Stevie Carroll's Reviews > The Wallflower Wager

The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare
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bookshelves: reviewed-elsewhere

Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

Out of the trio of eccentric unmarried ladies living in Bloom Square at the time of the first book in this series, Penny is possibly the most eccentric. Sadly, she’s possibly also the least adventurous in the manifestations of her eccentricity, at least from my point of view, in that she neither invents nor repairs any sort of mechanical device, unlike her two friends. Instead, Penny rescues unwanted animals and subjects her friends to unpalatable vegetable-based snacks of her own invention. I’m enjoying the series, though, and I had a lot of curiosity regarding how – or whether – all of Penny’s waifs and strays were going to be re-homed at the demand of her new neighbour – and with his reluctant help.

Gabriel Duke is a self-made man, whose wealth has been built on the back of other’s misfortunes. Having found a way out of the rookeries, where his mother sold him to the landlord of a pub for a shilling, through hard work and cunning, he now makes a tidy profit buying up the houses of cash-strapped aristocrats and selling them on to newly successful merchants at a greatly inflated price – and he’s not above contributing to the former group’s downfall or increasing the appeal of the properties he buys for the latter. Gabe’s latest purchase – on Bloom Square – is in need of modernisation to make it properly saleable, but he’s also very aware that having an earl’s daughter living close by will greatly increase its value to social climbers. The one problem he soon discovers is that said daughter of an earl has far too many animals on her property for her proximity to be properly appealing.

Lady Penelope Campion is very content to live alone with her animals, even now two of her three best friends are busy with their marriages and families. When her latest rescue – a parrot – escapes into a neighbouring empty house, Penny is surprised to find that the property’s new owner is in residence, and that he is a notorious rogue. She’s unfazed by him, however, even though he’s practically naked when they first meet. A more pressing problem is soon brought to her attention by means of a visitation from her aunt. Penny’s family disapprove of her living arrangements and insist that she either find a husband or move to her brother’s country property, where she can make herself useful as a companion.

Faced with that unwelcome prospect, and with Gabe’s insistence that she has too many pets, the neighbours – Gabe, Penny, and Penny’s friends and their families – team up to re-home the animals and to make Penny into a proper member of Society. I was looking forward to lots of adventures with the different animals in turn, but some of them got glossed over a little, I felt, in favour of Penny’s romps with Gabe. I also felt that the trauma in Penny’s past wasn’t given quite the weight it deserved in relation to said romps and her fears about re-entering the world that turned its back on her after an unsuccessful debut.

On the plus side, I liked the way that Gabe is honest with Penny about her awful sandwiches. I enjoyed learning a little more about Nicola’s inventions and I’m intrigued about her secret that we hear hints concerning over the course of the story. I’m looking forward to her book, even if this one was a trifle disappointing.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 15, 2019 – Shelved
August 15, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewed-elsewhere
August 15, 2019 – Finished Reading

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