Top positive review
5.0 out of 5 starsSweet, sexy historical novella
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 27, 2012
Winning the Wallflower is packed full of emotion. Some authors fail with pacing in novellas because of the shorter length, but not Ms. James. I was very impressed with how much story she packed into something this length. Since it's about 50% of the actual download (the rest of it is excerpts from other books) I'd say it's about 85 pages.
Lucy Towerton is taller than most women and considers herself a plain wallflower. Before the story starts, Cyrus Ravensthorpe proposed to Lucy but when she is left a large inheritance from an aunt who has passed away, her parents order her to call of the engagement. Lucy isn't sure she wants to because she's quite smitten with Cyrus. Unfortunately he never talks to her, doesn't seek her out or try to `woo' her. He didn't even propose directly to her. The story starts at a party and everyone knows that Lucy is now wealthy and assumes she'll be throwing Cyrus over since she has options now (Cyrus isn't titled/part of the aristocracy). When Cyrus arrives at the party it doesn't take him long to figure that out also. So even though he expects her to break things off, he finds himself angry about it. Since he prides himself on controlling his emotions this comes as a shock to him.
Cyrus is extremely wealthy (from his own hard work) and while his mother is the daughter of a duke she caused quite a scandal before Cyrus was born when she ran off with someone not of her station (Cyrus's father). Because of the way his mother was treated after her marriage, Cyrus is incredibly driven to bring his family up in life. He's made boatloads of money and is well on his way to getting the title he wants (it's all part of this list of `things to accomplish' that he has) and marrying a member of the aristocracy is part of his plan. He proposed to Lucy because he didn't think she was the type of woman to ever cause a scandal or cause him issues and she's from the 'right' family. It wasn't a malicious thing, but he was very arrogant and pompous (as Lucy tells him more than once) and blinded by his own wants. His desire to bring his family up in the world isn't selfish though. Even though his parents don't care about their social standing (his father is famous and solves big crimes), he has sisters and he wants them to make their debut in the ton when they're of age.
Before breaking off the engagement, Lucy calls Cyrus out on why he chose her and he finally *sees* her for the first time. He realizes that even though he chose her the wrong way, he still chose the right woman. Unfortunately, he knows that it might be too late because of his own blindness. Lucy is a surprisingly strong heroine in that when she comes out of her shell, she doesn't look back. Once Lucy breaks things off she starts to believe in herself and realizes that the way she looked at herself was almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. When she digs deep and finds her self-confidence, men start to notice, especially Cyrus. The relationship that develops between Lucy and Cyrus was wonderful, their dialogue was witty and fast-paced and the ending was incredibly sweet. For 99 cents, this story would be hard to pass up especially if you're already a fan of Eloisa James. If you're in the mood for a sweet and sexy historical and don't have time to read a novel, I recommend Winning the Wallflower.