Mar 26 2014 2:45pm

The Lovely Bloom of the Wallflower from Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, and More!

Wallflower Gone Wild by Maya RodaleToday we're joined by Maya Rodale, whose Wallflower Gone Wild is out now! The book is the second in Maya's Wallflower series, and features a heroine who is a wallflower—with a dreadful nickname—but finds getting what she wants means she has to come out of her shell, with some delightful results. Maya is here to talk wallflowers, and how we love them. Thanks, Maya!

You know what they say: it’s always the quiet ones. It’s always the quiet ones that surprise everyone with a dramatic, shocking transformation. That’s why so many readers—myself included—love a good wallflower romance. Let’s face it: life isn’t always easy for these types of heroines (or heroes!) in the first chapters of a romance novel. But once the going gets tough, the wallflower surprises everyone—including herself—by not wilting. There is nothing quite like the story of a quiet, “oh didn’t see you there” girl who blossoms.

Wallflowers have plenty of reasons for being wallflowers.

Perhaps a wallflower prefers solitude, has a terrible secret, is quite bookish, or is a terrible dancer, or simply “not quite.” But none of that stops her from being lovely, or kind or giving up hope of true love.

Olivia couldn’t help but notice all the handsome young gentlemen who flirted with the other girls who didn’t have such overbearing mothers. Or a nicknames like Prissy Missy because of their exceedingly proper manners and conversation.

Which was funny, because deep down she didn’t think of herself as a Prissy Missy. She was a girl who liked to sing and dance, who wished to flirt with rakes and be kissed improperly. Unfortunately, the circumstances were never quite right for her to be that girl. She was too busy being A Lady.—Wallflower Gone Wild by Maya Rodale

Wallflowers are often shy and just don’t know what to say.

She (or he!) may find herself tongue-tied in mixed company, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t harboring sparkling conversation, deep feelings or wickedly romantic thoughts. In the immortal words of Penelope Bridgerton of the wallflower hall of fame:

“Deep inside, she knew who she was, and that person was smart and kind and often even funny, but somehow her personality always got lost somewhere between her heart and her mouth, and she found herself saying the wrong thing or, more often, nothing at all.”

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

For wallflowers, life is often better in books:

In books, heroines always know what to say, there are no awkward moments in ballrooms, desolate drawing rooms during calling hours or other indignities of the chronically overlooked. A book is a refuge...until dramatic events (or devilishly handsome rogues) make real life too tantalizing to resist.

“A book had always been a door to another world... a world much more interesting and fantastical than reality. But she had finally discovered that life could be even more wonderful than fantasy. And that love could fill the real world with magic.”

Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Wallflowers know that waiting for a dance partner is The Worst.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is nothing more awkward than standing idly on the sidelines of a ballroom, watching everyone else dancing together. Really, what were all those dance lessons for?

“I'm coming to believe that there are two kinds of people... those who choose to be masters of their own fate and those who wait in chairs while other dance. I would rather be one of the former than the latter.”

Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

Inevitably, Something Dramatic Happens and a wallflower must dig down deep for an inner strength she didn’t know she possessed. People start to take notice.

And then once friends, family, and high society start to notice, it seems they can’t look away.

London’s Least Likely to Cause A Scandal has surprised us all. Was her shocking behavior merely the spiked lemonade at Almack’s, or is Prissy Missy up to no good? This author confesses to a fascination with the wallflower gone wild. What will she do next? —Wallflower Gone Wild by Maya Rodale

Eventually love does happen for wallflowers. A special someone takes note of her and starts to see all the loveliness everyone else has overlooked.

Romance author Gayle Callen (Redemption of the Duke) enjoys the “hidden depths” of a wallflower heroine: “Wallflowers also have the elusive beauty that comes with getting to know a person, watching her personality animate her face in conversation. Those things are missing when one is just looking on the surface.” But when someone notices the woman she really is? It’s magical. HAPPY SIGH.

Once a wallflower has met the right person who really sees who she is, her confidence starts to soar and she discovers that she can be brave, or speak the truth, stand up for herself and seize opportunities for happiness.

One mustn’t stand in the way of a Wallflower in bloom.

A wallflower will discover that she can be loved, just for being herself.

With the love of the right person, a wallflower starts to blossom. She is able to show the world the lovely girl she’s always been, deep down inside.

“What happened to your stammer?“

”I suppose I must feel comfortable with you. I tend to stammer less with certain people.”

”No one's ever told me that I'm a comfortable sort. I'm sure I don't like it. I'll have to do something diabolical soon to correct your impression.”—Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

After hoping for true love and seizing the opportunity, wallflowers live happily ever after!

Who's your favorite wallflower in romance?

All gifs courtesy of

Learn more or pre-order a copy of Wallflower Gone Wild by Maya Rodale, out now:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound



Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother's insistence. She is now the author of numerous “dazzlingly sexy and witty” romantic novels. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

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Megan Frampton
1. MFrampton
I love wallflower romances! One of the first ones I read and loved was Allison Lane's The Rake and the Wallflower, which pretty much tells you the plot. Thanks for this fun post!
Heather Waters
2. HeatherWaters
This sums up why I love wallflower romances beautifully, thanks! (And love the gif choices.)
3. bookwormrose
I love Celeste Bradley's Duke Most Wanted. In addition to a wallflower miss who is clumsy and bookish, intelligent and out of step with the rest of the world, the hero is a charming rogue who, upon meeting her, proclaims:
"I am not in the market for a wife--ever!...Furthermore, I, handsome bloke that I am, am entirely out of your reach. So you see, we might as well be friends, for their isn't a chance in hell that we will ever be anything else."
It is so satisfying when good but self-centered heroes are knocked off their feet by wallflowers. :)
4. ronnig
Jane Eyre is the classic wallflower. Demon's Bride's Anne Hartfield is a wallflower who blooms as she matures to save the man she loves.
5. WolframWM
Suzanne Enoch's England's Perfect Hero and London's Perfect Scoundrel are wonderful. Also, Laura Lee Guhrke's And Then He Kissed Her and Guilty Pleasures. Absolutely lovely.
Jennifer Proffitt
6. JenniferProffitt
Wallflowers are my soul sisters! I second the shoutouts to Laura Lee Guhrke, and just in general love this post!
Tara Knapp
7. tknapp4
I love that you saw Mr. Darcy as a wallflower!!! It wouldn't have been something I would have thought of until I saw the gifs and now it seems so obvious for him to be one among the lot.
Jennifer Proffitt
8. JenniferProffitt
Maya, I just wanted to come back and say that since reading this post, I have devoured three of your books! I love how you do wallflowers--you are so great at getting them out of their shell and into the light like they need to be and I absolutely love it! Thanks for the great post, again, and for the great books!
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