Book Review: Never Wager with a Wallflower by Virginia Heath

About the Book:

Never Wager with a Wallflower book cover

Title: Never Wager with a Wallflower

Author: Virginia Heath

Series: The Merriwell Sisters

Page Length: 320

Publication Date: November 7, 2023

Publisher: St. Martin’s

Synopsis: The third and final delightful installment in the Merriwell Sister’s Regency rom-com series.

Miss Venus Merriwell has been waiting for her prince to come since the tender age of fourteen. She wants a man who is selfless, academic like her, and free from all the wretched vices her gambler father enjoyed far too much before he left the Merriwell sisters practically destitute. Unfortunately, after a slew of romantic disappointments, there is still no sign of that prince at twenty-three and the only one true love of her life is the bursting-at-the-seams orphanage in Covent Garden that she works tirelessly for. An orphanage that desperately needs to expand into the empty building next door.

For Galahad Sinclair, gambling isn’t just his life, it’s in his blood. He grew up and learned the trade at his grandfather’s knee in a tavern on the far away banks of the Hudson in New York. But when fate took all that away and dragged him across the sea to London, it made sense to set up shop here. He’s spent five years making a success out of his gaming hell in the sleazy docks of the East End. Enough that he can finally afford to buy the pleasure palace of his dreams—and where better than in the capital’s sinful heart, Covent Garden? The only fly in his ointment is the perfect building he’s just bought to put it in also happens to be right next door to the orphanage run by his cousin’s wife’s youngest sister. A pious, disapproving and unsettling siren he has avoided like the plague since she flattened him five years ago…
While Venus and Galahad lock horns over practically everything, and while her malevolent orphans do their darndest to sabotage his lifelong dream, can either of them take the ultimate gamble—and learn to love thy neighbor?

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

Never Wager with a Wallflower is the third and final book in The Merriwell Sisters trilogy, and it focuses on the youngest sister, Venus. Vee teaches at a local orphanage and does what she can to avoid Galahad, her brother-in-law’s brother. Gal has spent years working toward his dream of opening a pleasure palace, and his dreams are finally realized. However, when he learns he bought property next door to Vee’s orphanage unbeknownst to Vee, and their paths repeatedly cross, both characters must face their changing feelings for each other.

Vee and Gal have a wonderful, slow-building, enemies-to-lovers romance, and their love story was a fabulous conclusion to the series. Each chapter begins with a passage from Vee’s journal, which she’s kept for many years. It was so interesting to see how her thoughts, feelings, and desires changed from her younger teen years to adulthood. I also liked that each journal passage set the tone and offered a bit of foreshadowing for the chapter ahead.

Though they believe they are very different, Vee and Gal have a lot in common, which they learn the more they’re together. Both had difficult and tragic pasts, both have erected pretty strong walls, and they both have feelings for each other that they’re hesitant to reveal. This all makes for some great chemistry and terrific and sometimes antagonistic banter. They have some amazing conversations about books and Shakespeare that are fantastic! Vee and Gal learn that their first impressions of each other are not as accurate as they believed, and it was wonderful seeing their preconceptions change as they learn more about each other.

Vee and Gal have a slow-building love story. Both struggle with their insecurities and fears, as well as deep hurts from the past, and the story delves into these feelings and conflicts. It definitely deepens their connection, and it adds so much to their character development. I found myself so invested in their stories, and I really wanted them both to see how perfect they were for each other. However, between their misgivings, the walls they put up, and their fear (especially Gal) of opening up to others, there are a lot of obstacles in their way. Plus, Gal bought the property Vee thought was for the orphanage, and he isn’t transparent with Vee about it.

I also liked the secondary characters in the novel. The couples from the first two books are also in this one, but the stars of the secondary characters have to be the orphanage boys. I just adored them and how both Vee and Gal connected with them in different ways.

This was a delightful conclusion to the trilogy, and the epilogue was the icing on top of the cake. I loved it! Thanks so much to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.



Favorite Parts:

  • The romance!
  • The secondary characters.

Favorite Line:

I have decided, however, that certain criteria are not negotiable. First and foremost, he must love books. Second, he must love me more than any book, no matter how marvelous the story.

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