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How to Be a Wallflower: A Would-Be Wallflowers Novel Mass Market Paperback – March 29, 2022
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From New York Times bestseller Eloisa James, a new Regency-set novel in which a heiress with the goal of being a wallflower engages a rugged American in a scorchingly sensual, witty wager that tests whether clothing does indeed make the man—or the wallflower! A perfect companion story to Eloisa's My American Duchess.
Miss Cleopatra Lewis is about to be launched in society by her aristocratic grandfather. But since she has no intention of marrying, she visits a costume emporium specifically to order unflattering dresses guaranteed to put off any prospective suitors.
Powerful and charismatic Jacob Astor Addison is in London, acquiring businesses to add to his theatrical holdings in America—as well as buying an emerald for a young lady back in Boston. He’s furious when a she-devil masquerading as an English lady steals Quimby’s Costume Emporium from under his nose.
Jake strikes a devil’s bargain, offering to design her “wallflower wardrobe” and giving Cleo the chance to design his. Cleo can’t resist the fun of clothing the rough-hewn American in feathers and flowers. And somehow in the middle of their lively competition, Jake becomes her closest friend.
It isn’t until Cleo becomes the toast of all society that Jake realizes she’s stolen his fiercely guarded heart. But unlike the noblemen at her feet, he doesn’t belong in her refined and cultured world.
Caught between the demands of honor and desire, Jake would give up everything to be with the woman he loves—if she’ll have him!
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“Eloisa James writes with a captivating blend of charm, style, and grace that never fails to leave the reader sighing and smiling and falling in love. Her style is exquisite, her prose pure magic. Nothing gets me to a bookstore faster than a new novel by Eloisa James.” — Julia Quinn
"The romance galaxy is filled with luminous stars, but few twinkle as brightly as James, who, with the launch of her Regency-set Would-Be Wallflowers series, once again dazzles readers with superbly conceived characters, a sublimely sensual love story, and sparkling wit." — Booklist (starred review)
“James’s newest series won’t disappoint, with her signature abundance of banter, humorous situations, and strong-willed characters determined to have their way, creating sizzling sexual tension.” — Library Journal
“Another bright, delightful read from a queen of historical romance.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Say No to the Duke
"James delivers all the banter and sizzle her fans expect in the nuanced fifth Wildes of Lindow Castle Georgian romance...Series readers will be pleased." — Publishers Weekly on Say Yes to the Duke
"A story as wild as the heroine's family name and one that will reward romance fans who want a funny book about an unusual heroine." — Kirkus Reviews on Wilde Child
“A sparkling Georgian romance. James’ writing shines and the Wilde clan’s infectious energy is the epitome of delightful. Overflowing with tried-and-true romance tropes like opposites attract and secret pining, Wilde Child proves that sometimes there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.” — BookPage
About the Author
Eloisa James is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author and professor of English literature, who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight. Visit her at www.eloisajames.com.
- Publisher : Avon (March 29, 2022)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0063139537
- ISBN-13 : 978-0063139534
- Item Weight : 8.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.75 x 0.95 x 7 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #64,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on April 3, 2022
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THE STORY: Cleopatra Lewis had a unique upbringing. While she will agree with her grandfather's desire that she have a season, she intends on dressing like a wallflower as she intends to never marry. Instead, she will continue with her business interests. One day she meets Jake Astor Addison, an American, and the two quickly are engaged in a battle of minds when Cleo sweeps in and takes a business from right under Jake's nose. Determined to change Cleo's mind, Jake proposes a swap -- he will design Cleo's wardrobe for the Season and she will do the same for him.
OPINION: I admit that I'm a sucker for books that are lighter on plot and more focused on the personal development of the characters' relationships with one another. That's what I loved about his book. The real conflict here is Cleo dealing with her own past and being able to trust the relationship between Jake and herself.
I thought from the blurb of this book that there would be a lot of conflict between Jake and Cleo, but I found this book to be much more about these characters growing towards one another than I expected.
