ARC Review: The Importance of Being Wanton by Christi Caldwell

About the Book:

Title: The Importance of Being Wanton

Author: Christi Caldwell

Series: Wantons of Waverton

Publication Date: June 29, 2021

Publisher: Montlake

Synopsis: Emma Gately and the Earl of Scarsdale were betrothed as children―less a vow of future happiness than an obligation. Seventeen years later, the independent miss severs the contract with the now notorious libertine in an unprecedented act of independence. And Emma cofounds the Mismatch Society, where like-minded ladies are free of the constraints and inevitable broken hearts that men bring. But Emma’s rejection sparks in her intended a new consideration of the spirited woman he took for granted―and a determination to win her back.

Despite his wicked reputation, misguided and suddenly lovestruck, Charles Hayden is on a mission to gain Emma’s respect, and he has just the idea―one that the daringly unconventional Emma is sure to appreciate. But as Charles takes bold steps and sets tongues wagging, he makes himself an accidental opponent of his former betrothed. Soon, a rivalry is born that has the whole ton abuzz.

Emma never anticipated that with every fiery test of wills, passion would surge. Passion that’s impossible to ignore. In going toe-to-toe with Charles, she risks her heart and pride by falling in love with the one man she vowed to scorn.

LINKS:     Goodreads    |      Amazon   

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My Review:

Emma Gately and Charles Hayden, the Earl of Scarsdale have been betrothed since childhood. However, a month shy of their wedding, Emma calls the whole thing off. Cofounder of the Mismatch Society, Emma is not afraid to fight for her happiness, even if ending the engagement disappoints her family. What she never expects is to disappoint her ambivalent fiancee, but that is exactly what happens.

Charles is stunned when Emma rejects him and breaks their engagement, especially when he realizes that he loves the woman he has been bound to since childhood. Suddenly, his resentment of the forced marriage turns into a fierce determination to convince Emma that they are meant to be together. Is it too late for Emma and Charles, or can Charles convince Emma that their love is worth fighting for?

Something I really like about this series is that the women stand up for their rights. They don’t buckle to the expectations of society or the men in their lives. Instead, they fight for equality and the freedom to make their own choices. They even create a society for like-minded women. Emma is the perfect example of this.

Unhappy with her upcoming nuptials, for which she had no choice, and fed up with being humiliated by Charles, Emma takes matters into her own hands. She seeks out solicitors to assist her in ending the engagement, and she breaks the news to Charles. I love that Emma seeks her own happiness and doesn’t just conform to her parents’ expectations. Even when Charles tries to woo her back, Emma is strong in her convictions.

We always see ourselves through the lenses of how the world views us, until it distorts our vision and … we can’t even truly see clearly who we are.

The heart of their problem between Emma and Charles is that, as much as they think they do, they don’t truly know each other. She doesn’t realize how different and liberal thinking he is compared to the other men of the ton. She also believes all the rumors about Charles without taking the time to find out if they are all true. She thought she knew everything there was to know about him, but she really only knew the man he presented to society, not the real person he is underneath. She willingly believed the rumors, and she is shocked to learn he isn’t as dastardly a rake as she initially thought.

Charles, in turn, resists their union and never takes the time to really get to know Emma. He took their eventual union for granted without thinking about her wants and feelings, and he is surprised when she is nothing like he imagined. Emma is much more confident and in command of herself. She is capable and intelligent and unwilling to bow to the dictates of men or society. The more Charles gets to know her, the more he respects her and admires her passionate and fiery spirit.

Both characters seem to resist the relationship for different reasons, but it’s plain to see how much they care for and desire each other. He doesn’t like to be pushed into anything, even when it’s for his own good, and she is sick of being ignored. I think both characters went through internal obstacles and a bit of personal growth and had to come to terms with their feelings and hopes for the future before they could ever be together.

Who knew anger had a taste, and it was fire on a scorned woman’s tongue.

They’re both so proud, stubborn, and resentful, and it takes them time to see how well they complement each other. Though Emma holds out hope for a long time, it isn’t until Charles loses her that he realizes how much he really cares. He spends so much time ignoring and resisting the engagement that it seems as if all hope is lost. However, Charles is not to be deterred.

The chemistry between Charles and Emma is fantastic, and I love the whole “will they or won’t they” vibe throughout the story. He is a devoted child and sibling who puts his own life and reputation on the line for those he loves even if it means more difficulties and complications for himself. Because of this, Charles has to work hard to win Emma’s love, and he is a bumbling mess while he tries. I love that this confident, rakish man is so flustered when with Emma. She moves him more than he ever expected. Charles also finds inspiration from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which is one of the most swoon-worthy moments in the book. I mean, who can resist a man that’s inspired by Jane Austen?

This is a wonderful addition to the Wantons of Waverton series and will appeal to readers who like enemies-to-lovers or second-chance romance. The characters are interesting and well-developed, and the love story is filled with angst, miscommunications, resistance, and passion. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and learn more about the other women from the Mismatch Society. Also, since Charles is friends with Viscount St. John, the hero in the first book, I have a feeling one of their mutual friends might be the love interest in the next book, which will be fabulous! Thanks so much to NetGalley, Montlake, and Christi Caldwell for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance!
  • The Mismatch Society.

Favorite Lines:

The little ducks grow up and become swans. Though also remember swans, too, are capable of flight. As such, you would do well not to stray so far from the pond.

Cruelty is what fills heartless people with something other than emptiness.

Insults are merely the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong.


Want to learn more about the series? Check out my review of the first book!

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