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How to Woo a Wallflower (Romancing the Rules) Mass Market Paperback – December 26, 2017
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About the Author
Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, USA Today bestselling author Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.
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Overall reaction to the story? How to Woo A Wallflower is the second book I’ve read by Christy Carlyle and I really am enchanted by her stories and her characters. She’s one of those authors who can write an independent, feisty female character without completely taking her out of her time period. Carlyle also manages to create an alpha male like Gabriel who can take charge of a dangerous situation without smothering Clarissa’s personality underneath all his testosterone. I loved the romance that built between two characters who on the surface didn’t seem to have anything in common.
Describe the hero in five words: Serious. Loyal. Caring. Intelligent. Stubborn.
Did you like him? Yes.
Why? Despite his gruff exterior or perhaps because of it, Gabe was a great balance to Clary's more impulsive, "think later" personality. I loved that while he fought tooth and nail not to like Clary, he always looked out for her, albeit in a very stern, disapproving way. Gabe came from nothing and made something good of himself and for his sister but his violent past was always hanging over his head, giving him a no nonesense attitude. But as big, bad, and invincible as Gabe seemed, he had some interesting, emotional weaknesses. Overall, he was a big, surly guy on the outside but a softie on the inside and those are the best kinds of heroes.
Describe the heroine in five words: Spirited. Independent. Intelligent. Stubborn. Kind.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Clary is the type of character who doesn't wait around for her happiness to come around and she certainly doesn't wait for a dashing hero to save her, much less a grumpy one like Gabe. She was such a caring character but I really loved how fiesty she got whenever she was around Gabe, it showed her determination to control her own life as much as she could. She took the initiative to learn skills that were all but forbidden for women to learn in that time. She was, *gasp* well read too, can you imagine that? Clary could be so stubborn and sometimes that frustrated me. I admire a strong woman so long as she's smart and reasonable about it.
Let’s talk about the romance: Gabe and Clary didn't exaclty make each other smile at first. There was a mutual dislike with a touch of curiosity but with the circumstances of Clary's inheritence it constantly put these two within sniping distance of one another. I liked the sniping because it slowly gave way to a mutual respect and then an attraction that they couldn't escape from. At first glance they seemed like total opposites but those contrasts balanced them out as individuals. Gabe brought some order and calm while Clary brought fun and a touch of chaos. They worked well together.
How about that supporting cast? Clary's family is a bit odd in an endearing way which makes the scenes with them a treat but also gives a little insight to how Clary's life was growing up. Gabe's sister was a welcome addition to the story and I admit, she piqued my curiousity. She had the same rough start in life as Gabe so I'd like to know how that shaped and scarred her.
Click It or Skip It? Click it. Gabe and Clary's antagonistic beginning makes for a delicious romance later.
* I received a copy of this book via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review.
Gabriel has worked his entire life to distance himself from his lowly birthplace: a Whitechapel birth and struggle for his early years, he always thought of more – and has done all he can to distance himself from the way he earned his way out. Hiding his secrets and unwilling to allow this boisterous, outspoken and determined young woman to draw his gaze from his goals of a quiet life with a boring and uncomplicated wife, he’s doing everything he can to discourage Clary from continuing to torment his days with her presence and his nights with his thoughts of her. Oh – but Clary’s determination, and her boldness lead to a kiss, a kiss he can’t forget.
Carlyle is a wonderful storyteller and creating this unusual Ruthven family who are all determined to lead lives that make a difference and please them – even if not conventional. Allowing readers to see the darker sides of Victorian life, experience society’s changes and be treated to a story that is wholly historic in feel but differs as th story is about the ordinary people – those without titles or pretentions so valued by the tonne. With Clary’s determination to visit and make a difference in the East End, Gabriel’s every fear is awakened: her safety and his secrets could be the undoing of everything he’s built to this point.
Gradually we see that most of Gabriel’s reserve with Clary is more insecurity and a belief that he’s not worthy of someone as well-bred as she, and his worries of her reaction when she discovers his secrets. But, Clary isn’t just determined to make a difference for the women of Miss Fisk’s, she’s truly encouraged by anyone who can take charge of their life and rise above circumstances of poverty, birth or education – but could this possibly help design a future for her and Gabriel? Another wonderful story in the series, easily read in any order and sure to please fans of historic romance who want something different from the next story about a duke gone wrong or a lady scandalizing the tonne.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.