The darkness had always tempted her. The locks. The barriers. The impossible.
Published: June 19 2018
Pages: 396 (mass market paperback)
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards #1
Maybe he wasn’t a man in the darkness. Maybe he was the darkness itself. Ephemeral and mysterious and tempting…
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.
A few weeks ago I realized that, seeing as how romance is my favorite genre, I should try to branch out and read a few historical romances. So, this is the first book I’ve read in this specific genre, and I’m not disappointed in the least! This book was so good! It was the perfect combination of wit, drama, romance, and one of my favorite tropes. I adored this.
I really enjoyed the main characters in this, which is a bit odd because I usually tend to like one more than the other. I thought Felicity was so witty and brave, and she wasn’t afraid to be herself and go after what she wanted. Devil was a total dreamboat, men from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ are like my absolute favorite male protagonists, so this book delivered on all the bad boy romance I needed. Honestly, he reminded me a lot of Kaz from Six of Crows and I just kept picturing him this way. Seeing them interact with one another was probably my favorite aspect of this book because MacLean serves up a lot of sexual tension and witty banter, and I constantly found myself swooning and giggling throughout this delightful little book. The side characters in this, from Felicity’s sister-in-law Pru to Devil’s brooding brother Beast, were just the right people to make this book special. Even when Devil and Felicity weren’t together, I wasn’t bored because all the side characters were just as fun as the main characters.
While I really enjoyed this book, I can’t say that I loved it. The plot here got a little confusing and repetitive for me at times. For example, there were multiple times throughout this where Felicity was asking a man, be it Devil or the Duke of Marwick, “why me?” and after the first three times I was over it. They would explain it to her and then she would just ask again and it seemed like an endless loop during some of the key scenes. Not my cup of tea. I understand this was supposed to show her softer side and let us know that she does have insecurities, but when it’s this repetitive I can’t help but be a little frustrated.
Overall, the plot was lacking the ‘big’ thing at the end for me. Like yeah, Felicity of course uncovers the connection between Marwick and Devil, but there isn’t some explosive fight or moment that I was shocked or worried about the characters. Even the moment toward the end with Devil in the ice hold wasn’t all that exciting. I like my romance novels with just a dash more drama, just a personal preference.
This wasn’t just my first historical romance, it was also my first Sarah MacLean novel as well. Her writing style was beautiful and her more steamy scenes were the perfect balance of descriptive but not in a weird or gross way. As mentioned above, she packed the perfect amount of witty banter and funny moments, making this so much fun to read. If all historical romance is this way, I’m going to enjoy them immensely. I can definitely see why her books are so popular, and this made me even more excited to try the few other historical romances I picked up at my favorite used bookstore. Also, I can’t wait for the next one to be released! I’m dying for Beast’s story!
Side Note: I wanted to share two other quotes from this book that I LOVED.
1) The course language was meant to scare her. It only made her want him more. SAME GIRL SAME.
2) “Felicity Faircloth, name like a storybook princess, right hook like a prizefighter.” YES.
The Bareknuckle Bastards