Cleo has independence and strength and yet her life has left her with scars that she has to confront in this story. She runs her deceased father's business and is determined to continue to do so, and as such, she doesn't plan on marriage. At the same time, her mother's endless affairs have soured her on the idea of romantic love. I was drawn to Cleo because she demonstrated how much she cared for those around her even as she sometimes espoused a cynical view of the world.
Jake is the type of hero who makes it his mission to support the heroine and is a genuinely good guy. The book sets up the story to be an enemies-to-lovers story with a lot of conflict between the main characters. I was pleasantly surprised by how that expectation was subverted. I loved Jake as a character and quickly was rooting for him to show Cleo that he is exactly the man she needs. Jake turns the world over for Cleo. The great thing is that his being an American seemed to fit exactly the path he takes. In a world that seems to be bound by so many rules and expectations, Jake is willing to accommodate where he must and shove aside what he can to be with Cleo.
This book just made me feel comforted and warm inside. This is not a book about high drama and angst. While I like those stories, I have plenty of love for a romance with a highly competent woman who finds a man who is strong and supportive of her. And who will do anything for her without having to first battle against her.
WORTH MENTIONING: The Earl of Lilford and Yasmin are the main characters in the next book in the series THE RELUCTANT COUNTESS. Good thing because I loved them in this book.
CONNECTED BOOKS: HOW TO BE A WALLFLOWER is the first book in the Would-Be Wallflowers series. The hero, however, is the childhood friend of the heroine of MY AMERICAN DUCHESS and she makes an appearance in this book.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
Two strong, stubborn and free characters.
She, Miss Cleo Lewis, is too free, and does not intend to marry, remaining a wallflower.
The cover won me over, and the synopsis is also very good, but I didn't feel chemistry with the couple. Very well written book (of course, we're talking about Eloisa James!!!), but it didn't sweep me away.
Cleopatra Lewis wants to be seen as a wallflower; she doesn't want to track attention. She goes to a costume emporium in order to purchase unflattering clothing and ends up buying the emporium.
Jacob Astor Addison, an America, is furious that the emporium was purchased right under his nose. He strikes a bargain with Cleo, he'll design her "wallflower wardrobe" and she'll cloth him to make him presentable to society.
The problem is James falls for the "wallflower" and doesn't consider that he fits in to society withstanding his wardrobe change.
Jake is in London to visit his dearest friend, Merry the Duchess of Trent, and to convince Martha Quimby to relocate to the States and design costumes for his theaters – something he thought was a done deal until he is thwarted by Cleo. Before their meeting Jake had planned to return to America and marry a very nice girl, he even purchased a ring, but all that changed after Cleo came into his life, and now nothing will stop him from winning her – not even a ridiculous agreement to pick each other’s wardrobes. Jake plans to win Cleo’s heart, one kiss, and one kipper at a time, and it seems like he might be successful, that is until a well-meaning letter results in an unexpected visit that may cost him the love of his life.
What a great start to a new series! This was a well-written, nicely-paced story with wonderful characters. The story is both fun and piquant, it is filled with emotion, witty banter, a relationship-shy heroine, a brawny, kipper-loving hero, a great cast of secondary characters, steamyish love scenes, an opal ring, and a very sweet ending complete with an epilogue. I really loved this book and Jake has taken his place in my top five of all-time heroes. I also loved Cleo, but I agree with another reviewer who stated that her resistance to marriage was dragged out a little too long – not so much as to be annoying, but enough to be a bit tiresome. All in all, it was an excellent read and I can’t wait to read the next installment!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*
Top reviews from other countries
I know these are romances, but so many of her other books meld fantasy with enough credibility to make them enjoyable, (Desperate Duchesses for example). I cannot finish it this one.
I used to keep Eloisa on my list of favourite authors and am sad that after all this time her writing no longer excites. It feels like she is coasting, and doesn’t feel the need to immerse herself in her plots.
each other and, when problems arise, they can sort them outl quickly, without immediate splitting up and self-flagellation! More time is spent on developing their relationship, than destroying it! Includes some sex and some humour.