Thursday, April 28, 2016

REVIEW: "Temptations of a Wallflower" by Eva Leigh

Temptations of a Wallflower (The Wicked Quills of London, #3)
(Wicked Quills of London #1)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Regency England

Avon -- April 26, 2016
eARC, 384 pages
Read in April 2016
Received from Edelweiss

Goodreads -- Author Website -- Publisher Website


In society circles she’s known as the Watching Wallflower—shy, quiet, and certainly never scandalous. Yet beneath Lady Sarah Frampton’s demure fa├žade hides the mind of The Lady of Dubious Quality, author of the most titillating erotic fiction the ton has ever seen. Sarah knows discovery would lead to her ruin, but marriage—to a vicar, no less—could help protect her from slander. An especially tempting option when the clergyman in question is the handsome, intriguing Jeremy Cleland.

Tasked with unmasking London’s most scandalous author by his powerful family, Jeremy has no idea that his beautiful, innocent bride is the very woman he seeks to destroy. His mission must remain a secret, even from the new wife who stirs his deepest longings. Yet when the truth comes to light, Sarah and Jeremy’s newfound love will be tested. Will Sarah’s secret identity tear them apart or will the temptations of his wallflower wife prove too wicked to resist? 

Beta Hero, Bluestocking Heroine, Cross-Class Romance

2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge

I received an eARC of this book from Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for a honest review.

Temptations of a Wallflower is the conclusion to the Wicked Quills of London trilogy which focuses on women writers.  So far, the books have featured a gossip newspaper owner and a playwright.  Now the focus shifts to Lady Sarah Frampton who is known by society as the Watching Wallflower for her tendency to just sit back and observe at events.  But, what the ton doesn't know is that Sarah secretly writes popular erotic stories under the pseudonym The Lady of Dubious Quality.  Sarah feels content with her life until she begins to suspect that someone is trying to figure out her true identity which happens at the same time that she meets vicar Jeremy Cleland, cousin to the hero of Scandal Takes the Stage.

The whole premise of this book made me happy.  I love the intriguing pairing of a vicar and a wallflower who writes erotic fiction.  Of course, there is much more to both Sarah and Jeremy than those initial impressions, but talk about a way to grab a reader's attention!  Sarah is a spinster who only feels like she is her true self when she is writing especially about sexual escapades.  The only thing that makes her wary is the fact that she knows her secret will ruin her and her family.  Jeremy is a kindly vicar who was pushed into the work by his father.  He enjoys helping people, but often feels restrained by his obligations and his responsibility as a role model.

When Sarah and Jeremy meet, it is obvious that they have an attraction.  Both of them see something that the rest of society (and even their families) don't see.  They take advantage of this and quickly become friends.  Eventually Sarah finds herself in a potentially scandalous situation so they decide to get married and both believe that love is in their future.  Of course their blissfully happy life gets turned upside down when it comes to Sarah's secret life and the fact that Jeremy was initially brought to London by his father to hunt down The Lady of Dubious Quality.  This causes some obvious strife that shows that maybe they didn't know each other enough after all.

Temptations of a Wallflower puts a strong emphasis on sex and its place in society.  Sarah is an inexperienced woman who is interested in it and wants to experience it for herself.  Jeremy is in a position where he feels like he must uphold a strong moral compass though that doesn't exactly jive with his lust-filled mind especially after he meets Sarah.  I loved the way that the author depicted the trouble of wanting things sexually, but not being able to express those desires for fear of scorn.  There is no shame depicted in the sexual encounters between Sarah and Jeremy.  Both of them learn to work with each other and take charge of getting what they want.  I applaud the author for this timely subplot and for giving it the respect it deserves.

The only quibble I had with this book was the handling of the reveal of Sarah's identity and what Jeremy was really doing in London.  These issues were an important part of the story and provided the necessary conflict, but I felt like it took too long.  I completely understood both characters' hesitations and their initial reactions.  It worked well for their character development.  I guess it felt like it just happened so late in the book that the resolution had to be rushed.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Temptations of a Wallflower and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it or the prequels (Forever Your Earl and Scandal Takes the Stage).  The characters blew me away in their complexity and development while the romance was enchanting.  There is something to be said about having two likable, mature people finding someone perfect for them when they least expected it.  That is one thing I enjoy about reading romance and I definitely found it in this book.

"She'd no desire to write 'serious literature.'  It was too often moralizing or crammed full of sorrow.  Escape had its own important value.  She would never flatter herself into thinking she could change the world, but she didn't want to.  That task would be left to other writers, other minds.  She wanted only to entertain and counted herself lucky that she had the opportunity to do so."

Forever Your Earl (The Wicked Quills of London, #1) Scandal Takes the Stage (The Wicked Quills of London, #2) Temptations of a Wallflower (The Wicked Quills of London, #3)

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read this series yet, but I keep meaning too. I'm not really all that drawn to this one, though. I'm never really into vicar heroes. And I think the conflict would really frustrate me. But I'm so glad you really enjoyed this one.


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