A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

TBR Challenge: Against a Wall by Cate C. Wells

on October 19, 2022

CW: death of a parent, violent threats, fights. Pretty mild in practice.

The theme: Dangerous to Know

Why This One: Just felt like reading it. The hero is pretty much dangerous not to know.

I enjoyed this while also being kind of aggravated by it. It’s an interesting take on the popular new adult “bullying” theme, because the bullying isn’t really dark, as it often gets in romance. It’s more of a teasing kind — making the inevitable “he did it because he liked her” storyline much more plausible.

The darkness in the story comes from the Glenna’s position as a target for hate — her journalist father wrote an article exposing a local hero as a traitorous thief — and from her loss of her mother at a young age. Young Cash Wall, thick as a brick, had no idea that his teasing originally drove her away from her friendship with him and his twin sister Dina, and that his continued pranks afterwards hit her in an especially vulnerable place.

As a suspense book, this doesn’t have much payoff. (Incidentally, it is linked to several much darker books, but you don’t need to have read them.) It’s mostly about the romance, though there’s also a pretty good arc of self-discovery for Glenna

What I liked: Cash is a classic romance Himbo, and quite a good one, as long as you take care not to wonder about his politics. (Dude has truck nuts, don’t tell me they’re anything good.) He’s the family blockhead, but of course he’s also incredibly competent, chivalrous, loving and devoted, and genuinely remorseful when he learns how much he really hurt Glenna. Glenna thinks “we don’t make sense,” mainly because Cash is so conventionally attractive and she isn’t, but there’s also their very different backgrounds and that she’s an introvert and he’s the life of the party. But the author makes it work.

What I didn’t like: The “wimpy other man” motif. Glenna’s ex, we learn, is pretty terrible and there’s really no need to also set things up so he comes off as pathetic and unmanly next to Cash. You don’t have to spit on skinny women to show a fat heroine is a good thing, and you don’t have to put down vegetarians or pacifists to show that a redneck hero is fine. Just… make him fine.

One response to “TBR Challenge: Against a Wall by Cate C. Wells

  1. azteclady says:

    If we could, as a society, learn that we can like/prefer something without having to vilify whatever we consider to be its opposite, imagine what a world that’d be.

    I’m glad this one mostly worked for you.

Comments welcome! But FYI, WordPress has extremely good spam filters.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sweet Savage Flame

Old School Romance From Avon to Zebra

Celebrity Readers

A Blog for Readers Who Can't Blog Good

The Smut Report

Lets Talk Dirty Books

What We've Been Reading

Reading inspiration from the Ultimate Reading Challenge

Something More

my extensive reading

Blue Castle Considerations

thoughtations, contemplations, fulminations & other random things from books...

...Burns Through Her Bookshelf

Voracious reader, book lover, intermittant blogger, audiologist. These things are some of me, but not the sum of me.

Cate Marsden.

Love and Zombies. And books. And infrequent updates.

Book Thingo

Reading (mostly) romance books down under


Hidden Depths

Olivia Dade

Bawdy romcoms with a big ♥.

Flight into Fantasy

Reviews, book thoughts and opinions of one omnivorous reader.

Her Hands, My Hands

The vagaries of my mind, the products of my hands. Not always safe for work.


64 books. 1 Champion. Get your game on.

Stop the STGRB Bullies

Your hypocrisy is showing

Blue Moon

Audiobook reviews and book reviews. Occasional opining.

Miss Bates Reads Romance

“Miss Bates…had never boasted either beauty or cleverness. Her youth had passed without distinction, and her middle of life was devoted to the care of a failing mother, and the endeavour to make a small income go as far as possible. And yet she was a happy woman..." Emma, Jane Austen

%d bloggers like this: