[book review] The Duke’s Wayward Wallflower by Maggie Dallen

Synopsis: There’s no love lost between this shy wallflower and society’s most formidable duke. The Duke of Mandrick has made it clear he’s only aiding Felicity’s successful entrance into society because he’s taken pity on his friend’s poor country relation. 

Luckily for Felicity, her chaperone Lady Greta has agreed to tutor her in the art of flirtation. And since the cold hearted duke is the last man to fall for her charms, he’s the perfect man to practice on. However, when her attempts to flirt are an epic fail, it’s the duke who comes to her rescue. And when she faints on the dance floor in front of all of society, it’s his strong arms that are holding her when she wakes. Gazing up into his warm, dark eyes, she’s left with one crucial question.

If the duke caught her on the dance floor . . . why does she still feel like she’s falling?

A sweet, standalone regency romance filled with witty banter, swoony kisses, and ballroom shenanigans. 

This story takes place before the SWEET REGENCY ROMANCE SCHOOL OF CHARM series.

Every once in a while I want nothing but a light read, a well thought out story, and seamless characters. So imagine my frustration when I sat down to read the other night and I couldn’t even get past the first chapter for several books I tried. Finally, finally one managed to grab my attention from the very beginning. And that’s a hard feat to accomplish. Even though I got a little bored near the end of THE DUKE’S WAYWARD WALLFLOWER, I still always have fun finding out if my thoughts about certain plots and characters end up being true. Let’s take a look at this sweet romance by Maggie Dallen.

The Characters

This story is told through several POVs – Felicity, Mandrick, Marian and Bartholomew. Felicity and Mandrick are the true h and H, so I don’t really understand why Felicity’s cousins needed to have their own subplot. Especially since Book 2 (coming in 2024) doesn’t involve either one of them. I really felt that if the author wanted to tell Marian’s story, then she should’ve made that separate from Felicity’s.

I appreciated the fact that, even with this clean romance, there is no Instalove (a trope/plot device pet peeve of mine). There is an extremely timid and sheltered heroine who wants her more worldly auntie to teach her how to flirt. While this did factor in to Felicity’s character development, it did feel kind of like a lazy way to tell her story. Especially since there are so many sweet romances out there that use the same formula.

I also appreciated there was also no “fatal attraction” situation, either, that it was definitely more “opposites attract.” Which is more realistic than instalove. However, I never did catch the MCs ages, which would’ve helped ground the reader a bit more. I could ascertain Felicity’s young age, especially when other characters spoke of her having a proper season. But it has always bothered me when authors purposefully chose to leave out need-to-know information. Again, I don’t know if I just missed it, or if it wasn’t mentioned at all. Anyway…moving on.

The Writing

The pacing was very good right up until the 70% mark where I found myself getting a little bored with the story. I don’t need characters to always be throwing themselves at each other, but I do prefer a bit more action in the stories I read. Thankfully, with the multiple POVs, they didn’t jump back and forth as much as I’ve seen in other novels, so that did help move the story along.

Also, why include a subplot with a different POV if it’s not going to be mentioned in the synopsis at all? While the two plot lines did eventually wrap up nicely, I did correctly guess the outcome of another subplot early on as well. Sweet romances have a tendency to be predictable, and I was actually okay with that this particular read. Would I read another of Ms. Dallen’s books? I really can’t say.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Final Thoughts

This novel starts off strong, but then slowly fizzles into several cliche scenes found in a lot of Victorian or Regency era romances. There’s always the fainting scene, always the should we/shouldn’t we, and always the “vultures” (aka other suitors) waiting to swoop in when the hero isn’t looking. While there are some tender moments and funny scenes, I decided to give THE DUKE’S WAYWARD WALLFLOWER a 3 out of 5 star rating. It could’ve been better if the POVs stayed to just two or even one. If you’re looking for an easy read on a Friday night, this just may do the trick. However, I wanted to love this story, considering how many books Ms. Dallen has to her name. But it just wasn’t for me.

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Budding #historian. Writer of #adventures and #sciencefantasy. Lover of mushrooms and libraries. Fan of #chocolate, #books and Pennsylvania history.

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