What a Wallflower Wants

What a Wallflower Wants

4.0 25
by Maya Rodale
     
 

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In the third novel in Maya Rodale's charming Wallflower series, London's Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . .

Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret.

Everyone knows that she's the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season

Overview

In the third novel in Maya Rodale's charming Wallflower series, London's Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . .

Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret.

Everyone knows that she's the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season—but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again.

John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody's hero.

He's a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future—that do not include a wife. When he finds himself stranded at a country inn with a captivating young woman, a delicate dance of seduction ensues. He knows he should keep his distance. And he definitely shouldn't start falling in love with her.

When Prudence's dark past comes back to haunt her, John must protect her—even though he risks revealing his own secrets that could destroy his future.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/01/2014
Rodale’s third Bad Boys and Wallflowers Regency (after Wallflower Gone Wild) includes a sensitive portrayal of the emotional effects of sexual assault. Prudence Payton, London’s Least Likely to be Caught in a Compromising Position, has embraced her wallflower status after being assaulted during her first season. During a rainy journey to her finishing school reunion, she finds herself alone in an inn with John Roark, Lord Castleton. John, who gambles so he can earn enough money to find security for himself and his family, is on a winning streak. He’s fascinated by the skittish Prudence and decides to help her regain her confidence. When the man who attacked Prudence shows up at the same inn, both Prudence and John find their secrets in danger of exposure. The frequent jumps both forward and back in time accurately portray Prudence’s mental state but may be jarring to those used to a more linear style, and there is a significant amount of wish-fulfillment in the final third of the novel. (Nov.)
Library Journal
10/17/2014
Being a wallflower was bad enough, but being the last remaining unwed graduate of Lady Penelope's Finishing School for Young Ladies of Fine Families after four seasons is unthinkable. One of a trio of unmarried friends, Prudence Merryweather Payton is now in a singular position, as both Emma and Olivia have found their happily-ever-after (The Wicked Wallflower; Wallflower Gone Wild). So Prudence contrives a hasty marriage in order to attend the school's anniversary ball. When her intended leaves Prue to the fate of a highwayman, she narrowly escapes to an inn, where she encounters Lord Castleton. John sees her as someone he must rescue, but Prue has reasons for ignoring him (and any man) after what happened between her and Lord Dudley during her first season. Now ruined, with no prospects, Prue would be happy to stay at the inn, in the interminable rain, talking and even laughing with this beautiful man. After all these years, can she truly be longing for someone to bring her back to life?
Verdict Rodale ends her “Wallflower” trilogy on a somewhat darker note as she makes it clear that Prue's rape at the hands of Dudley is neither new nor unusual among members of the ton. Yet Prue is a heroine to admire, and wouldn't any wallflower love to be protected by the likes of John Roark? Another thoughtful, romantic, and often humorous tale from the talented Rodale.—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

(c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062231284
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/30/2014
Series:
Wallflower
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
213,713
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother's insistence. She is now the bestselling and award-winning author of smart and sassy romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

