Once Upon a Wallflower (Entangled Scandalous) by Wendy Lyn Watson
Mirabella, known to her less than loving family as Mira, may be a wallflower but she is no shrinking violet. She is intelligent, compassionate and not at all in the usual mode. Mira lives her life in the shadow of her cousin Bella, also called Mirabella. The poor dependent relation. And therein lies the twist of fate.
A bartered bride given over to pay a gambling debt, a family deception exchanging daughter for niece of same name, and a young woman's path opening up before her, a path of magic overlaid by a healthy dose of logic.
Mira's first view of the castle she is to live in is dark and foreboding,
'out upon this spit of inhospitable rock there arose a forbidding tower, a stark and ominous edifice right out of a gothic novel, Nicholas's tower.'
Heathcliffe lives on in the guise of Nicholas, Mira's fiance, whispered to have murdered his fiancé and two other young woman.
As she comes to know Nicholas, Mira is not so convinced. A magical moment had seized her when she waltzed with Lord Nicholas, 'As he guided her carefully between the other dancers, who were nothing more than softly coloured wraiths fluttering on the edges of her perception.'
In trying to prove his innocence she puts herself squarely in the path of danger.
Watson's turn of phrase is quite as captivating as the developing relationship between Nicholas and Mira and the more I reflected upon Once Upon a Wallflower, the more I realized how much I enjoyed it. As Nicholas tries to point out to Mira, there's magic in the small and large things!
A NetGalley ARC