The Wicked Wallflower

Avon. 2013. 355p. ISBN 9780062231147. pap. $5.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062231154. ROMANCE
OrangeReviewStarFour seasons without an offer is not very encouraging for a graduate of Lady Penelope's Finishing School for Young Ladies. Of course, Lady Emma Avery, dubbed the Buxom Bluestocking, always has Benedict Chase, her beau of three years despite no formal betrothal. Under the influence of too much sherry, Emma's fellow wallflowers Olivia and Prudence create a notice for The London Weekly announcing Emma's engagement to the scandalous and oh, so affecting Duke of Ashbrooke—and it winds up in print, leaving readers to wonder how one of London's Least Likely could snare such a sensual paramour. Blake Auden, the ninth Duke of Ashbrooke, is curious as well, having never met the woman to whom he supposedly lost his heart. Still, a sham engagement will help to polish his reputation enough to enlist backers for his mathematical Difference Engine. He can also perhaps win his Aunt Agatha's Fortune Games with Emma's help. Emma would like to win, too, to pave the way for her marriage to Benedict.
VERDICT The self-described plain Jane considers herself immune to the devastating Ashbrooke Effect. The hero never would have noticed this wallflower; now, he can't stop thinking about her. The latest from Rodale (Seducing Mr. Knightly) is a funny, heartfelt, and lovingly crafted romance that readers will savor. Highly recommended.

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