First book in the Wallflower series and I started it out not liking the heroine very much. Anabelle Peyton is trying to find a husband who is a peer but she has no money and is in dire straights. I could understand her desperation to wanting to find a husband considering the situation her family is in but I did not like the way she went about it and her views towards Simon Hunt. Simon Hunt a self-made man from the working class and from the very beginning we see Annabelle not liking him very much and sticking her nose in the air. While I can't say I hated Annabelle, her quick judgement of Simon and thinking she deserved better made her come off extremely snobbish and naive. And I thought it was a tad hypocritcal of her to question Simon's character when she herself was willing to trap an innocent man into marriage. That just turned me off completely with how far she was willing to go and her single-minded focus on marrying someone with a title. Everything became about money and at some point I felt it was more about her then supporting her family.
But that being said, Anabelle grows up in this book and changes her perspective on things (although it took a while) and I slowly came to like her then love her at the very end. She faces some harsh truths about herself and how others view her and I think it was a much-needed wake-up call for her and made her grow up. I found myself irritated that even after she marries Simon she keeps wishing to be part of the inner-circle of the upper class peerage groups because they are oh-so elegant and sophisticated and don't talk about money and work in front of her *gasp* g-d forbid. She started to show signs of maturity and seeing the whole picture but then there were moments like that where I kept wanting to shake her and knock some sense into her.
Simon Hunt was just all around enjoyable to read about. What a hero. *sigh* I adored him. He's a very straightforward honest man who makes no apologies for his opinions and what he does. Who wouldn't want him? While it bothered me at times to see how much he openly cared for Annabelle and waited for her while she kept blowing him off I did like how much he was willing to give and put up with because he loved her. I know that sounds crazy and I usually don't like plots where the hero is chasing the skirt tails of a woman who constantly refuses him, but I make an exception for this. For a man who's very stoic and self-imposed he's quite a romantic and has so much charm. The way these two grow closer and evolve into something more is what really captured me and I have to say the near-tragic incident that happens at the end of the book sealed it for me. It's the reason I'm giving this 4 stars. I felt that everything that needed to be said and touched on was beautifully expressed in the last two chapters. Made me fall in love with these two as a couple and endeared me to Annabelle in particular. She really proved to Simon and his friend Lord Westcliff (who from the very beginning did not approve of their marriage) and to herself as well how much she loved him and what she was willing to do for him. It kind of took me by surprise because the pacing of the book was slow at times and seemed to drag on. The ending for me really made up for it. Great read!