The first of a four book series called The Wallflowers, this book is about Miss Annabelle Peyton and Mr Simon Hunt.
Four young ladies enter London society with one common goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.
Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle's most intriguing -- and persistent -- admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition ... but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.
Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon -- and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon's passionate embrace and tempting kisses ... and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.
Simon was a man with new money, making his own way into the world at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. Having only read 3 Kleypas books, I am beginning to sense a certain similarity between her heroes - determined, self made, and independent. It will be interesting to see if this continues as I read more.
Whilst I really liked Simon Hunt, this was Annabelle's story. Somewhat refreshingly, Annabelle was not a martyr for her family, determined to marry a rich man to keep her family from becoming really, really poor and to save her mother from unwelcome advances from Lord Hodgeham, the villain of this book. Yes, that was definitely a part of it, but she was not afraid to admit that she liked nice things, that she wanted a titled husband, and she would do just about anything to get it. The fact that she got a husband who was exceedingly rich, handsome, dashing, entrepreneurial, but not titled meant that coming to terms with Simon's humble roots was something that we go to see both for Annabelle and her family. The stronger parts of this story were the parts prior to the marriage, especially the sexual tension between them, and the circumstances around their betrothal were very entertaining. It was also a nice change to have the heroine being the one who is reluctant to admit her feelings, but the ending where she could finally admit her feelings was a bit trite.
If I did have any other minor gripes with this book it was that it feels like there was a fraction too much set up for the next book happening. Now I don't know if I would have noticed if I didn't know that the next book was about Lillian and Marcus, Lord Westcliff, but I did know, and I did notice. It is but a small flaw!
Hands up if someone can feel a Lisa Kleypas glom coming on?? By the way, does anyone know if there really are adders in Hampshire?