The Wallflower’s Stocking by Jane Charles

The Wallflower's Stocking (Christmas Wallflowers, #9)The Wallflower’s Stocking by Jane Charles

Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Ties to “The Reluctant Rake” (Available on Amazon) and “Christmas Bauble” (Free on the author’s website)

Release Date: December 9, 2022

Last Christmas Eve, Lady Gaia Evans and Zachariah Radburn, the new Marquess of Lydell met in a brothel after they were both waylaid by a blizzard. They spent the evening talking and made plans to meet again in London and she promised to save him a waltz. Sadly, they didn’t manage to reconnect during the season as Zachariah was snubbed due to the evil doings of his cousin the former Marquess, and left town before Gaia arrived. But fate wasn’t done with this couple and they meet again in Bath when Gaia’s brother Angelo introduces them and is surprised to learn that they have already met!

Gaia spent a miserable season in London and was disappointed when Zachariah never appeared. Despite being very popular in her mother’s homeland of Italy, she found herself more comfortable with the wallflowers. When her mother suggested they move to Bath for Christmastide, she was happy to leave – until she learned that her mother had plans to find her a husband! Her brother offered to introduce her to one of his friends and she was beyond delighted when Angelo’s friend turned out to be the handsome stranger she spent last Christmas Eve with. She immediately felt the connection they had shared and hoped to get to know him better.

Zachariah was just as happy to see Gaia as she was to see him, he had thought of her many times over the last year and was sorry that he never got to claim his waltz. He would have waited for her, but the treatment he received in London made it clear that he was not welcome, thanks in part to his American heritage, but mostly because of his cousin’s actions, even though he never met the man. Left to raise his cousin’s daughter Alice, he could only hope that one day the gossip would die down when the ton saw that he was nothing like the former Marquess. Now it seems as if his luck is changing and he has been given a second chance with Gaia – a chance he won’t squander! But when it becomes clear that his cousin’s vile doings have hit closer to home than he thought, any chance for a HEA seems impossible.

This was a well-written, nicely-paced, sweet novella that ties into two previous stories. I loved Gaia and Zachariah as a couple and the antics of her Angelo were absolutely hilarious! This is set at Christmas, but it didn’t really feel like a Christmas novella, it was more like a second-chance romance. I liked that this wasn’t an “insta-love” story and that the characters actually took the time to get to know each other and while I usually prefer some sizzle, this kissing-only story didn’t suffer from a lack of heat. I am happy to recommend this delightful story, it is perfect to curl up with in a cozy spot and a cup of tea and it can be read in an afternoon (if your people leave you alone – good luck) that I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

*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.*

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Avid reader (and reviewer) of historical romance.

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