Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Wendy Lyn Watson - Once Upon a Wallflower

When Mira Fitzhenry’s guardian arranges her engagement to one of the most scandalous, yet devastatingly handsome lords to ever grace the peerage, all of society is abuzz. After all, the man has left a trio of dead young women in his wake, including his first fiancée.
Expecting to scare the chit away within five minutes of meeting him, scarred and brooding Nicholas, the Viscount Ashfield, is intrigued by the unfashionably lovely Mira, but his family’s dark secret means he must fight his attractions. No matter what his heart wants.
As the wedding approaches, Nicholas and Mira grow ever closer, yet so does the very real danger. Will the truth bring Nicholas and Mira together or tear their love apart?

Comment: I got interested in this story last year although I can't remember where. I assume my interest derived from the fact the heroine is shy and not seen as beautiful. I like shy or timid or less than appreciated heroines so I hoped for a very interesting path for the heroine but the overall plot wasn't as smooth as I imagined.

In this book we meet Mirabelle, better known as Mira, when her uncle decides to marry her off to settle some debts. However, the man who she is supposed to marry is suspected of murdering his former fiancé which makes the situation difficult but Mira knows she will have the opportunity of a lifetime to not only compensate her uncle but to have a family of her own. Will she help her new fiancé discover the truth so that his name can be cleared? Or will the real killer attack again?

This was an interesting story because it mixed the historical elements usually found in historical romances but also some gothic feel by having the characters be immersed in an investigation, albeit not with policemen helping.
I see the author has a career more focused on cozy mysteries but her stepping in towards historical romance wasn't badly done. I just think the story wasn't as smooth as it could.

The plot basically centers around the investigation of the crimes to clear Nicholas' name, the man Mira is going to marry and also the relationship between them.
Mira and Nicholas both start looking at the other not as a potential partner in reality but as a person to not deceive by allowing the marriage to happen. So, that means both try to act as they are supposed to look like for the other ( a murdered that wouldn't be husband material in Nicholas' case and a plain woman who doesn't attract men in Mira's) but as they get to know one another, they realize hey can be a strong team.  

I liked the to protagonists individually although some of the traits they are described as having aren't always as well used and that felt like a shame because the potential was a little lost trying to mix so many elements together. This means some situations were very predictable (like the way we are supposed to follow a line of thought in order to know who the killer is) and the story looses some impact. Of course the sometimes difficult to believe behavior of some characters, the exaggeration of some of them to the point of looking like caricatures (like Mira's cousin Belle) made it more complicated to have the feel this was a fluid story from start to end.

All things considered, this wasn't bad and I liked reading about Mira and her thoughts, it was interesting to know how a person not very appreciated by others saw positive things to enjoy her life the way she could. I understand her decision to marry, to have a family and her trust in Nicholas despite the rumors was to applaud. 
I just think the overall experience of reading this wasn't as fascinating as the blurb promises. Still, not a bad effort, considering this was the first thing I've read by the author.
Grade: 6/10

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