Olivia Archer has spent four seasons on the marriage mart. Four. The only thing to come out of those four seasons are embarrassing nicknames like Prissy Missy and London’s Least Likely to Cause a Scandal. Having spent her life following the rules taught by her mother and the finishing school she attended hasn’t worked to get her a respectable husband or a romantic love story. All it’s gotten her is wallflower status in the ton and a betrothal she doesn’t want with Phineas Cole, the Mad Baron. The man who according to all the gossips murdered his first wife.
Phinn has come to town for two reasons, to help the Duke of Ashbrooke build their Deference Engine for the Great Exhibition and to find a biddable, gentle wife. A wife who is the exact opposite of the first woman he married. When he sets eyes on Ms. Olivia Archer at a ball he immediately feels a pull toward her and decides that she is the one he wants. So he goes and talks to her parents and succeeds in getting a marriage agreement. He doesn’t count on the wallflower who has spent a lifetime of following all the rules to go wild and start to break every rule in the book in order to get out of marrying him.
“You know all the rules, Olivia,” Emma said. “You just have to break them, one by one, as you encounter them.”
Olivia is beside herself with worry and fear when she realizes who her parents have promised her in marriage to. So she sets out to be the exact opposite of what Phinn wants. She goes to extreme measures, like getting drunk, asking men to dance and wearing revealing clothing. She does everything she can think of to get Phinn to realize she is not the kind of wife he wants. Unfortunately for her, Phinn only becomes more intrigued with this new Olivia. So as she is determined to get out of marrying him, Phinn is just as determined to win over and woo Olivia into marriage. Even going so far as to taking advice from one very clueless friend and bet her that he’ll win her over in the end.
“I think I might surprise you,” she said. “Perhaps even scare you off.”
The words were out of his mouth before he could consider the pros and cons and consequences: “Would you care to wager about that?”
Wallflower Gone Wild is the second book in the Bad Boys and Wallflowers series by Maya Rodale, but it’s the first I’ve read by this author. I love historical romances featuring wallflowers who get the handsome, roguish guy in the end, so after reading the blurb I was intrigued. This is a charming, cute romance. Not exactly realistic to the time period and the talk is very modern, but I was drawn into this story nonetheless and found it to be an easy read. These are likable characters in funny, over the top situations and I was delighted at this story.
Olivia is fun, a little crazy and willing to do anything to get out of marrying Phinn. She lets the gossip of the ton and a little publication called The Mad Baron: The Gruesome Story of an Innocent Maiden’s Tragic Love and Untimely Death. A True Story influence her opinions and behavior, Is it any wonder she’s scared to death of her new fiancé? I found her to be amusing, if a little misguided in some of her outrageous attempts to dissuade Phinn. She blossoms from a girl who lets everyone in her life tell her what to do to a woman who realizes what she really wants is to make those decisions for herself.
Phinn has spent his life just as clueless about love and how to woo a woman. He’s smart, handsome, totally inept at speaking pretty words to his intended and has absolutely no idea that the disaster of his previous marriage is still talked about. I liked Phinn. A lot. He’s sweet, gentle and kind. He has almost a nerdy quality about him that made me like him even more. He takes everything Olivia throws at him and keeps coming back over and over. Their romance is dealt with nicely and allowed to unfold at a slow pace. Just when the reader starts to wonder if these two will ever come together, they finally do and it’s a sweetly sexy scene.
My only complaint is how fast the conflict wrapped up in the end. After all the drama and misconceptions between these two, I felt it ended a little too quickly. While this book is part of a series I do think you can read it as a stand-a-lone and would recommend for lovers of lighter, funnier historicals. Final Grade- C+
“There’s more to those wallflowers than meets the eye,” Ashbrooke remarked. “One minute you think that because they’re London’s Least Likely they’ll be so glad for the attentions. And the next you’ve gone made with love and trying to win them.”