Never Wager With a Wallflower
Grade : B-

Virginia Heath concludes her series about the Meriwell Sisters – all three destitute thanks to their gambling father, all three looking for husbands – with a bit of a thud in Never Wager with a Wallflower. While I liked the other sister-heroines, Venus is a bit of a trial, and she never fully redeems herself away from being the spoiled brat she was in the first few books. Heath’s crisp sense of history and always-solid banter keeps this one floating above a C, but it’s definitely not my favorite of the series.

Venus – Vee – Meriwell has watched her two older sisters settle into marriage. Now, disabused of any notions about her father ever turning his life around and rescuing them, and with no academically-minded suitors in the offing – she starts considering what she wants to make of her own future, while still hoping prince charming will come around. Her life has become one of charity – she volunteers at a bustling, overcrowded Covent Garden orphanage. Vee and those working at the faculty have designs on the building next door to them, hoping to expand.

Enter the amazingly and on-the-nose named Galahad – Gal – Sinclair, cousin of Giles Sinclair, hero of book two (Never Rescue a Rogue) and Vee’s brother-in-law, an American expat and (gasp!) gambler. He is a second generation master of the cards, and, swept off to London, has gambled his way up from the sleaziest of environs until he has a neat pile of money. He plans on opening a gambling hell of his very own… in the vacant building next to Vee’s orphanage.

Cue a clash over the building. Gal wants Vee and her orphans out of the area; Vee and her orphans want Gal out of the area. Soon, the gamester and the wallflower find themselves being pushed together, but will betting on a gambler really satisfy Vee in the end?

Never Wager with a Wallflower is one of those romances where the tension between the characters is completely reasonable as is their reason to fight their attraction, but man, I could not warm up to the main characters at all. To be fair, Vee has not been my favorite Meriweather over the course of the previous two books and here – at her most stiff-necked and obtuse – she’s hardly at her best. She doesn’t have a real claim on the building next to her, but she absolutely thinks it’s owed to her and is absolutely willing to make moral judgment on Gal’s character at first. While this is perhaps understandable, it still makes her annoying.

While Gal strives to live up to his name and even rise above a terrible past that leaves him mistrustful of women, Vee is so prone to diatribes. And I don’t know if gaming hells regularly sprouted up next to orphanages in real Regency era London, but that was a big plot point I couldn’t quite swallow. Sometimes the banter works, and feels within the comfortable Heath milieu. Other times, I wondered what Gal was doing with this naive moralist.

I will say that the various orphans Vee spends time with are cute, though occasionally too cutesy. For those wanting to check in with the other sisters, Diana gives birth in this volume, and you get to see Minerva too.

In the end, Never Wager with a Wallflower is the weakest book in the trilogy, but if you like Vee more than I do, you might look upon it with more kindness.

Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes

Grade: B-

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : November 6, 2023

Publication Date: 11/2023

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at, follow her on Twitter at or contribute to her Patreon at or her Ko-Fi at
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