LiP Romancelandia

Wallflower Most Wanted Cover
Title: Wallflower Most Wanted
Author: Heat: Re
Genre(s): Romance Historical Mystery
Tropes: Nerdy Heroine
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Synopsis from the Creator:

THE PICTURE OF ROMANCE
A dedicated painter, Miss Sophia Hastings is far more concerned with finding the right slant of light than in finding Mr. Right. But when an overheard conversation hints at danger for another local artist, Sophia is determined to get involved. Even if it means accepting help from an impossibly good-looking vicar who insists on joining her investigation―and threatens to capture her heart…

Reverend Lord Benedick Lisle knows that Sophia is no damsel in distress. But he won’t allow her to venture into peril alone, either. . .especially since he finds Sophia’s curious, free-spirited nature so alluring. But protecting her from harm is becoming more difficult than the vicar could have expected as he and Sophia confront their fiery mutual passion. Who could have known that the art of love would prove so irresistible?

Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins is a page-turning Regency romance and part of the Studies in Scandal series.

Review: Wallflower Most Wanted, by Manda Collins

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 27, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Suzanne Krohn

Manda Collins's third Studies in Scandal novel, Wallflower Most Wanted, pairs a painter heroine with the local vicar in a small-town cozy mystery regency romance mash-up. 

Sophia Hastings is one of four bluestockings to have inherited a country house in Little Seaford from Lady Celeste. The set-up for the novel is somewhat complicated, which leads me to suggest that you read the series in order. I found the first 20% of the book slow-going as I tried to figure out who was who and how they were related.

The first two books in the series pair off Daphne and Ivy, leaving Sophia and Gemma for books three and four. I'm fairly certain Collins has shown us the pairing for Gemma, but I won't spoil that for you. Anyway, the four young ladies inherit the house, under suspend-your-disbelief conditions. In order to inherit, they must reside at the house for a full year. If they don't, their share will be split evenly among the other ladies. They're not competing, however, and are all content to reside there for the year and sort it out later. Lady Celeste sent the first two women on a quest that ended with them nearly being killed but ending up happily paired off, so you can probably guess what's going to happen here.

While this is certainly a romance, it feels like a cozy mystery with a regency romance twist. The book opens with Sophia falling off a short cliff after being startled by two men who proceed to talk about their plans to kill a third man. She and our handsome vicar overhear all of this, and the plot is afoot. Or a-sprained-ankle. There is, indeed, a murder, but nothing is quite what it seems and Collins keeps you guessing with twists and turns. 

Peter Morgan, an industrialist who feels very representative of certain present-day political figures, has moved to Little Seaford and is running for office. He can't get elected to the House of Commons in Manchester, where his factories are, because he's such an unscrupulous bastard. 

Despite the murder and the aforementioned unscrupulous bastard, this is a low-angst, fluffy read. The hero is a cinnamon roll, which makes sense as he's dedicated his life to helping people. Ben and Sophia both have the best of friends - the sort that will mercilessly needle you about being in love while you pretend otherwise. Early in the story, Ben is convinced that Sophia is completely unsuitable for the role of Vicar's Wife, but the two of them work it out quickly, which leaves the mystery to drive the plot. This isn't a bad thing! Sometimes it's nice to read about two lovely people being kind to each other and overcoming the external circumstances that are keeping them apart.

TL; DR - This is a cozy romance or a regency mystery with two likeable main characters and a somewhat overwhelming cast. If you haven't read the other two in the series, start there.

 

Topics: review