So hopefully you’ve seen that blazing red content warning up there. And I’m terribly sorry for spoiling that for you (although you find out about it pretty early in the book), but this is one of the main themes of the book and I don’t want to surprise/trigger anyone if they do choose to read this book. Because it’s a good and compelling book, it also happens to deal with some very serious issues that some people may need to prepare themselves for.
What a Wallflower Wants, as mentioned, is an utterly compelling and wonderful story that deals with a tough situation no one should really ever go through. This is exacerbated by the fact that Prue lives in the Victorian times which is known for its rather misogynistic views. All I wanted to do was hug Prue, with consent of course, because man, she has been through a lot and she still kept going.
In fact, one of my favourite things about What a Wallflower Wants is seeing that change in Prue. It was so wonderful to read her realization that what happened to her was not her fault and that despite it, she deserves to get the love that she wanted and that someone will love her regardless. I also thought it was interesting that Miss Rodale chose to incorporate flashbacks of the Prue before while showing what the Prue after is going through. I thought it made it more realistic (hence tougher to read) and I’m not going to lie, it broke my heart to read some of those parts.
I also thought Miss Rodale’s choice of a “bad boy” for Prue was wonderful because John was perfect for Prue. He was so sweet, and so charming and I think he helped bring lightness into the story (and Prue’s life?) I just really liked John because he came across as a genuinely nice and caring man. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really a fan of the twist with John’s part of the story. I’m never a fan of this trope and don’t think I ever will be, so this is my bias bleeding through here, I guess.
Together, John and Prue proved to be a perfect pairing because their personalities fit well. Prue’s wit and braveness matched John’s curiosity and kindness beautifully. I definitely enjoyed the dialogue between them because it just sucks you in.
Ultimately though, my most favourite aspect of What a Wallflower Wants is the fact that it didn’t use sex as a panacea for Prue’s horrible experience. This is one of my pet peeves in romance novels, especially those that deal with this topic, because really? One roll in the mattress and boom trauma gone how could the heroine be so silly as to ever be affected by that when there is all the hot sex to be had? No, in What a Wallflower Wants, the sex happens as a part of the healing process, not as the thing that heals. It was so refreshing to read a heroine initiate her own healing process because she wants to and not because she has to. And it made those intimate moments be more romantic and beautiful because we get to see Prue understand that she deserves happiness and love. (It also helped that John was really understanding in this regard and that he was really not rushing her at all.)
If you’re reading this review and thinking “wow is this book a total departure from Maya Rodale’s lighter, happier material?” I wouldn’t say so because despite the serious issues being dealt with in What a Wallflower Wants, there were numerous moments where I was grinning and laughing because good things were happening. I thought some scenes with John were funny and I thought he was a charming character, so he made me smile a lot.The only reason I mention the more serious side of this novel a lot more than the other happier side is because I really liked how Maya Rodale handled this issue. I think that she did it with great sensitivity and injected a whole lot of compassion because What a Wallflower Wants turned out to be a very emotional and romantic read and is definitely a great way to end her latest historical series.
In summary, I thought Maya Rodale did an excellent job with What a Wallflower Wants. I thought it was an inspiring book that was sensitively and thoughtfully written, showcasing Maya Rodale’s writing talents. Will I reread this book? Definitely, but probably not any time soon because I still need to get over it. Did I enjoy this book? Hell to the freaking yes. Not only is What a Wallflower Wants well-written and thought provoking, it was also romantic and inspiring. Seriously. Prue is definitely one of my favourite heroines and I just am so happy for her and John.
So why 4/5? I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been reading a lot of romantic suspense lately but I thought the villain deserved worse. I wouldn’t have minded some actual violence towards him. I also was not a fan of the twist. But yeah no, I think the villain could’ve endured more.