WHAT A WALLFLOWER WANTS – Maya Rodale
Wallflower Series , Book 3
London, England - 1820, 1824
It's Prudence Merryweather Payton's first season, but at her first ball, something happens to her that will change her life dramatically for the next four years. A dance with “The Beast”, a dark corner, and she is forced against her will. Thereafter she will not dance, touch, or look a man in the eye, not even telling her two best friends Olivia and Emma what happened. Prudence, nicknamed London's “ Least Likely to be Caught in a Compromising Position” knows no man will want her, and marriage is out of the question .
Four years later Prudence is trying to be happy for her two friends' marriages when she gets the dreaded invitation to the hundredth anniversary of their school, Lady Penelope's Finishing School for Young Ladies of Fine Families. In the hundred years of the school, not one girl has been unmarried by her fourth season, and this is Prudence's. How she can attend without a husband is beyond her, which leads her to do something rash; she goes to Bath with her aunt and guardian, Lady Dare, and meets Cecil, Lord Nanson. Cecil needs someone to stop his mother from plaguing him to marry, and Prudence will get a marriage of convenience so she can return to London head held high. As they are in a mail coach to Cecil's estate to marry by Special License, they are set upon by a bandit, and Cecil pushes her out of the coach, sure she is the reason they are being robbed. Miles walking in the rain convince Prudence Cecil probably was a poor choice for a husband anyway, especially when a dashing man in a carriage offers her a ride to the nearest inn. Get in a carriage with a man she doesn't know? No way, she'll walk
John Roark, Lord Castleton meets a headstrong girl on the road during the rain, and is intrigued when she refuses a ride. John has lived by his wits for the past few years, going to any activity involving wagering and trying to fleece as many men as possible. He is trying to save money to support his mother and sister, and is on his way to London for the Great Exhibition to meet the inventors of the Difference Engine and make a deal to manufacture it. Such an invention and its production could mean wealth for his family, and he'd never have to be hungry again. But it seems the rain won't stop, and when Prudence goes to the same inn as he, John sets himself to learn more about her and why she was walking alone in the rain.
Maya Rodale ends the Wallflower Series with a much more serious story of Prudence and John Roark, Viscount Castleton (or maybe he isn't who he says he is). Prudence lives with the specter of rape following everything and everyone she meets. John is what she considers kind and helpful as he tries to make her feel comfortable with him. But Prudence once again encounters “The Beast” and finds out John is not who he says he is.
Secondary characters are Emma and Olivia, Prudence's best friends, and their husbands. Lord Dudley, “The Beast”, uses his strength to overpower women just as men do now, to feel powerful. And then the “real” Lord Castleton returns from overseas to find many stories going around society about him.
WHAT A WALLFLOWER WANTS follows the change in Prudence's life as she finds a good man who values her and makes her feel whole again. Following THE WICKED WALLFLOWER (October 2013) and WALLFLOWER GONE WILD (March 2014), all three friends have given up their lives as wallflowers and found the men who can appreciate them. Touching a sensitive topic, WHAT A WALLFLOWER WANTS is a poignant story of sexual assault and Prudence's recovery.