Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher:  AVON BOOKS -HARPER'S VOYAGE (September 27, 2022)

From Goodreads.com: Finn Ransome is an expert on Lady Luck, which is why he refuses to take a chance on love. Experience has taught him that he's happier at a gaming table than around people he will, inevitably, disappoint. However, the clock is ticking on his father's matrimonial demands. But the only woman to catch his eye is a bluestocking who would never consider a rogue like him.

After a disastrous first Season, Tabitha Seaton decided to focus on books instead of ballrooms. She hopes to join the Sterling Society, a collective of the most brilliant, influential minds in London. Except, they will never admit an unmarried lady. Now Tabitha needs a husband, and a notorious, handsome gambler may be her best bet.

Finn and Tabitha are opposites who have no intention of wagering on a love match, and a calculated marriage of convenience solves all their problems--with no risk to their hearts. Once married, however, their potent attraction boils over into a deep passion that neither expected. When a painful mistake drives the new lovers apart, Finn will risk it all to prove a scoundrel and a wallflower are a winning pair...

                                                         *******************


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

My first issue with this book is that it was one of those books that could have ended several chapters ahead of where it did if the characters would only stop repeating the same internal monologues over and over again. "Oh no, I have developed feelings for him/her, but our arrangement said no feelings!", "They are treating me like they have feelings for me as well, but I can't possibly mention it because I could be wrong!" <-- that was the premise for most of the book. I get it - you're scared (I will get more into the reasons why in a minute), but a lot of wondering (and heartache) could have been spared had these two just been completely honest with each other AFTER they were married. I mean, they had no problems being honest about their reasoning for marrying beforehand, so I fail to see why this was a struggle afterward especially considering all the little ways they each tried to show the other that they cared.

My second issue is with the characters themselves, more specifically Tabitha. Years ago, she fancied herself in love with her brother's tutor Charles (and believed he felt the same towards her), yet when she told him, he told her that she was not only mistaken but that if she had only controlled her emotions, she would have seen that he did not. Fast forward to her relationship with Finn, and ALL SHE DID WAS COMPARE HIM TO CHARLES. Even when she would think to herself that this was her husband Finn and not Charles, she still compared the two. Way too often for my liking. In fact, it would seem as though she were still pining after Charles simply because of the sheer number of times she thought of him or compared the two. And honestly? What happened between them (in my opinion) wasn't serious enough for her to still be carrying all that hurt around years after the fact. 

Now don't get me wrong, I also had some issues with Finn, the main one being why he felt it necessary to have his FRIEND jilt his SISTER at the alter some time previously? Did I miss something? All we are told is that the pair had been "in love" and therefore would be "miserable" if married, yet throughout the entire book, his friend is obviously still in love with and pining over his sister (I believe the last book in this series is actually their second chance romance)? But also hearing about how Finn felt he didn't "deserve" his wife because he wasn't an "intellectual" like her also became tiring quickly (more so after she seemed to realize his reading impediment and went out of her way to help him without embarrassing him by letting on that she knew).

But then - with (according to my kindle) roughly 40 minutes left in the book, "THAT" scene happened. Something happened in regards to the Stearling Society, and Tabitha took things personally - and acted out emotionally. But when Finn called her out on it, he was in the wrong (because he didn't know she would get so triggered by him telling her to calm down and think things through because she had never been honest with him about her past).  They split up, he offers her advice, and well, she ends up realizing that he was right. She overreacted (although the book will never come outright and say this), and he promises to "never do it again."

As a reader? I hated these two. She was hung up on a man who she believed did her wrong to the point she literally drove her husband away because he dared tell her to take a step back, calm down and THINK before she acted, and that was something like what her ex said? And then she turned around and hurled words about him not being an intellectual. Words she KNEW would definitely cut deep, and yet doesn't feel that she needed to apologize to him? Finn deserved much better than her, and honestly, if I had been in his shoes I wouldn't have returned to offer her advice, much less groveled the way that he did. 


DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.
                                                         *******************
                                               
                                 How the Wallflower was Won is available on Amazon.com