Reviewed by Christy
American Rafe Bowman has arrived in Queen Victoria’s London just in time for Christmas and his arranged courtship of Lady Natalie Blandford. Rafe’s sisters may be known to Kleypas fans as the protagonists of the previous Wallflower novels in which they look for love. In A Wallflower Christmas they are the ones trying to do the matchmaking, however. While Natalie is seemingly the perfect match for Rafe – proper, beautiful, and of good standing – his eye is drawn more to Natalie’s chaperone Hannah.
I had no knowledge of the Wallflowers series when I picked this up but it can be read as a standalone. This novel is short but not all that sweet. I was originally looking for a simple historical fiction Christmas novel, the main focus on the Christmas part, and this seemed to fit the bill. But the holiday season is not much more than a backdrop. The real focus is Rafe and his confounding feelings toward Hannah. Rafe seems to be your typical alpha male romantic interest (aka a jerk). Maybe I would’ve enjoyed the “bad boy” angle when I was younger but now it was not appealing in the least. Of course, like in any good romance, the rough exterior eventually melts away so our leading man can win the girl. Hannah was fine, I guess, but not super exciting as a protagonist.
Although it was a quick, somewhat entertaining read I’m not sure if I’m inclined to peruse the rest of the series. Hannah and Rafe’s love story was of an instant variety, and their personalities seemed to just be romance stereotypes with no real dimension: a womanizing rake whose heart and defenses thaw when he meets an angelic girl who can finally change him. None of which would be too terribly awful if they threw some more Christmas in there – which is why I picked up the book in the first place. So to sum it up, it’s not horrible. There are certainly worse ways to spend your time. But there are also plenty of cozier and better Christmas books to settle in with on a cold night.