Sunday, August 28, 2022

BOOK REVIEW: How to Woo a Wallflower by Virginia Heath

 I received this book for free from Netgalley. That did not influence this review.

How to Woo a Wallflower by Virginia Heath is a sweet, lightly steamy, new Regency Romance. 

Lady Harriet Fitzroy, a duke’s daughter, expects to sit through the London Season as a wallflower and she’s dreading it. Two years earlier, she suffered a terrible riding accident that almost took her life. She recovered, but was left with a deformed leg and a limp. This markedly reduces her value on the marriage mart. Avoiding the usual ton activities, Harriet spends much of her time volunteering at the children’s infirmary where her own life was saved.

Jasper, the Earl of Beaufort, is a friend of Freddie Fitzroy, Harriet’s brother. (Harriet had a crush on him when she was younger.) He’s also the owner of the scandalous gambling hell, The Reprobates’ Club. He started the club after his nearly bankrupt father disowned him, and he’s now a successful businessman. It’s not socially acceptable for a lord to work; moreover, Jasper is a known rake. He’s definitely not the kind of man Freddie wants anywhere near his sister.

Because Harriet has spent two years in recovery, she hasn’t seen Jasper in quite a while. Their paths cross when she is on her way to the infirmary and he’s on his way to his club. Jasper is aware of her accident and is prepared for her to be sensitive about her limp. But he’s not prepared for her sense of humor, her resilience, and her determined self-sufficiency. Not to mention her beauty. He’s smitten. And her old feelings for him return with a vengeance.

To complicate matters, just as they are reacquainting themselves, Jasper receives word that an old friend has died, leaving him charge of her four-year-old daughter. The “old friend” was a courtesan, known to be an old mistress of his, so everyone will naturally draw the conclusion that the child is his daughter. If Jasper was too scandalous for a decent young lady to associate with before, he is definitely out-of-bounds now.

However, Harriet is even more impressed with Jasper after seeing his concern for the child and the readiness he displays to claim her as his own. And Jasper is more impressed with Harriet the more he watches her persevere despite her physical limitations. Their determination to help one another weather the London Season – where Harriet must endure the humiliation of being an object of pity and scorn and Jasper awaits the breaking of the worst scandal of his life -- turns into a passionate, but secret, courtship.

The protagonists are wonderfully drawn, sympathetic characters. The chemistry between them is believable. They face their obstacles bravely and are honest with one another (even if their secret romance requires a good deal of lying to everyone else.)

Now I’ll have to see what happens with Harriet’s twin sister!

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