Wicked and the Wallflower
by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards Series
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
When a man known only as Devil finds his way into her bedchamber and offers her his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees. She might be a spinster, but she’s seen love in action and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that her future husband will love her beyond reason—even if it means she must make a deal with a man more dangerous than she could imagine.
Bastard son of a duke, and king of London’s darkest corners, Devil has made a lifetime of wielding power and seizing opportunity, and Felicity Faircloth is everything he needs to exact a perfect revenge. All he has to do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy. If the girl is ruined in the process, so be it.
Except there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, and soon it’s Devil who is trapped…along with his heart.
The three were woven together long before they were aware, strands of spun, silken steel that could not be separated—not even when their fate insisted upon it.
Brothers, born on the same day, in the same hour, at the same minute to different women. The high-priced courtesan. The seamstress. The soldier’s widow. Born on the same day, in the same hour, at the same minute to the same man.
The duke, their father, whose arrogance and cruelty fate would punish without hesitation, stealing from him the only thing he wanted that his money and power could not buy—an heir.
It is the Ides of March the seers warn of, with its promise of betrayal and vengeance, of shifting fortune and inalienable providence. But for this sire—who was never more than that, never close to father—it was the Ides of June that would be his ruin.
Because on that same day, in that same hour, at that same minute, there was a fourth child, born to a fourth woman. To a duchess. And it was this birth—the birth all the world thought legitimate—that the duke attended, even as he knew the son who was to be his heir in name and fortune and future was not his own and still, somehow, was his only hope.
Except she was a daughter.
And with her first breath, she thieved future from them all, as powerful in her infancy as she would become in her womanhood. But hers is a story for another time.
This story begins with the boys.
A new series from Ms. MacLean!
Wicked and the Wallflower is loosely connected to at least two other series of hers–the Fallen Angel from The Rules of Scoundrels is a customer of the Barenuckle Bastards, and Felicity was one of the failed suitesses of the Duke of Haven in The Day of the Duchess . If you haven’t read all (or any) of those books, no worries, you’ll manage–though perhaps the strangeness of what you’ll hear about the plot of The Day of the Duchess might inspire you to pick that one up next. (DO IT. OMG, So. Good.)
This book of course has a lot of set-up for this series: we are introduced to the three (four) siblings (well, siblings-ish for the fourth) and find out some of their history, though there are quite a few gaps left in their backstory that will presumably be filled in as the series continues. I really did find that I wanted more of the gaps filled in here than we get–I have a feeling most of what I’m looking for won’t be revealed until book three, which sadly doesn’t even have a name yet (sigh)–but what we do learn gives Devil a suitably horrible childhood and helps show why he doesn’t believe he’ll ever be good enough for Felicity.
(Though that bit does get to be a bit much, honestly. She clearly wants you, dude, and doesn’t care about your “darkness”–get over yourself, already.)
Still, this book gave me all the feels–I loved how Felicity managed to give as good as she got all book long, and watching Devil go from a moody guy who is bent on revenge to a man who finds love at last was just wonderful (as was watching his brother Whit mock him for it–just you wait, “Beast”). I can’t believe we have to wait until next June(!) for the next book. Though maybe I’ll use that as an excuse to re-read Duchess… 😉
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the Author:
New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller SARAH MACLEAN is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical romance from the Romance Writers of America.
Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. She is the author of a monthly column celebrating the best of the genre for the Washington Post. Her advocacy for romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com’s “Sheroes” list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to call her “gracefully furious.”
A graduate of Smith College & Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.
Tour Wide Giveaway!
To celebrate the release of WICKED AND THE WALLFLOWER by Sarah MacLean, we’re giving away two $10 Amazon gift cards!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open internationally. Two winners will each receive a $10 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 6/29/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Pure Textuality PR is responsible for the prize and will send the prizes out to the winners directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!