Hey ya’ll. So, another Christmas romance! Surprised? Probably not. It’s such a busy time of year, and this is all my brain can really handle when I’m so exhausted.
So, if you’re a historical romance fan you’re probably familiar with Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflower series. It’s about four young “wallflower” ladies in England who meet and become friends, and agree to help each other find husbands. They all have some barrier – one girl is super shy, another is kind of poor, and the other two are American (which at that time was I guess a bad thing, cause they were unrefined and not of nobility). And you know, there’s four books in the series (one for each of them) and I read the first one a while back and remember thinking it was cute. I still have the others in the series, just haven’t gotten around to them yet. Anyhoo, this little novella is a cute edition.
American Rafe Bowman (the brother of the two American wallflowers) is in London for the holidays – to visit his newly married sisters, and to get engaged himself. His father has chosen the rich and beautiful Natalie for his son to marry – but first he must meet and impress Hannah, Natalie’s lady in waiting.
So, Rafe is a smart and ambitious young man making his fortune on Wall Street and through manufacturing in America, but he’s also brash, crude, and a womanizer. He’s almost sure he’ll end up marrying Natalie, for her generous inheritance and to please his father and get his piece of the family business. However sweet, proper Hannah is convinced that he is no where good enough for Natalie, and does her best to get in the way. Like the normal rake, Rafe is intrigued by the challenge that Hannah poses, and can’t stop thinking about her. And romance blooms over the Christmas season.
So, as a romance novel it’s no secret where this ends up – Hannah and Rafe fall in love and get married. I’m unsure how I felt about the story though. For one, this is a short little book – only about 200 pages. Rafe is initially kind of unlikable, since he’s kind of rude and a bit of a man-slut. But of course we learn about how he’s really just a sad, mistreated child inside and he’s really a good guy, blah blah blah. Almost no backstory was given for Hannah – we learn that she’s Natalie’s lady in waiting, which is really just an unpaid servant. We never really learn what happened to her family and how she came into her present situation, just that she has the hopes of marrying a respectable man in a good profession. Now as proper and kind of goody-goody Hannah was, and how crass and jerkish Rafe was, I kind of liked them. I liked how relaxed Rafe was, and his sense of humor. I liked that Hannah was intelligent, and that she just kind of got herself into awkward, funny situations.
I guess for me this was a little too insta-love. They meet and fall in love in the matter of a few days to a week – Rafe really just goes on and on about how lusty Hannah makes him, and all of the sudden that translated to love. I guess it all just happened too easily – this would have been better with a little more story and more courting. An extra 100 pages would have made a big difference.
Anywayyys… this was a cute romance novel, and a quick read. And I bet Wallflower fans will definitely enjoy re-visiting some of their favorite characters. And I did enjoy the mentions of Christmas – decorating a giant Christmas tree, reading Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, etc.
Sarah Says: 3 stars