How to Win a Wallflower by Samara Parish
Tracy’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars
Series: Rebels with a Cause, #3
Release Date: December 13, 2022
After living and working in America for years, John Barnesworth is back in England, but not by choice. His older brother Walter, who was unmarried, has died, making John the new Viscount Harrow. John has no desire to stay in England, he plans to quickly set the estate to rights and return to Boston, but that was before he learned his brother has bankrupted the estate, leaving a mountain of debt and the pièce de résistance – he signed a betrothal contract for the “Viscount Harrow” to marry Lady Luella, harpy of the first order. And if all this wasn’t bad enough – he finds himself attracted to his best friend, Edward the Duke of Wildeford’s little sister, Lady Charlotte Stirling, AND being warned off by the aforementioned duke. John has no idea how he is going to fix this mess, but one thing he knows for sure, there is no way he is going to marry Lady Luella.
Lady Charlotte has turned down at least twenty proposals over the last four years, not because she doesn’t want to marry, but because she hasn’t found the right man, which might be because he was living in America. Charlotte had had a secret tender for John for many years and was a bit heartbroken when he left England. But now he is back and even though her brother is telling her that John is not right for her and that she won’t be happy with the shy inventor, she can’t stop wanting him. When she learns that he may have to marry her nemesis, Lady Luella to save the estate, she hatches a plan that will enable him to pay off the debts without having to marry, unless he wants to (hint, hint) and it will also enable her to save her other brother, William out of a bind. She shares her idea with John, who is resistant at first, but then agrees to give it a try, and even though they are complete opposites; she is a social butterfly and he is happiest alone, they have a chemistry that cannot be denied and together they make an unbeatable team. But just when it seems like all their problems are about to be solved and HEA is within their reach, everything starts to fall apart and their love will be put to the test.
This was an interesting read that uses some tried and true tropes like opposites attract and forbidden love. John and Charlotte are very relatable and easy to like, making it almost impossible not to root for them in their quest for HEA. The book has a lot going on; secrets, lies, drug/alcohol addictions, characters with self-esteem issues, questionable choices, warm love scenes, nail-biting moments, surprises, shocks, and a comedy of errors leading to a HEA. It was a good read, but frankly, it seemed a bit too much at times, especially at the end when it really started to unravel – seriously, it was over the top. But, despite the ending, I did enjoy the story and would definitely recommend it. This is the third book in the series, but you could easily read it as a standalone title.
*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.*