Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards
Published by Avon on June 19th 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: Avon, Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon
When Wicked Comes Calling...
When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She's seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won't accept a marriage without it.
The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain...
Bastard son of a duke and king of London's dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.
For the Promise of Passion...
But there's nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she'd rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil's carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he's ever wanted...and the only thing he's ever desired.
WICKED AND THE WALLFLOWER
by Sarah MacLean
When you start a book by one of your favorites you expect great things. When I started Wicked and the Wallflower I felt a tiny bit let down by Sarah MacLean. To be honest, the first half of the book I struggled – while I loved Felicity and Devil, it dragged in parts and I was afraid that it would be like that all the way until the end. I feared that it would be my first low rating for Ms. MacLean. Until I came to the middle of the story and all of a sudden it went from a three star to a five star.
Let me linger a bit on the first half – I think this story would have benefited from more showing than telling. Devil’s story was told in his thoughts but it was never shown to us. I would have liked to see dialogues, scenes from the past with his brothers and sister to explain why things were so hostile between the hero and his brother. However, in the second half the pace picked up considerably and threw me into a whirlwind of emotions, from anger and frustration to sappy “aawwws” and adoration for both Devil and Felicity.
“Let me tell you about passion, Felicity Faircloth. Passion is obsession. It is desire beyond reason. It is not want, but need. And it comes with the worst of sin far more often than it comes with the best of it.”
Felicity was a wonderful heroine – she had spunk and courage. Her spirit made this story – for her to feel plain and not very interesting she had so much fire and charm. Her beauty was inside and it’s what drew Devil to her. She was a pariah in the circles she moved in because of one mistake. And all she wanted was being accepted back by the ton until Devil showed her that the sparkle of a ballroom is boring compared to the rugged beauty of Covent Garden.
She was so sweet, heady and lush and soft like that spun sugar from all those years ago. She was sin and sex and freedom and pleasure and something more and something worse, and he was lost in the feel of her lips and the taste of her when she opened to him like she’d been waiting her whole life for him.
Devil was the wounded soul that needed saving. He never felt he deserved the spirited Felicity Faircloth although his desperation for wanting her was so palpable. He wanted to give her to world when all she wanted was him. Devil had so much goodness him and yet he couldn’t see it. The things he did for the people under his protection spoke of his character. I loved him as much as he frustrated me. He bolstered Felicity’s self-worth, made her feel like the treasure she was. His determination to protect Felicity was matched by hers to break down the walls of this mysterious man. My heart broke for these two when they seemed to be at a stalemate.
“I wanted you from the start. It was only a matter of time before everything—everything—was second to me wanting you. To me keeping you safe. To me loving you.”
I adored the smart banter between the main characters but I despised Felicity’s family – they were selfish, spineless bastards and I couldn’t fathom why Felicity would give up her own happiness just to save their dumb asses. I adored Dev’s quiet but powerful brother Whit and I am very much looking forward to getting his story. Also, Ewan and Grace have me salivating for their story and I can’t wait to see how Sarah MacLean will redeem Ewan – I don’t feel very benevolent toward him right now.
Ms. MacLean captures the atmosphere of Covent Garden and its dangers and harsh beauty with wonderful prose and I felt totally at home there. Her storytelling is captivating and gorgeous.
Whit’s book, Brazen and the Beast, is a year away so it will be a while until I get to spend time with The Bareknuckle Bastards again. While Wicked and the Wallflower was off to a slow start it totally won me over in the second half and it totally grabbed my by the feels and wouldn’t let go. If that is how Sarah MacLean does it in this series I’m happy to grab the next one.