McQuiston, Jennifer. Diary of an Accidental Wallflower. New York: Avon Books, 2015.
Mass Market Paperback | $7.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062335012 | 370 pages | Victorian Romance
As of late, I haven’t felt particularly excited for recent historical romance releases, and while there are many from the last year that I have to catch up on and there will be some in the coming months that have me excited, the state of the subgenre with the shortage of releases from go-to authors has been feeling a little stale at this present moment. This led to me seek out an author I had once tried when she debuted, only to inexplicably not pick up another book from her: Jennifer McQuiston. And Diary of an Accidental Wallflower seemed to fit my requirements, as I wanted a hero who was different from the deluge of rakish aristocrats, and was even getting tired of the “relatable” bluestocking heroines, particularly when paired with the former.
And I found myself enjoying this book and cursing myself for not picking it up when it first came out, particularly for the adorable hero, Daniel. While he does have one or two less flattering moments, I love his devotion to his work and how he is confident in who he is and his standing, even when others — even the heroine at first — look down on him. It’s so awesome to see a hero actually doing something with his life rather than wasting his life away.
I had some slight concern as to how Clare might be handled, as she could easily come off as unlikable. And to some, she might be. But I feel like, while she’s cold and snobbish at the beginning, this is very much a story of her growth: finding out the truth about who she is and who her true friends are. And I think it’s unfortunate that in cases where the roles are reversed, and we have ass of a duke (for an example) with a wallflower, people are much more forgiving when he reaches his epiphany (and usually not until the end of the book). With Clare, her transformation felt natural and I could feel her feelings change as she started to fall for Daniel and had the desire to fight to be with him.
The supporting cast is lovely, and I love how it reinforces this idea of family and togetherness, regardless of blood ties and any other domestic difficulties faced over time is conveyed. I was particularly drawn to the connection between Clare and her long-lost relative, and think it’s a shame that the author is currently not writing, as I would love to see his story, much more so than either of the Westmore siblings, especially the brother, as his portrayal here and a sneak peek at the blurb suggests it’s yet another wastrel aristocrat story.
This was a sweet and unexpected historical romance, of a type I wish we saw more of. And I would recommend it to any other historical romance lover who missed it, especially if you love working heroes or stories focusing on the heroine’s journey.