About the Book:
Title: The Wolf and the Wildflower
Author: Stacy Reid
Publication Date: Feb. 27, 2023
Synopsis: London is buzzing with the news that James Winters, the Duke of Wulverton—thought lost at sea a decade ago—survived in the harsh wilderness of the Yukon. Now he’s been returned to his family, his responsibilities, and a nightmarish world of artifice and noise. He has three weeks to become a refined, elegant duke for the Queen…or doom the entire family to ruin and scandal.
Promising psychologist Jules Southby knows a lot about disguises. She’s secretly been living as a boy since birth, enjoying the freedoms of men and knowing little about how to behave like a woman. When she meets the alluring duke, she’s unprepared for his raw, masculine beauty and icy intelligence…or that he can see through her darkest secret.
Jules has very little time to transform the duke into a true semblance of an English gentleman. Yet his very presence seems to unravel her in every way. Their attraction is stark and achingly real—and forbidden. But loving the lost duke would mean losing every sacrifice she’s made to earn her freedom…
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Jules has spent her entire life living as a man. Hiding her gender has been relatively easy until she meets James Winters, the Duke of Wulverton, who has just returned after surviving the bitterly cold Canadian wilds for over a decade. Presumed lost at sea, James’s family is thrilled to have him back, but James is not the same man they remembered, which is where Jules comes into the picture. Jules and her father, a renowned psychologist, are hired to help James reacclimate to polite society, much to James’s irritation.
I thought the premise of this book was really intriguing. Suspend your disbelief a bit, because even though the plot is not overly realistic, it’s such a good read! James and Jules are both such compelling protagonists, and I enjoyed their individual stories as much as their swoon-worthy romance. James had to survive on his own for ten years, which emotionally traumatized him. I can’t imagine facing what he faced. Between the unrelentingly difficult weather, the lack of connection, and the inability to find safety, he faced insurmountable obstacles and survived.
Though Jules doesn’t face the same obstacles, living a life pretending to be someone she’s not also caused some emotional trauma. Jules has a need to please her father and to be accepted by her parents, as her mother is the one who forced her to hide her gender, and her father wanted an heir. I can’t imagine how much she must have questioned her worth, sense of self, and lovability throughout her life.
As much as James’s mother and some other members of his family mean well, they frustrated me by not seeing what James needed. Their livelihood depends on James’s success, so their concern is understandable. However, they were so insistent on James fitting into the mold of a proper duke and member of the ton, but they didn’t really take the time to help or understand him. Give the poor guy a little time to adjust! I think that’s why James connects so deeply with Jules. She sees what he needs, why he’s struggling, and how to reach him. She’s not worried about societal or familial expectations. Her only focus is James’s well-being.
And the connection between Jules and James is amazing. They are able to spend a lot of time alone together, and they get to know each other quite intimately. Not only do they explore their feelings for each other, but they also talk about their fears, anxieties, and experiences with and without their families. They also spend a lot of time smelling each other? James’s actions (the acute sense of smell, the need to be outdoors, etc.) highlights his animalistic nature that developed when he was lost. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of character, showing his conflicting desire to ingratiate back into his family and society with his need to be surrounded by open space and nature. And, yes, I would like for James to growl at me the way he growls at Jules. Just once, and then I can die a happy woman. lol He’s the perfect mix of refinement and wildness, and I was totally here for it (as was Jules!). And the reason he calls her Wildflower? SA-WOON!!! I wasn’t sure how they would find a happy ending together and was pleasantly surprised with how it all played out.
Special thanks to Entangled Publishing for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance.
- The premise.
“I might be rough and no longer refined but you’ll be safe and treasured in my arms. I vow it, Wildflower.”
- hidden identity
- back from the dead
- opposites attract
- fish out of water