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What a Wallflower Wants 4 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 25 reviews.
MTSmith More than 1 year ago
(Reviewer's Note: This story deals with the topic of rape through memory and retelling. It is addressed in my review. Please take this into consideration before reading further, and before purchasing this book.) The opening chapter of this story lays the groundwork for the chapters that follow. It doesn't pave the way for a story about a woman who lives in constant fear though. It paves the way for a woman who was horrendously assaulted, her life afterward, and how she overcame the darkness that had plagued her for too many years. Prudence is a very strong female protagonist. Her strength is quiet, subtle, a wrinkle beneath the surface of her otherwise paranoid countenance. To others, she comes across as shy, an introvert, a true wallflower. To John, she was a woman who needed to know and understand she was not at fault for that terrible night, and neither was she as weak as she thought or felt. She lived in fear of Lord Dudley, The Beast, the man who raped her, and the memory of what he did. She felt used and useless, condemned and forgotten. She wasn't any of those things, but she didn't know that. It took a man who understood to help her see that. John and Prudence's relationship was sweet and slow. It needed to be. John understood Prudence's fear because his sister suffered the same fate. His knowledge helped him gauge what he could and couldn't do with Prue. He let her choose instead. That, I believe, was crucial to their relationship. Having her innocence stolen wasn't her choice so he gave her the power to decide everything about their intimacy. It's what gave me hope that all would end well when their world fell apart. Ms. Rodale's handling of Prue's rape was wonderfully done. It wasn't devoid of emotion or addressed with indifference, but it was spoken of and remembered with fear, self-loathing, and resignation. It pained me to read how low Prue thought of herself. But it gave me great joy to read how highly John thought of her. John's past was a huge mystery for most of this story. It wasn't until almost three-fourths of the way through that his true identity was revealed. The repercussions for his decisions came full-force and nearly cost him Prue. To be honest, I didn't hate him for lying. I didn't condone it either but I was glad his secret wasn't something worse. And I really admired him for finding and telling Prue the truth. He could've fled, left her to wonder what happened, but he manned up and set the record straight. Any future they could have would depend on Prue and what she decided concerning him. Despite the heaviness of Prue's rape, this was a surprisingly light read. Sex scenes were minimal; character building was maximized. Ms. Rodale did a great job showing John and Prue's growth. The man and woman standing at the end of the story were a far cry from the ones I met at the beginning. Their former selves were shadows by then, no longer detriments to what could be but reminders of how far they had come. ***Received from Edelweiss via Tasty Book Tours for an honest review***
gaele More than 1 year ago
The second title in this series I have read, the three ladies in this trilogy are scrambling to find husbands before the 100th anniversary of their finishing school, an event they are all expected to attend and glitter through.  In this story, Prudence has been through 4 seasons without a proposal.  Her attitude toward men is conflicted at best, and when we learn of her first season’s trauma and the reason for her withdrawing from all things male.  Unfortunately, she has kept her experience a secret, as is all too common, and it has managed to affect every aspect of her life as she is constantly on guard, struggling to always appear ‘just so’ and the anxiety that this produces is characterized by a withdrawal.  Finding a husband may just prove more difficult than expected for this young woman.  Enter Castleton, a Viscount with a bit of tarnish all having to do with a penchant for men, and a decided unwillingness to marry.  John also has a major secret in his past, but his determination to move forward despite difficulties and obstacles give him the necessary ability to understand and not condemn Prudence for her past experience.  And his innate charm and wit, combine in his rather alpha protectiveness toward all that need defending, and his all in this story is Pru.   Patience and gentling are the watchwords for Pru and John. Coaxing her feelings forward, showing her that not all men are beasts, encouraging her anger and not allowing her thoughts of vengeance to the one who attacked her to rule her life, but to be a step to move forward and heal, John’s approach with Pru, for the most part, is surprisingly appropriate and enlightened for a man of his era.  And his willingness to let Pru escape when her feelings overwhelm her only to chase her back down and push her to face her fears, without anger or accusation but a simple sense of “I am here, again, I am not leaving”, is a clear and repeated demonstration of his feelings and intentions.   Then the shocker comes, and we start to see what John has been hiding: I was suspicious but Rodale managed to give hints that suggested, yet didn’t come close to the full reveal of the secret, and his determination to rise above and move forward, despite the several twists was admirable.  Rodale manages to bring in some truly unsavory moments to the story, but in flashbacks and retelling, feelings and learning to heal, the impact of Pru’s experience remains even as the horror of the act itself is never detailed.  John’s position in society and his understanding of the inequities in the peer’s treatment of women the way his regard for the accepted way of doing things when contrasted against his own relationship with his sister does add to his relating to Prudence and her skittishness. Although there is an insta-love here, I appreciated his willingness to let Pru express her own feelings and desires on her own terms: while at first I think he saw a broken yet beautiful woman who he could help and save, the truth is, as Prudence finds her own footing on new ground, and is able to start to heal, the two seem to become stronger together and apart.    There are a few niggles with pacing and some undefined insertions that are never quite fully explained that seem to jump from little interior voices of warning, memory or feeling, but on the whole the story did wrap up nicely with two characters who find, deservedly so, a happy ending.    I received an eBook 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. 
