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.
You know when you’re looking for a romance novel and nothing but a romance novel will suffice? Well, that was me a few days ago, and I picked up Christi Caldwell’s The Importance of Being Wanton, which did not disappoint. It’s the second book in the Wantons of Waverton series, and I did not read the first book before this, but as is typical with these kind of novels, that wasn’t really necessary.
Now, I wouldn’t say this is my favorite romance novel ever, but it fulfilled most of my romance novel quotas, and I don’t actually like to stack up things I enjoy vs other things I enjoy. The one thing I will say is that the book didn’t particularly make me care about any of the secondary characters in a way that leaves me wanting to go read the first book, or desperate for a third, something series like Bridgerton do very well, but as far as the couple in this book, I have no real complaints.
And, it has to be said, at least this book didn’t make some of the secondary characters so unlikeable that just the thought of them getting their own book – even if that book implies a redemption arc – makes me shake my head. That’s also a thing that’s happened.
Back to Emma and Charles, though, because that’s where this book excels. They were both kinda interesting in their own way, because it wasn’t easy for me to do that thing where I just compare them to previous heroes/heroines. This is kind of an unconscious thing, but the genre does have its stereotypes, so sometimes your brain goes oh, so she’s like so and so, and he’s like so and so.
Charles, in particular, was a joy, as he very quickly became the kind of hero I want to root for. A little too quickly, perhaps, because dude did go from I do not care to Okay, I care an then to OMG I love this woman more than life itself, but this is a romance novel, so all in all, that didn’t really bother me all that much. I don’t actually love romance novels that drag out the reveal of feelings till the last twenty pages and give me a ton of angst in between.
Emma’s feelings were easier to follow from A to B, especially because, despite the fact that she gets her own OMG moment, it’s clear she was already in love before, and her journey isn’t the same as his. Despite that, there was a good balance between her feelings and his feelings and how they were both changing as things happened, which I really enjoyed.
Another thing I really appreciated were their scenes together, which is really the thing a romance novel hinges on. You gotta believe these two people want to be together, and you gotta want them to be together too, otherwise what’s even the point? And considering I started reading this book around midnight, bad decisions, I know, and couldn’t put it down till I finished, completely wrecking my sleep schedule, you can say I ended up invested in where this was going.
Romance, as a genre, is something I read for that aww moment, and to make me happy. It’s as simple as that. Some people look down on books that are just meant to give you pleasure, but I like to side eye those people. There’s no loftier goal in art than making people feel things, and if something makes you happy, then what’s better than that? Christi Caldwell’s The Importance of Being Wanton was a fun, easy read, that didn’t go where I thought it was going to go, even when it did, and that entertained me enough that I didn’t want to put it down.
Probably not one I’d be desperate to re-read, like some others, but still worth a read, if you ask me. Like a good cup of tea in a cold afternoon, this is good comfort, and we could all use some of that.
The Importance of being Wanton is available wherever books are sold.