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27 December 2011

A Wallflower Christmas - Review

Publication date: 14 October 2008 by St. Martin's Press
ISBN 10/13: 0312533780 | 9780312533786)

Category: Adult Historical Romance
Keywords: Historical, romance, rakes
Format: Hardcover, mass market paperback, eBook

From goodreads:

The Wallflowers are four young ladies in London who banded together in their wild and wickedly wonderful searches for true love. Now happily married, they join together once again to help one of the world’s most notorious rogues realize that happiness might be right under the mistletoe.…
It’s Christmastime in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady in waiting and, if it weren’t for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen. And winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.  

A Wallflower Christmas takes a trip to Victorian London, under the mistletoe, and on a journey of the heart. With her trademark charm, sensuality, and unforgettable characters, there’s no one like Lisa Kleypas to make you believe in the magic of Christmas.

Thuy's review: 

I am not usually one for holiday themed books (they always seemed a bit cheesy) but I couldn't resist this Christmas story by Lisa Kleypas. A Wallflower Christmas is a deliciously fun and sweet with that I didn't want to end.

Rafe Bowman has a well earned reputation as a rake. But this Christmas, he's heading to Stony Cross Park with his sister and her friends to meet his would-be future bride, Natalie Blandford. Though reluctant to give up his single ways, Rafe understands that he must settle down at some point and Natalie is as good a candidate as anyone else. What he doesn't count on is his attraction to her  companion Hannah Appleton. Hannah isn't elegant and practiced in the ways of society like Natalie is, but she's smart, lively and genuine. She also highly disapproves of Rafe as a suitor for Natalie and does all she can to dissuade the union.

This was such a wonderful story that I truly enjoyed. Rafe is a rake of the highest order - flirty and unapologetic in his actions. He even kisses Hannah the first time he meets her! He's not one to shy away his feelings and he's definitely attracted to Hannah. What first starts off as a bit of mischief soon turns into something deeper as Rafe begins to realize that his feelings for Hannah are unlike any he's had for a woman before. He takes every opportunity to tease her and bring her out of her Natalie's shadow. Under Hannah's proper and polite  English facade is a strong, opinionated woman who isn't afraid to tell Rafe just why he's an unsuitable choice for Natalie or anyone else. I found Hannah to be kind an earnest but with a fiery nature, especially when Rafe riles her up. Though a rake, Rafe isn't callous and he treats Hannah with respect and surprising tenderness, making an effort to know her mind and not just make out with her. Their romance is sweet and passionate and I really wanted them to get their happily ever after.

The story is also not as overtly Christmas-y as I had feared. It takes place during the holidays and there are holiday activities like trimming the Christmas tree and sledding. There are several scenes where Hannah is reading A Christmas Carol aloud which were tedious only because passages of A Christmas Carol were written out in the book. I don’t know if it was necessary but it took me out of the book at times. Other than that I enjoyed the subtle Christmas theme.

This is the only book I've read from the Wallflowers series. Even though I had no prior knowledge of the series or characters I was able to follow along just fine. There is some recapping and the other Wallflowers and their husbands do make appearances. I probably would have gotten more out of their bits if I had read the other books first but, as it was, they were fun little side stories that I enjoyed and made me want to read the entire series.

Lisa Kleypas manages to pull my heartstrings yet again in this romantic Christmas tale filled with misunderstandings, love, desire and holiday spirit. A Wallflower Christmas is a great book to snuggle up with for the holidays or any other day.

Visit the author online at www.lisakleypas.com and follow @LisaKleypas on Twitter

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