Some days you just want a nice cosy Regency romance… So A Lord for the Wallflower Widow looked like a great Sunday read to me. As a Mills and Boon Insider, I got to read this one early, and it’s definitely one fans of the genre will want to pre-order!
Book: A Lord for the Wallflower Widow by Ann Lethbridge
Read before: No
Ownership: E-ARC provided by Mills and Boon for fair review.
One of the things I really enjoy about historical romance series is seeing how they manage to connect the books (since each book should, of course, end with a happy ending for the main couple). Here, the connecting thread is that we will follow two sisters and their sister-in-law, after they have all been widowed simultaneously when their husbands died in battle. It’s a little far-fetched, but provides an interesting background and a range of emotions to deal with, so I’m interested to see the stories of the other two widows!
Carrie, the sister-in-law, is the heroine of this book, and I really, really liked her. She’s not so much a wallflower as a very determined woman who refuses to worry about society’s opinion of her. When she and her sisters-in-law are widowed, rather than immediately searching for new husbands (the socially approved, and indeed, sensible thing to do), she leads them in setting up a shop in London to sell their handmade bonnets and other accessories. I liked that Carrie’s family history of trade meant that she had no qualms about becoming a shop owner – she does face some prejudice against her because of it, but her no-nonsense attitude is very endearing. She’s also smart, both street smart and book smart, which makes her much more interesting to read about.
Lord Avery is a fairly standard rake-with-a-heart-of-gold character, but what was interesting about him was that he didn’t just seduce women in his rakishness. Rather, he sets himself up as a sort of cicisbeo, a companion who accompanies married women to their engagements while their husbands are out of town, which has two benefits: firstly, the husbands get jealous, come home and pay more attention to their wives, and secondly, Avery gets a cut of the profits from any shop owner that his women buy from in his company. It’s a pretty clever system, and doesn’t actually involve any seduction anywhere, though I can see how he got his reputation!
Avery’s ‘job’, though, is a nice counterpoint to Carrie’s business, and you can see how these two determined people, who don’t mind bending the rules of society, would be a great fit for each other. They have instant chemistry, although neither of them is looking for love, and it’s fun to watch them completely fail to realise they’ve fallen for each other until it’s too late. I very much enjoyed watching their stubbornness play out at the end of the book, which I won’t spoil, but suffice to say that I was absolutely beaming as I read as it was just so cute!
Overall, this is a really fun romance that should leave a smile on your face. Best enjoyed wrapped up in a blanket with a nice cup of tea on a quiet afternoon – it’s well worth looking out for, and I’m going to be checking out some more of the author’s books! Four out of five cats.