Once Upon A Wallflower by Wendy Lyn Watson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received an ebook copy for review from Netgalley.
Mira Fitzhenry is the poor relation. She lives with her uncle and his family and is made to feel sub par in every way. She doesn't fit in with society's standards and has grown to accept how everyone views her. She has the misfortune of sharing a name with her cousin and therefore becomes a pawn in her uncle's plan to get out of debt and save his own daughter. Her uncle has promised that Miss Mirabelle Fitzhenry will marry the Viscount Ashfield in exchange for his gambling debts to be cleared by the Viscount's father the Earl of Blackwell. The Earl is a scoundrel and the Viscount is rumored to be a murderer, to dabble in the black arts and a number of other unsavory things.
Nicholas, the Viscount Ashfield, reminded me of a romantic version of Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. They are both dark, brooding men who spend their time roaming the moors. He despises having been called to London by his father and plan on using his unsavory reputation and skilled dark looks to scare away the unlucky women. That was his plan until he met Mira. The fact that Mira is everything that society is not, attracts him to her almost instantly. It helps that she feels almost the same attraction. Their plans to end the engagement falter as they get to know and like each other.
When the story moves from London to Blackwell Hall, is when I started to have some issues with the story. Mira's desire to solve the mystery of the deaths of two local girls and Nicholas' first fiancee, turned this story from a more Gothic mystery into a historical cozy mystery. I would have preferred if the solving of the mystery to have been more subtle than her outright investigation. I would have also liked a bit more of the scenes with Mira and Nicholas alone to have focused on who they are than on solving the mystery. Their romantic story lacked a little something for me, and I really liked them together.
I think this book is perfect for those who read cozy mysteries and would like to venture into romance, especially historical romance.