How the Wallflower Was Won (Last Chance Scoundrels, 2)

Written by Eva Leigh
Review by Ray Thompson

London, 1818. Tabitha Seaton wants to join the Sterling Society, an exclusive gathering of influential intellectuals, but they refuse to consider an unmarried woman. Finn Ransome’s father demands that not only he, but his brother and their close friend (?), make a respectable marriage or they will lose their allowance. Since she is a brilliant and widely-read bluestocking while he, though shrewd enough, has a reading disability, this unlikely pairing seems to offer little beyond a marriage of convenience. They do, admittedly, share an attraction, but will it prove enough?

Though these will undoubtedly appeal to some readers, the frequent and protracted sexual scenes feel at odds with the focus upon the injustice and prejudice of the patriarchal system. Nor does the issue of a reading disability receive as much attention as it might, other than as a source of abuse from unsympathetic parents and teachers. Although the conclusion drifts towards sentimentalism, the damage which unkindness and prejudice inflict upon both Tabitha and Finn is insightful, and it does explain their frustrating difficulties learning to trust each other and confess their true feelings. Recommended.