AustenStudent More than 1 year ago
Maya Rodale is one of my favorite writers of historical romance and she pens a romantic and gracefully told story. Like the last book in her fun and flirty concurrent Bad Boys series, What a Girl Wants, this romance has a darker tone than other books in the series. In that story, the heroine was attacked but not raped; the heroine here, unfortunately, is not as lucky. It’s a poignant and tender love story that warmed my heart and made me smile and laugh on its journey to a happy ending. Prudence Merryweather Payton, raised to be a good girl during her education at Lady Penelope’s Finishing School for Young Ladies of Fine Families, along with her best friends, Emma (The Wicked Wallflower) and Olivia (Wallflower Gone Wild), was raped by a peer during her very first London season. Ashamed and fearing she might be forced to marry her attacker if she told—an unfortunately real and probable outcome—she keeps it a secret, avoiding dancing with eligible gentleman, hiding in the wallflower corner, and generally resigning herself to a life without a husband or family. Known as “The Beast” in Prudence’s mind, Lord Dudley is a dissolute, weak, and resentful young man who leeches off his father’s money and cares for nobody’s pleasures but his own. He walks in the world as if he owns it and it owes him—it’s a man’s world after all— while Prudence avoids him, cowering in fear of ever encountering him again. As the story opens, she is running away with the safe (and homosexual) Lord Cecil, “a marriage of convenience” where she can be assured no man will ever touch her again. When their carriage is set upon by highway robbers, Prudence escapes and finds herself walking alone in an unfamiliar countryside. I admire her forbearance and determination to take care of herself despite her fearfulness. “It proved to her, once again, that regretful truth: men never came to save the day. No one ever came to save Prudence in her hours of need. A girl was on her own.” When John Roark, calling himself Lord Castleton, happens upon her walking alone, he offers her a ride to the nearest village which Prudence, fearful of men and strange men at that, politely refuses. But John can’t get her out of his mind as she’s pretty, alone, and obviously in dire circumstances. He awaits her at the inn and sees to her comforts when she arrives.  While Prudence is grateful, she is cautiously wary. And John is fascinated. He knows something terrible has happened to Prudence and he finds he wants to protect her. “This man’s face, with its blue eyes and easy smile, made her think of Once upon a time.” Both Prudence and John are on their way to London, she to attend Lady Penelope’s anniversary ball—where she had hoped to attend with a husband—and he to the Great Exhibition, a sort of world’s fair of science, technology, and innovation. He has grand plans for the Difference Engine, a project Emma and Olivia’s husbands are hard at work on. But the ceaseless rain has kept them trapped at the inn, unable to traverse the muddy roads. They strike up a tentative friendship that slowly simmers into something more. When Prudence is attacked, John saves her and, soon after, the rain lets up so they can continue to London. John offers his escort to Prudence for her personal safety and she figures she is ruined anyway for running away with Lord Cecil so what’s the harm? They pose as husband and wife for propriety’s sake and, once in London, John will take Prudence to the ball as her husband. But along the way, Prudence confesses her deepest secret, and is astonished to find acceptance and love. In a moving and beautiful scene, he shows her passion and tenderness that she has never known before. But John holds a secret he feels he cannot reveal, though he desperately wants to, especially after Prudence bares her soul. He feels he needs to prove himself before he can tell Prudence his true feelings. Rodale writes about a rape victim with skillful grace and poise. Prudence does not fall into bed with John quickly and easily; in fact, he coaxes her every step of the way with instructions to stop him at almost every turn. He gives her full control over their intimacy and stops when she says to stop. And he also teaches her how to fight and face her fears. “For the first time, she didn’t feel so helpless. Castleton had taught her how to save herself, a gift almost as precious as telling her firmly that she wasn’t at fault and she didn’t deserve what happened to her. Knowing how to fight quieted the fear in her heart.” When John’s troubled past is revealed, their future is threatened. Prudence comes to realize that he, too, has been in hiding and in shame about his past. “The world didn’t give him a bloody chance, so he’d taken one.” There’s a cameo from Seducing Mr. Knightly, the final book in Rodale’s smart Writing Girls series. I love how she uses quotes from the gossip sheets of the fictional London Weekly and how she adds these little connecting touches to her other stories; they’re like frosting on the cake. A sweet and lovely romance.
