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Wicked and the Wallflower: The Bareknuckle Bastards Book I Mass Market Paperback – June 19, 2018
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“Here [MacLean] kicks off a new series, The Bareknuckle Bastards, that promises her darkest take yet. But even when MacLean goes dark… the sparkling wit and essential goodness of her characters shine through.” (New York Times Book Review)
“MacLean’s books should be required reading...She is, without question, the elegantly fuming, utterly intoxicating queen of historical romance.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“She’s my absolute go-to author for clever, sexy and fun historical romances.” (Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times bestselling author)
“Sexy, smart, and dangerous – Sarah MacLean delivers the whole package. On top of the incredible storyline and characters, Sarah MacLean’s writing is stunning and has left this reader desperate for more.” (Hypable)
From the Back Cover
When Wicked Comes Calling . . .
When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a husband, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees to his suspicious terms— 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.
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Them sweetheart, consoling them and lays on the sugar conjoling to ravish locks and Devils manly parts that may react.
The only bad part of this book is how she treats us is with the start of Whits'book that's not out till 2019!!!! Nooooo! The inhumanity that we will have to wait so long.....sigh. Buy it, read it, enjoy it.
She tried to make it work by setting up the hero, Devil's, internal conflict of "oh, no, I'm not good enough for her." The first 2/3rd of the book this is repeated over and over and over in different ways. I felt like getting the guy therapy; he needed it more than he needed romance. In case you didn't get it: I'm not good enough for her should be the book's meme.
Felicity comes across as a 15 year old who's been dropped by the cool kids. The problem is that is about the sum total of her personality until she decides she loves Devil, Covent Garden, and hates her old friends and her old life. Presto, she's willing to go to the slums but not the slums, the pretty part cushioned by the king of the stews and his wealth. Where she'd be richer than her impoverished but charmed ton life.
I generally am willing to suspend disbelief on such an unbelievable plot, but the lack of character development, the use of insta-love-from-lust, all were undermined by dark underworld that ran like a modern factory. I began asking where is the Thames from Covent Garden? Why is there a warehouse there and not by the docks downstream of say the Tower and Tower Bridge? Why isn't there gang warfare in Covent Garden/Seven Dials? The underworld here was pretty and perfect, and I had to swallow that in addition to the difficult social strata bridging.
I did like the symbols of locks and freedom, fire and flame and moths, and the imagery of past/future. All of that was nicely done.
Like another reviewer, I liked Grace and Ewan much better than Devil or Felicity. I want their romance. Most of all, I want the old Sarah MacLean back.
I liked this book, but I had some issues with the plot details:
First, all four main characters in the series were born on exactly the same day at exactly the same minute as each other, but all had different mothers. REALLY? Were they all in the same hospital (or whatever they called them back in the day)? I know that these romance novels come with an automatic suspension of belief, but this put me off right from the beginning. If she had called this a fantasy series, I could have bought into the set-up, and I am very willing to put up with some fluff in order to advance the plot lines, but this was a stretch for me.
Plus, I felt that the story plodded a bit: she thinking she did not deserve him and him feeling the same about her. It just dragged during the main part of the story. I know the other siblings get their own stories, but I felt that the first book could have used some more interaction between the three brothers. Felicity felt like a go-between to advance the plot.
Finally--and I am being nit-picky here--so Devil was locked in the ice freezer and Felicity discovered this and called Whit and John to help (who were right next to her in the warehouse). She was forced to pick at least 7-9 (not sure of #s) locks while she was waiting for them. I do not know the specifics of lock-picking, but I estimated that she would have taken at least 15-20 minutes to get all of them done and where was Whit?? Plus, even though Devil seemed okay, he was locked in that room for several hours. Wouldn't he have suffered frostbite at least? But he seemed to suffer no ill-effects at all from the exposure, not to mention that Ewan had forcibly struck him on his head with a metal object.
Sorry--I am willing to go along with some questionable plot points to move the action along, but if I am sitting there reading this book and I am wondering these things--what is this doing for my immersion of and enjoyment of this book?
I love, love, love Sarah MacLean. I have eagerly been awaiting her upcoming books. "Nine Rules to Break..." is one of my favorite romance books of all time. I liked this book: just disappointed at some of the gaps in logic (and I am the most illogical person ever).
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Let's talk about Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean aka the first installment of The Bareknuckle...Read more