Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Review: How to Be a Wallflower by Eloisa James

How to Be a Wallflower by Eloisa James
Series: Would-Be Wallflowers, Book 1
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical Romance 
How to Be a Wallflower cover
ISBN: 9780063139527
Release Date: March 29, 2022
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible
Eloisa James Reading Order

Miss Cleopatra Lewis is about to be launched in society by her aristocratic grandfather. But since she has no intention of marrying, she visits a costume emporium specifically to order unflattering dresses guaranteed to put off any prospective suitors.

Powerful and charismatic Jacob Astor Addison is in London, acquiring businesses to add to his theatrical holdings in America—as well as buying an emerald for a young lady back in Boston. He’s furious when a she-devil masquerading as an English lady steals Quimby’s Costume Emporium from under his nose.

Jake strikes a devil’s bargain, offering to design her “wallflower wardrobe” and giving Cleo the chance to design his. Cleo can’t resist the fun of clothing the rough-hewn American in feathers and flowers. And somehow in the middle of their lively competition, Jake becomes her closest friend.

It isn’t until Cleo becomes the toast of all society that Jake realizes she’s stolen his fiercely guarded heart. But unlike the noblemen at her feet, he doesn’t belong in her refined and cultured world.

Caught between the demands of honor and desire, Jake would give up everything to be with the woman he loves—if she’ll have him!

How to Be a Wallflower is completely charming. It’s bright, fun, fast-paced, and sweet with a nice dash of spice. In Jake and Cleo’s romance, author Eloisa James has kicked off her Would-Be Wallflowers series with a love story that will leave you smiling.

Cleo Lewis has spent her life following her mother and the broken hearts left in her wake. Cleo is a sharp, smart businesswoman who is more interested in growing her company, Lewis Commodes, than she is in marrying. In London for the Season to bond with her grandfather, Cleo is determined to make herself into a wallflower. She visits a costume emporium, intent on ordering unflattering dresses, but manages to not only invest a new business but thwart a brash American as well! Jake Addison is furious at having lost a business deal, but that anger is quickly replaced by his fascination with Cleo. It’s not long before his course has shifted and his new aim is to win the heart of the woman who is his match in every way.

Cleo and Jake are too cute for words. Cleo is unconventional and no-nonsense, which I liked. Jake is her perfect match; a blunt businessman who appreciates Cleo’s mind as much as he does the rest of her. Jake made me smile with how quickly he fell head-over-heels for Cleo. I loved that he didn’t question it, wasn’t bothered by the depth of his affection, and was willing to do what it took to win Cleo over without ever pressuring her. I’ll leave it to readers to discover how he does, but the interesting sartorial choices, the breakfasts and brandies…all of it was a joy. Their romance sparkles, the banter between them made me grin, and I loved how straightforward they were about their desires. I liked that James made them friends as well as lovers, and it was impossible not to be delighted by them as a couple.

How to Be a Wallflower is the first book in a new series but fans of James’s My American Duchess will love revisiting the heroine of that book as Merry is Jake’s best friend (though reading Merry’s book is not a prerequisite to fully enjoy this one). James also introduces new potential protagonists in this book that have me incredibly eager to read more Would-Be Wallflowers stories. Jake and Cleo’s romance is bright, honest, sensual, and sweet – the perfect escape read.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.