JustReadItCLK More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this series and finally ending with Prudence's story. Her background was well done, kudos to Rodale. Following all three Wallflowers in this series was mixed with so many different feelings. I giggled and laughed. At times I was shocked, with my mouth hanging open. I'm only left with one question, that lingers on my mind, it's probably stupid to wonder, but I'm curious, just the same. What happened to Cecil? I could only imagine, but it would've been great to know that Prudence or John, gave him a good thrashing and possibly humiliate him (just a little) for what he did and did not do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was looking forward to reading this book.  I got at far as page 137 and finally gave up, maybe I'll go back later and finish, but it was too slow, I kept thinking it would bet better but it didn't.  
CrisConquers More than 1 year ago
After enduring a sexual assault by a so-called "gentleman" at a society party, Prudence buries the confrontation, feeling ashamed and damaged. All of her girlhood dreams of meeting a man at a ball, dancing in his arms and falling in love are obliterated in one fell swoop. No longer able to endure the touch of a man, Prudence builds both physical and mental barriers, shielding herself from the possibility of ever finding love. Her rape causes her to not only lose faith in God but in mankind as a whole. And after all she's encountered. being shoved from a carriage by her fiance as a sacrifice to a highwayman, escaping through the woods and walking all alone in the middle of nowhere, in comes Castleton to turn her world upside down. As much as she is deeply attracted to him and enjoys being in his company, her history with men and her fear keep her from trusting him or allowing him too close. Even with everything she has already endured and lost, Prudence knows Castleton is someone she could lose her heart to if she isn't careful. John Roark has secrets of his own that he keeps close to his chest. The last thing he needs when he's so close to achieving his dream and securing the future of his mother and sister, is to be distracted by the wounded, mysterious lady who consumes his every thought. He can see the pain in her eyes and knows he'll have to ease her into trusting him. What Prudence needs most is to know that someone has her back, that what happened to her does not reflect on her value as a person or as a woman. Though Prudence believes society and most men would think of her as soiled or used goods, John couldn't care less about her lack of virginity. He gives her the reassurance and the confidence she needs to allow herself to step into the sunlight again, and bask in the pleasures that life has to offer. He makes her needs and feelings his priority. Though I love a good authoritative rogue, there's definitely something to be said for a sexy, protective man who doesn't conceal his desire for you while still allowing you set the pace. John and Prudence make taking baby steps so sweet and sensual. And although the story is incredibly emotional and moving, you definitely get the heat you're accustomed to in a Maya Rodale novel. In the introduction to the novel, Maya Rodale states that WHAT A WALLFLOWER is a departure from her more lighthearted romances due to the graphic depiction of sexual violence in the Regency period. The increasingly frequent reports of sexual crimes on the news these days are appalling, but they are not a new occurrence. Even in the eras we love to romanticize and fantasize about, women endured and survived such atrocities. Rodale reminds us that the rules of the Ton were such that if caught, a woman would most likely have been made to marry the very man who violated her, and therefore have the act forced upon her again and again, as would be his legal right as her husband. Though this is definitely a more somber novel in tone than the first two books in the series, and the heroine is burdened by an attack that clings to her soul like quicksand, the beauty of the understanding and connection shared in the love scenes is that much more brilliant for the darkness that preceded it. I was moved by Prudence's story and I think her emotions and thoughts felt genuine. She is a beacon of strength and an inspiration by publicly denouncing her attacker, putting her reputation at risk to keep what happened to her from happening to others. WHAT A WALLFLOWER WANTS isn't just a romance novel. And it's not just a statement on the prevalence of sex crimes and violence against women. Or even a look at the thoughts of a victim and the barbed ball of emotions that stay with her long after the assault. It's the story of a woman, a survivor, and the man who loves her, proving that sometimes heroes do come to the rescue and happy endings do exist. If you're looking for a historical romance that's just a bit more, definitely check out Maya Rodale's WHAT A WALLFLOWER WANTS. Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.
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WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
A fantastic historical romance that I absolutely loved, What a Wallflower Wants was a delight of a read. It was sweet, romantic, and managed to surprise me and I really enjoyed it. Prudence was a great heroine. She was resilient and stronger than she gave herself credit for. She was definitely likable and I thought she was lovely. John was wonderful as well. Sweet and protective over his loved ones. He was definitely chivalrous, determined to not only protect the women in his life, but also teach them to protect themselves. He definitely had some secrets that I didn't expect. He was just great and I really liked him as well. The romance was delightful. Prudence and John were perfect together. I loved how John help Prudence be more confident in herself and move past what happened to her during her first Season. Their romance was both sweet and spicy and I thought they were great together.  The plot was fast paced and I was hooked the entire way through. There were definitely a few surprises along the way that I never saw coming. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was perfect. What a Wallflowers Wants was a wonderful historical romance that I really loved. It was sweet, romantic, and held a few surprises along the way. Romance lovers, this is a book you won't want to miss. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Shortstride More than 1 year ago
