Sarah MacLean brings the second in her Bareknuckle Bastards series to the blog today – a story all about defying convention, finding healing, growth and moving beyond your past (or the expectations thereof) in
Brazen and the Beast
Hattie (Henrietta) has always been the smarter of her father’s children, and always dreamed of having her own business, life, home and control. But, her father sees her as little more than a girl who needs be wed and settled in a home with a husband, preferably one with a title as theirs is non-hereditary and granted for the shipyards contribution to Britain. But Hattie, soon to be 30, is determined to force her father’s hand. She knows that her brother August is unable to grasp the finer details of business, has little interest and even less aptitude, and she’s going to make all of that clear by arranging her own ‘ruination’ in a visit to a very exclusive and (contrary to convention) bordello that caters to both men and women. Using her best friend (also on the shelf and known for her wild careening through the streets as she commandeers her carriages) Nora to drive her and also be her sounding board, all is going according to plan until they find a man, tied and unconscious, in the carriage.
Beat (or Whit) is the third of the four children born to the Duke of Marwick – all illegitimate, all set against one another to ‘prove’ their worth – that was until Beast, Devil and Grace fled their father’s home for London and a life on the streets. Now all grown up, The Bastards have several businesses, legitimate and otherwise, and run Covent Garden and the slums of London. Beast, however, is different to his siblings, he’s the caretaker – seeing that the children of the area have lemon and raspberry ices when they bring a ship in with ice, always having sweets to hand and a word, kind or otherwise, to see women and children are cared for, and the miscreants are punished. But now with four shipments having gone awry and three of his men injured in the process, it’s personal to Beast, and he is determined to know who is behind the thefts. The lynchpin of the questions he needs answers for is Hattie – but he’s alternately intrigued and disturbed by her – and always off balance.
MacLean does such a wonderful job of showing us the good and bad sides of these characters, outlining their loyalties and showing their insecurities. Hattie is “not the ideal’ for the London social scene: too tall, not ‘pretty’ enough, not ‘thin’ enough, too smart, too apt to speak her mind – and she’s incorporated these insecurities and they affect how she interacts with men, or believes that she has more to offer in terms of a romantic partnership. She’s convinced herself that she doesn’t want one – and with Beast –in all his glory, believing that she’s too good for him, and should he love her he would lose her – the two have plenty to ‘work out’ in terms of trust, interactions and choices. But they are ELECTRIC together and wonderfully paired – she’s fearless and loyal, as is he – and she is more than willing to take on purveyors of injustice, no matter how big or small. Additionally we get to visit with the people of the area, learn a bit more about Annika and see that Grace, despite being sent away for her own safety is ready to take up the role of protector to the two she fled for London with so many years ago. Atmospheric, action packed, steamy and oh so lovely for the connection between Beast and Hattie that is clearly developing the more they interact, the story is a read in one sitting, can’t put it down – give me the next book NOW sort of tale – and sure to please fans of historic romance with mates that are miles apart in social standing and knotted inexorably together in their hearts.
Title: Brazen and the Beast
Author: Sarah MacLean
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards #2
Also in this series: Wicked and the Wallflower
Genre: British, Family Saga, Friendship, Historic Elements, Historical Romance, Humor elements, Post-Regency, Romantic Elements, Setting: Britain, Victorian
Published by: Avon
Published on: 30 July, 2019
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 25 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
The Lady’s Plan
When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.
The Bastard’s Proposal
When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price.
An Unexpected Passion
Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.