsome. And they put their popularity to good use - to amuse themselves during the season, they find one worthy debutante and use their popularity to help her coming out. Since nobody strikes their eye, the hero's brother challenges him to make the heroine popular. As the book mentions at one point, the heroine gives the word "wallflower" new meaning. She's looked down upon by the ton, and literally tries to blend in with the potted plants. She's bewildered when the hero and his friends start helping make her popular, but she quickly befriends them all. The hero and heroine develop an especially close bond, but the hero has a hard time admitting his admiration of the heorine's beauty, wit, and good nature has led to love.

And that's where my approval of Waltzing With The Wallflower takes a nosedive - at the conflicts and resolutions. The romance conflict is easy enough to guess - the heroine is hurt to hear that it all started out as a bet. But I just wanted to shake my head at the external conflict. It's teased a bit as a flashforward in the prologue - that the hero's brother has challenged him to a duel - and I really couldn't believe that it would be that silly. But it was. When the heroine's feelings are hurt, the hero's brother get mad at him for ruining her social success. He not only challenges his brother to a duel, but also proposes a marriage of convenience (of sorts) to the heroine. *spoiler* The duel doesn't happen of course, with the brothers pretty much patting each other on the back and the brother convincing the hero to go win his love. Um, okay - that was a quick change. So then the hero goes and basically apologizes to the heroine. Why did he need to apologize? He already explained that the bet was unimportant, he had just had a hard time saying "I love you" right away. The HEA is cute, but I couldn't really enjoy it because I felt cheated as a reader. I wished the authors hadn't tried to build up suspense with a half-hearted attempt at an external conflict, and I thought there was significant room for improvement for the conclusion.

So that's what I thought of Waltzing With The Wallflower. In many ways, a really funny and lighthearted wallflower novella that really disappointed me at the end. I will  probably read it again in the future, only with lower expectations.

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