Good but not as good as the second book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AllisiaWysong More than 1 year ago
What a Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale Amazing! Brilliant! Daring and Brave!! Maya Rodale’s Wallflower series has been one of my ultimate favorites since the first. She has created her own world with facts and characters that you grow to love. If you loved her Writing Girls series you will be thrilled to know they are mentioned in each of these as well. Maya knows what her readers want and she never fails to deliver. Maya takes a daring step with this new book touching on a subject that was not talked about in the regency era and is still happening today. Prudence our third wallflower had big dreams of grand gestures and parlors full of suitors for her first season. She dreamed that her first season would be for fun, dancing, flirting, and stealing a kiss or two. What she didn’t count on was being compromised and having all her dreams shattered. Prudence changed her dreams, made them into spending her life as a spinster with her other two wallflower friends. Then they found the romance and love she had wanted long ago. She was very happy for them but this forced her to do things she didn’t want to… Prudence tries to elope with a man she knows will not try to force his marital rights, what she didn’t count on was his cowardice. After escaping being offered as the “sacrifice” for a highwayman, walking miles in the sun and downpour she doesn’t think anything could get worse. John Roark, Viscount Castleton, has been on a winning streak. All his dreams are so close he can taste them; nothing will stand in his way, except maybe the rain that won’t stop. This is however not the only reason that keeps him stranded at an inn in the middle of nowhere days from London, where he needs to be as soon as possible. John tried to give the soaking wet Prudence a ride but she had turned him down choosing to walk. He should be able to forget her, but she was just too much like the wounded animals he took care of as a child. The need for safety and protection, yet fight and stubbornness was an odd combination. John found he liked those things in a woman, but not just any women, he liked them in Prue. If only he could convince her he could be trusted. He knew she was hiding things but then again so was he; they both had secrets that could either bring them closer or push them apart forever. You will have to buy this book to find out more about Prudence and her wild ride and see if John Roark, Viscount Castleton’s luck will hold out.
MoniqueD More than 1 year ago
Maya Rodale can throw away her tiara, she can now wear the crown she deserves! A beautiful, fabulous, wonderful, extraordinary, touching book! An absolute must-read! Oh yes, definitely EXCEPTIONAL! Fantastic! Her best book and one of the best books ever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Relaxing summer read,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a great addition to the series- kudos to Rodale for tackling a difficult subject in a romance novel .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the first two books in the series, but this one just seemed to drag. The premis of the book was good, but the book was not as believable as it should have been. I liked the characters though.
regencyromantic1 More than 1 year ago
Disappointing - I usually really enjoy books by this author but this book was awful. Poorly written, I couldn't even finish it.  Don't bother.
zeeba More than 1 year ago
Amazing! What a Wallflower Wants is the last book in Wallflower series. Prudence and John's story is amazing, emotional with great characters. Prudence's story is totally different from the first two wallflowers, theirs were more light-heart romance while hers is more dark with secret of her past. John has his own secret which I couldn't guess until the middle of the book. It is one of those book that I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed this amazing book and what a gorgeous cover! Thank you Maya Rodale for writing another amazing book.
Marcy99 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and thought it tied up this series very well. While it was darker than the previous stories, the overall message was one of regaining inner strength and the power of love. It's always good when a book can make me both laugh and cry like this one did.
CDoland More than 1 year ago
Great Book. I love a book I can not put down and this was definitely it. Maya does a great job and I always love her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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SummerSnowFalls More than 1 year ago
Would give 0 stars if possible. I am absolutely disgusted by this book. The entirety of chapter 8 is devoted to long, descriptive passages detailing the rape of the heroine. I was physically sick and had to turn the audiobook off. I tried to get through the chapter a few days later and once again was revolted by the narrative. It’s bad enough that so many books use rape and sexual abuse as a plot device, but was it really necessary to devote an entire CHAPTER to the ordeal!? Did Not Finish.