Publication date:January 30, 2018
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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.
In this third installment of the Studies in Scandal series, Sophia Hastings, artist and unapologetic bluestocking, excels in both art theory as well as producing stellar paintings of her own, works which at times make her the center of controversy. She finds an ardent supporter in Lord Benedict Lisle, second son of the Duke of Pemberton and newly appointed vicar of Little Seaford. When Sophia and Ben are thrown into an art forgery mystery, the two discover much more than the identity of the forgers.
I’m a huge fan of this series, but I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. The concept of a series relaying the trials of four would-be heiresses and celebrating their accomplishments in male-dominated fields is refreshing. These are no damsels in distress. They know their minds and go after what they want. Each has been tasked with a decidedly un-female job, and this novel is no exception, but I wasn’t as entertained by Sophia as I was with the other two heroines. She just didn’t seem to have the depth of Ivy (Book One) and Daphne (Book Two), and the book lacked some of the humor as the first two. She’s an artist with two paintings that are causing a stir in a local art exhibition–that’s about it. Reminders of her extreme beauty became tedious as did the slow pacing of the mystery. By the end, I didn’t really care to discover the forgers because I didn’t feel vested in the search as I had in the first two.
The one truly exceptional part of this novel is the hero. Ben’s role as local vicar created a non typical character for a romance novel. He had some of the normal traits–handsome and wanted by every girl, check; crazy-rich aristocrat, check; big heart for the socially downtrodden, check. But his concern for propriety and “wait for her to make the first move” attitude were completely different. He was sweet-little too sweet for me. I like a do gooder as much as the next gal, but I just wanted to see him lose his constant cool. I needed more fire, more pizzazz. So while he was definitely different, I’m nonplussed. He seemed too weak to carry the role as hero.
In short, I’ll continue to lie Manda Collins, and I’ll most assuredly be on the lookout for her next novel, but this one was just okay for me.