Two damaged hearts learn there’s a fine line between love and hate in a Wicked Wallflowers novel from USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell.
Gertrude, the eldest Killoran sister, has spent a lifetime being underestimated—especially by her own family. She may seem as vulnerable as a kitten, but given the chance, she can be as fierce as a tiger. Her adopted brother, Stephen, has just been snatched back by his true father, and she’ll be damned if she relinquishes the boy to the man reviled throughout London as the Mad Marquess.
Still haunted by a deadly tragedy that left him publicly despised, Lord Edwin holds only hatred for the Killorans—the people he believes kidnapped his son. And not one of them will ever see the boy again. But when Gertrude forces her way into the household and stubbornly insists that she remain as Stephen’s governess, Edwin believes he may have found someone madder than himself.
With every moment he shares with the tenderhearted Gertrude, Edwin’s anger softens into admiration…and more. Is it possible that the woman he loathed may be the only person who can heal his broken soul?
My first from author Christi Caldwell, but definitely not my last!
I loved the two main characters Ms. Caldwell gave us in The Bluestocking. They both came into the story with mountains of issues to work through. Edwin’s had a horrific 7+ years, with his wife and unborn child killed and his firstborn kidnapped (Stephen/August–originally he was assumed dead, in this book he’s just moving back in with his father) much of the blame for which was somehow laid at his feet by society and his in-laws. Gert’s just had an overall miserable time of it–born to a horrible man and a life of crime, constantly underestimated and overlooked even by the relatives that love her. There were so many things working against the two of them even getting together in the first place (the fact that Gert’s family has been raising Stephen is a big obstacle), let alone reaching an HEA–but somehow, Ms. Caldwell managed to pull it off.
I loved so many things about this book–seeing the love between Gertrude and Stephen in action as she tries to help him acclimate to his new/old life; watching Stephen and Edwin begin to bond (especially when they were joining forces against Gert, LOL), witnessing Gert as she begins to come into herself and come out of her shell, and being there when Edwin lets go of his guilt and hate and begins to live again–OMG, this book has all the feels. And that’s not even taking into account the romance, which was a slow burning marvel of a relationship…
Yeah, I’m going to be reading more of her books soon.
I have to be honest, though–I did feel a tad bit lost for the first couple of chapters, since this book (#4) is the first that I’ve read in the Wicked Wallflowers series, which follows Gertrude’s family, the Killorans. All of Gert’s siblings–Stephen especially, of course, but the others as well–also have active roles in this story, which is fantastic; I’d love to get to know them better. However, the beginning of this book occurs right after and is heavily influenced by some of the events from the other books–which I hadn’t read yet–and getting up to speed took some effort. So while it’s possible to read this one alone and enjoy it, I really think it’s better to have read the others in the series first to avoid the “Wait, what??? feeling I had for much of the beginning.
On the plus side, I have 4 new books in my TBR, counting book 5 (due out in September)!
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.