Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Sinful Wallflowers, #1
Release Date: December 31, 2019
After three unsuccessful seasons, Katherine “Kitty” Danvers makes a bold and potentially scandalous decision, to save her family. Since she is not wed and has no prospects, she leaks a story to the scandal sheets – that she is betrothed to Alexander Masters, the reclusive and absent Duke of Thornton. Her logic is simple, the duke has been written about many times and yet, he never refutes the stories and he never comes to London. She thinks that pretending to be his fiancée will elevate her socially, thus giving her sisters a chance to make good matches, she hopes that by the time the ton figures out her ruse, her sisters will be taken care of and she can just fade into the background. She knows that by following this course, she will be ruined and any hope of a happy marriage and a family of her own will be lost. But since her father died and left them almost penniless, she feels it is her duty to care for her mother and sisters, no matter the personal cost.
Kitty is amazed how easily the ton believes her story and when one of the duke’s solicitors visits and begin to toady to her, she thinks that she may actually pull this off! What she doesn’t know is that Alexander has been made aware of her scam and has decided to play along – for now.
Left seriously injured and badly scarred after the fire that killed his parents ten years ago, Alexander spent years slowly healing and when he tried to return to society, a humiliating incident sent him scurrying back to his castle in Scotland. So when he learns that he is betrothed to Kitty, he does the unthinkable – he goes to London to meet her.
Kitty is shocked when the duke shows up in a wheeled chair and demands an audience with her. She had no idea he was crippled and scarred, she brazens the meeting out and is surprised when Alexander seems willing to play along. The next time they meet, she is shocked again to learn that he can walk and when they dance, she feels a connection that she never dreamed possible, but when he rushes away after their dance, she is left wondering if she imagined the connection, unwilling to let him walk away, she follows and learns even more about her faux fiancé and agrees to a very improper demand by the duke to keep her secret safe.
What follows is a sweet “beauty and the beast” type story with some interesting twists. Personally, I liked the story and enjoyed the retelling, but for me, the story did become a little repetitious and dragged a bit in the middle until almost the end of the book, making it really easy to put down and a bit of a chore to finish. This is one of those rare books that I really liked the story, but felt that I would have liked it better as a novella. Katherine and Alexander are both likable, the chemistry between them is a living, breathing thing, most of the love scenes were subdued but potent, the story touches on issues not usually broached in romance novels and the author does an amazing job dealing with those issues, there are several set ups for future installments that add to the story without detracting from Kitty and Alexander, the secondary characters are wonderful and the ending brought a tear to my eye. Overall, I did like the book, I would recommend it and I am looking forward to reading the adventures of the other “Sinful Wallflowers”
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by the publisher.*