I'm trying to figure out why this book was called The Wayward Miss Wainwright because Helena Wainwright was dull as dishwater. In fact, all of the characters in the book were flat and one-dimensional, including the evil Mrs. Fanshawe who gentrifies unsuitable girls to make good matches with wealthy men then blackmails those men.
Helena's three nieces and nephew have lost their parents within the last six months, and they are now under the guardianship of their uncle, the Duke of Rotherham. The duke doesn't know what to do with the children so asks Helena to help with their adjustment. When the story opens, the duke is semi-courting the young and beautiful Emily Fanshawe, and spends all his time berating Helena.
But, Emily Fanshawe is not the respectable debutante society believes. When Helena discovers Emily in the arms of her lover, she allows the duke to think that the young man is her suitor. My question on this was: Why? When Helena discovers that Emily is pregnant by her young man and is being coerced by her “mother” to seduce the duke quickly and get engaged, Helena never says anything. Again, my question was: Why? Helena knows there is talk that once the duke is married to Emily the children will be sent away, and even the servants are worried about this outcome, yet Helena doesn't think it is her place to say anything to the duke. If it's not her place as the children's aunt to look out for their welfare, then whose place is it?
Suddenly the duke decides that he is in love with Helena and suddenly Helena is having flutterings when she is near the duke. I never believed this because there was no chemistry between Rotherham and Helena.
The story and the conflict felt forced, the sudden feelings between Helena and Rotherham felt forced. The final showdown between Mrs. Fanshaw, Rotherham, and Emily's young man was extremely forced and was all extremely boring.
I had to force myself to continue reading The Wayward Miss Wainwright when all I wanted to do was delete the book from my e-reader. The Wayward Miss Wainwright is published by a new publishing house Aurora Regency, and I will be thinking long and hard before I try another one of their books if The Wayward Miss Wainwright is indicative of the types of books they publish.
Save yourself some frustration this holiday season and skip The Wayward Miss Wainwright.
Reviewed by: Valarie Pelissero