The fifth book in the Wallflowers series, published October 2008.
New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas invites you to spend the holidays with the Wallflowers – four young London ladies who finally found the men of their dreams … and will join together one more to help the world’s most notorious rogue meet his match.
The magic of Christmas
Rafe Bowman has just arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting and, if it weren't for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen…
Begins under the Mistletoe
Winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman had anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic … and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.
A lovely little novella, to catch up with the four couples in the original Wallflower series. Lillian and Daisy’s father has decided it is time for his oldest son to marry, and if he agrees, and to marry the woman his father has chosen for him, he will get huge benefits from his father. Not that Rafe needs them, he is a rich man in his own rights, but he does want a piece of the European branch of the soapmaking factory his father has started. So he agrees to meet Natalie Blandford, a lovely young woman of a good family. Her father is eager for the match, as the Bowmans are exceptionally rich and will keep his daughter in wealth. But especially the connection to Lord Westcliff is important to him.
So when his daughters chaperone gets an invitation to have tea with the Duchess of Westcliff, he urges her to agree to that. Of course it is only to find out about Nathalie’s virtues, and if she and Lillian’s brother Rafe could be compatible. But it is an important invitation, and Hannah should go.
Hannah is a poor relative of the Blandfords, and has been taking care of Nathalie for years now. She loves her dearly, and doesn’t believe an uncouth American is a good match for Nathalie. No matter how rich he is. He is a commoner, and a barbarian. But when she sets eyes on Rafe, and accepts his handshake, something strange happens.
And Rafe also doesn’t know what is happening. He is about to marry someone, but all he wants is Hannah in his arms, in his bed. I
n a few days time the house party at Stony Cross Park starts. The Blandfords are invited of course, to give Rafe and Nathalie time to get to know one another. Hannah will have to chaperone Nathalie, and will be close to Rafe because of that. Her cousin wants some alone time with Rafe, to find out about his kisses for herself. Which is an important something to know, if you are thinking about marrying some one.
Hannah wanders off, and finds herself in the library, reading A Christmas Carol to a bunch of children. An activity she repeats every night until the book is finished. But Rafe is also one of the listeners, and he finds himself drawn to Hannah more and more. How can he marry Nathalie when it is Hannah he dreams about? But not marrying Nathalie means disownment by his father, and will he risk that? Is he capable of love and fidelity?
He had a very harsh youth, his father was extremely strict and rude with him, so when he came off age, knowing he would never get the approval he wanted, he went the other way. Rafe became a rake, a hellion, and a major player at the stockmarket. But deep inside, there is still that lonely boy who was never allowed to play with other children.
A really lovely little love story. As it is only a novella, there was no big break up scene before the reconciliation. Both Rafe and Hannah have to trust in their love for each other, never believing they are good enough. But there is unmistakable attraction between them, and admiration as well. They get to know each other, and fall in love (and lust). Some hot love scenes and kisses.
As always, I love Lisa Kleypas’ writing style, her humor, the great characters and secondary characters. No perfect heroes, but with their own flaws and honourable intentions (and a few less honourable). It is a book that will make you smile.