Again the Magic

It Happened One Autumn

Lady Sophia's Lover

Secrets of a Summer Night

Someone to Watch
Over Me

Stranger in My Arms

Suddenly You

When Strangers Marry

Where Dreams Begin

Where's My Hero

Devil in Winter

Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
(Avon, $7.99, R) ISBN 0-06-056253-6
The “Wallflowers” series ends on a very nice note with Lisa Kleypas’ latest, Scandal in Spring. Ms. Kleypas tells the tale of Daisy, the last unmarried wallflower, with her trademark tenderness and humor.

Daisy Bowman has been commanded by her father to marry in three months or be forced to marry her father’s protégé, Matthew Swift. In an effort to avoid this horrible fate, Daisy agrees to allow her sister and brother-in-law to matchmake for her during a hunting party at their home.

While making a pre-requisite visit to the local wishing well, which had fulfilled all Daisy’s previous wishes for the other wallflowers, Daisy is startled when a gorgeous man approaches. She is even more startled to realize that the charming, sexy, hunk-of-muscle is none other than her nemesis, Mr. Swift. Having known Mr. Swift for several years as a reticent, socially inept scarecrow of a man, Daisy is confused by her instant attraction to his new persona.

Matthew is very soon confused as well, because within minutes Daisy is accusing him of being the mastermind behind her father’s scheme. Although Matthew would like nothing better than to marry Daisy, for whom he has suffered love unrequited for years, he cannot allow her father’s plan to proceed. A scandal from his past is Matthew’s Sword of Damocles, and to marry Daisy would put her life and reputation at risk with his own.

Scandal in Spring is a heartwarming, glossy, confection of a book that has the reader smiling and sighing by turns. One of the gently amusing scenes in the book occurs when the Bowman sisters introduce the other two wallflowers to Matthew. Having watched the handsome Matthew unintentionally charm a roomful of ladies, contrive a way to soothe a teething baby and put the baby to sleep, then tease the wallflowers about his accomplishment with self-deprecating humor, Evie turns to the others when Matthew leaves and says “You were right. He’s absolutely horrid.”

The married wallflowers and their husbands figure prominently in this book and in fact some of the more romantic aspects of the story are centered on Daisy’s sister and brother-in-law. Fans of the series will definitely appreciate revisiting the other couples and following up on how their lives are progressing. The additional characters in no way detract from the relationship between Daisy and Matthew, though. After some initial tension and resistance, they both soon acknowledge that they belong together no matter what, and the rest of the story concerns how they work to make that happen. Their difficulties are understandable and don’t feel contrived. What a refreshing change from the “big misunderstanding” we see so often!

Another thing fans will enjoy are the delicious love scenes, which run the gamut from kissing and tender dialogue to very hot with lots of description. The humorous/romantic pillow talk is also not to be missed.

Only one aspect of the book left this reader feeling a little wistful. The denouement occurs too quickly. What could have been a serious tear-jerker is glossed over and the book loses much of its momentum, limping along to the end. It’s a lovely ending, nonetheless, and Scandal in Spring closes the series with everything tied up very neatly.

--Wendy Livingston

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