Review of The Perks of Loving a Wallflower by Erica Ridley, audiobook narrated by Moira Quirk
I’m not a fan of historical fiction mainly because lesbian stories based in the past normally don’t have a happy ending but I heard great things about this book (thanks, Corrie) and decided to try it.
Thomasina Wynchester is a master of disguise to help solve cases. But her new client is no other than bluestocking Miss Philippa York, a highborn lady Thomasina is secretly smitten with. Phillippa doesn’t believe in love, her parents repeatedly try to marry her to different eligible noblemen but she doesn’t develop feelings for anyone. But when the enigmatic Thomasina is assigned to solve the case of a stolen idea for a top-secret military cipher from one of Philippa’s friends, Philippa discovers that she is capable of having feelings after all.
There is a wave of new authors who are writing f/f historical romances with happy endings with the purpose of drawing attention to the fact that homosexuality has been erased from history despite that there were many cases of happy long-term relationships in the past. I’m far from being an expert in the genre but I enjoyed Olivia Waite’s books which were written with that purpose. That’s great news for readers who enjoy their happily ever afters in a historical setting.
This is book 2 in The Wlid Wynchesters series by this author which started with the m/f romance The Duke Heist. Despite there are a few references in book two to the main characters of the previous book, The Perks of Loving a Wallflower is a standalone story and there’s no need to read the m/f romance to enjoy this one.
The romance is sweet with some hot parts, both main characters are lovable even though Philippa is hard to like at the beginning. There is an aspect of gender nonconformity in Thomasina that I think the author managed well by making the character satisfied with their life choices and not willing to change for anyone’s sake. Philippa’s mother incarnates the social pressure to conform to the norm and the rigid social and class rules in the Regency period in England which sometimes feels oppressive. Philippa’s mother was an interesting, if not obnoxious, character, and my only complaint about this book is that, at the end of the book, I felt she acted out of character, her actions sounded like an easy way out of the main conflict and didn’t feel organic to the story.
This is the first time I’ve listened to an audiobook narrated by Moira Quirk and I really enjoyed her performance. All her voices were distinct and reflected the character’s age, gender (or not), and social class. I particularly loved her take on Philippa’s snooty mother and the sarcastic humour of Philippa herself. A very good performance for a very good story. 4.5 stars.
Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins