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A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas Read Online (FREE)

A Wallflower Christmas Read Online

Read A Wallflower Christmas (Wallflowers, #4.5) by Lisa Kleypas full novel online for free here.

PROLOGUE

Once there were four young ladies who sat at the side of every ball, soiree, and party during the London season. Waiting night after night in a row of chairs, the wallflowers eventually struck up a conversation. They realized that although they were in competition for the same group of gentlemen, there was more to be gained from being friends rather than adversaries. And even more than that, they liked one another. They decided to band together to find husbands, starting with the oldest, Annabelle, and working down to the youngest, Daisy.

Annabelle was unquestionably the most beautiful wallflower, but she was virtually penniless, which put her at the greatest disadvantage. Although most London bachelors hoped for a wife with a pretty face, they usually settled for one with a handsome dowry.

Evie was unconventionally attractive, with flaming hair and abundant freckles. It was well-known that someday she would inherit a fortune from her father. However, her father was a common-born ex-boxer who owned a gambling club, and such a disreputable background was a difficult obstacle for a young lady to surmount. Even worse, Evie was cripplingly shy and had a stammer. Any man who tried to talk to her would later describe the encounter as an act of torture.

Lillian and Daisy were sisters from New York. Their family, the Bowmans, were astonishingly, vulgarly, almost unimaginably wealthy, having made their fortune with a soap manufacturing business. They had no good blood, no manners, and no social patrons. Lillian was a fiercely loving friend, but also strong-willed and bossy. And Daisy was a dreamer who often fretted that real life was never quite as interesting as the novels she read so voraciously.

As the wallflowers helped one another navigate the perils of London society, and consoled and supported one another through very real dangers, sorrows, and joys, they each found a husband, and no one referred to them as wallflowers anymore.

In every social season, however, there was no shortage of new wallflowers. (Then, as now, there were always girls who were overlooked and ignored by gentlemen who really should have known better.)

But then there was the Christmas when Rafe Bowman, Lillian and Daisy’s oldest brother, came to England. After that, life for one London wallflower would never be the same. . . .

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

LONDON 1845

It’s official,” Lillian, Lady Westcliff, said with satisfaction, setting aside the letter from her brother. “Rafe will reach London in precisely a fortnight. And the clipper’s name is theWhirlwind, which I think is quite apt in light of his impending betrothal.”

She glanced down at Annabelle and Evie, who were both on the parlor floor working on a massive circle of red velvet. They had gathered at Lillian’s London house, Marsden Terrace, for an afternoon of tea and conversation.

At the moment Annabelle and Evie were making a tree skirt, or rather trying to salvage the fabric from Lillian’s previous efforts. Evie was snipping at a piece of brocade ribbon that had been stitched unevenly on one side, while Annabelle was busy cutting a new edge of fabric and pinning it.