How to Be a Wallflower by: Eloisa James

Miss Cleopatra Lewis is about to be launched in society by her aristocratic grandfather. But since she has no intention of marrying, she visits a costume emporium specifically to order unflattering dresses guaranteed to put off any prospective suitors.

Powerful and charismatic Jacob Astor Addison is in London, acquiring businesses to add to his theatrical holdings in America—as well as buying an emerald for a young lady back in Boston. He’s furious when a she-devil masquerading as an English lady steals Quimby’s Costume Emporium from under his nose.

Jake strikes a devil’s bargain, offering to design her “wallflower wardrobe” and giving Cleo the chance to design his. Cleo can’t resist the fun of clothing the rough-hewn American in feathers and flowers. And somehow in the middle of their lively competition, Jake becomes her closest friend.

It isn’t until Cleo becomes the toast of all society that Jake realizes she’s stolen his fiercely guarded heart. But unlike the noblemen at her feet, he doesn’t belong in her refined and cultured world.

Caught between the demands of honor and desire, Jake would give up everything to be with the woman he loves—if she’ll have him!

Harpercollins.com

Content Warnings: Sexual scenes, classism and sexism. Discussion of the loss of a parent, witnessing a parent with drug addiction, and being a child witnessing the constant infidelity of a parent.


As soon as I saw the summary of this book I knew I needed to get my hands on it. I mean we have a fiercely independent British woman, desperate to blend in and avoid marriage, and then an American man who’s determined to stand out as a businessman and who plans to offer marriage to a quiet and demure woman back in America.

When I first started reading and saw the friendship between Jake and his Duchess friend Merry I wished I knew more about Merry’s love story…so I was excited to find out there is a book covering her romance called “My American Duchess” which I plan to read very soon!

Cleo witnessed years of her mother falling for countless men regardless of if anyone was married, including herself. After a childhood of looking after her mother, after her father passed away when she was 14, Cleo is determined to be nothing like her mother. Having taken over her father’s business she has plenty of money to do as she pleases. Cleo doesn’t intend to marry which would allow a man to take her business and money to do with as they wish, she’s worked too hard to get to where she is.

Jake has come to England to find actors and a costume maker to send back to America to make the theaters he inherited from his father grander than any others in America. As the British tend to look down on Americans, regardless of how wealthy they are, he’s having some trouble convincing the best dressmaker he’s found to move her business to America. Though she hadn’t yet signed the contract Jake had assumed there wouldn’t be any issues…especially not in the form of a fiery British woman announcing she’s already purchased the establishment.

I enjoyed the overall idea of this love story, instant rivals to friends to lovers always get me. However, I found that there was a lot more I wish was discussed. I mean out of nowhere, once he realizes he wants Cleo, Jake decides he’s staying in England…so what does that mean for all of his businesses and family back in America?

The summary also sold me on the idea of Cleo debuting and attempting to remain a wallflower but we don’t get the balls/outings that I’m used to in a romance with a debut. I was really hoping to have a few different events where Cleo is in attendance and is blending into the background until Jake’s attention pushes her into the spotlight or something like that…and I don’t feel like I got enough of that. I’ve read so many wallflower books that I guess I was expecting more wallflower situations? haha idk.

Overall I enjoyed the story and look forward to checking out more of Eloisa James’ work! What are your favorite historical romance tropes, or authors, to read?


Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

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