I Want You to Want Me by Shana Galen

I Want You to Want Me by Shana Galen
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Historical, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

A cruel twist of fate…

Nicholas St. Clare, youngest son of the Marquess of Averstow, was an avid horseman until his legs were crushed on the battlefield. The injury sent him home to England a broken man. Ashamed of his injury, he’s become a virtual recluse on his country estate until his mother, the dowager marchioness, insists he marry. Nicholas doesn’t want a bride who would be shackled to his broken body and privately despise him for being a cripple. He hates his weakness and doesn’t believe anyone can see past it.

A stroke of good luck…

Amelia Blackstock has always followed her family motto: A Blackstock doesn’t run from trouble. It runs from us. Unfortunately, trouble caught up with her, and when the world finds out, she’ll be ruined. When Lord Nicholas stumbles upon her sobbing, he tries to comfort her. His kindness backfires when they are discovered alone together, and Amelia faces even more scandal. Nicholas offers to marry her, but only if she’ll agree to a separate bed chambers.

A happily ever after in jeopardy.

Amelia concedes to a platonic marriage, but as her feelings for Lord Nicholas grow, she wants more. Nicholas is drawn to Amelia as well, but he fears risking it all by revealing the ugly truth of his injury. When Nicholas’s brothers-in-arms arrive for a house party, it seems everything that can go wrong, does. Between a lost pet pig, a fugitive wanted for treason, and a night of drinking gone awry, Nicholas and Amelia grow further apart. Nicholas is the last of the Survivors. Will he be the only one without a happily ever after?

What a wonderful way to wrap up The Survivors series. All tied up in a pretty bow with a happy ever after that is satisfying and complete, I Want You to Want Me is an amazing journey of two unlikely people who fall in love.

The story opens up with Nicholas St. Clare’s mom harassing him about getting married. I really felt for the guy. On one hand she’s pushing him to do what is expected of him, marry, while at the same time undermining it all by her treatment of his injury and disability. Her see-sawing emotions made me dizzy. I can’t figure out Nicholas’s brother. I want to dislike him but later in the story he acts more normal, then he gets a stick up his arse again until another scene redeems him and he’s not so bad, mostly. All I can say is, I’m so happy this book is about Nicholas.

I like how the hero meets the heroine for the first time. Talk about making an impression! She even has a guard pig everyone is afraid to go near. Except the hero. Pigs are good judges of character, I think. Amelia Blackstock’s downfall comes from a pig who loves his food and will do just about anything to get it, including a little B & E.

A little help comes from an unlikely source, Rafe Beaumont, the hero of An Affair with a Spare. He’s not supposed to be in the country – he’s a wanted man. His character is one that likes to poke the bear. The ‘bear’ in this instance is Nicholas and the results are unorthodox, clever and it showcases that there’s a caring heart and a brain inside this womanizer turned devoted husband of Colette. She stays in America nice and safe while Rafe is in a not-so-clever disguise, planning a devious scheme. I’d say he’s the mover and shaker of the plot. He’s funny too.

The conflict is character based – Nicholas is so turned inside himself, in his mind his injury overtakes the man. He’s in a surly rut and is convinced that life will never get better because he will never get better. Amelia isn’t of the same mind. That’s another conflict. The hero simply can’t believe that Amelia won’t turn out like everyone else. There’s plenty of clues that say otherwise but he’s blind to them all. Hence, the wisdom of Rafe.

I think there’ll be a lot of fans of the series that will rave about this book and give it a higher rating than I have. There’s plenty to be excited about. It’s a fun, well-paced and entertaining read that has a lot going for it. For me, not enough. There’s comes a big event that brings together all of the Survivors from all the previous books in the series – the heroes, their wives and for those that have them, their kids too. It sounds grand and it is. But I wanted more. I wanted a little insight into each of the past heroes and heroines on how they’re doing, are they truly happy and I kind of wanted the spark to be rekindled, to remind me of why I fell in book-love with each hero in the first place. I understand, truly I do, that the author was being very careful not to overshadow Nicholas and Amelia’s story and romance, especially since every man is strong and commanding in his own right. I wanted something to touch me, to make me feel like there was a family gathering, that I was a part of that tight knit community that I’ve been a part of in each and every book of the series. I didn’t experience that no matter how glad I was to see everyone. It felt flat to me and that disappointed and saddened me a little. I guess I can’t have everything I want and the most important thing I should want, a happy ever after for Amelia and Nicholas, the author delivered. There is no doubt that this novel did the series justice and provided readers with a wonderful, complete ending.

There’s no doubt that Amelia’s character was perfect for Nicholas. He needed a stubborn woman who remained true to herself, and to her commitments. She needed some motherly advice here and there. Speaking of which, I was worried about her mother too. I thought for sure I knew what the lady was turning to in her grief. I’m glad I was wrong. I’m also glad that there’s a positive turn towards the end of the book. Like I said, Ms. Galen succeeded in tying up all emotional loose ends and made I Want You to Want Me a story worth recommending to fans of the series. And, because it focuses solely on Nicholas a/k/a Nickers, and Amelia, this can even be read as a standalone. Rafe kind of plays a comedic foil and is far removed from the story he appeared in initially. So, yes, this book can be read out of order and a reader will still find enjoyment and fun within its pages.

Wrapping up, I’d say it’s a toss up between the funniest scenes, of Sweetie the pig, or when the guys imbibed too much. Although that caused a decent plot wrinkle too because drunk men don’t always think before they speak. Okay, they probably do, but what comes out doesn’t have the effect they think it will. Hence, plot consternation.

I Want You to Want Me is a must read for many reasons. It’s a great romance and Nicholas more than deserved his happy ever after. Amelia is the perfect heroine to provide it. Pick up your own copy and see for yourself. It’ll be an afternoon well spent.

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