28 June 2018

Wicked and the Wallflower // Sarah MacLean Always Writes Good Books So Why Did I Doubt Her?

Published: 19th June 2018

Source: Pure Textuality PR

Genre: Historical Romance

My Rating:
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.



I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Bareknuckle Bastards was a series from Sarah MacLean I was uncertain of on first of it. I mean, I adore her historical romance books, but for me, the charm in most historical romance is the appeal of the aristocracy and the way that social graces lead to these secret liaisons between couples and the whole sneaking around to save reputations. It’s ridiculous and absurd the roles women are forced into, but there’s also something charming about it. I thought that the tale of these criminals, rulers of Covent Garden, would lead her books to be different and appeal to me a little less. After all, even the rogues in her books are still a part of the aristocracy.

Sarah MacLean likes to prove me wrong because I adored this book.

Wicked and the Wallflower is an amazing book I probably would have appreciated even more if I wasn’t four releases behind on MacLean’s books (I know, guys, what have I been doing?) but even without knowledge of who Felicity was before I began reading (I gather she had her own little role previously) she still won me over. I think we can all relate to a woman who has been deemed on the shelf by those around her and who has been rejected by a world she thought accepted her. We’ve all experienced a time of realising someone who was close to us was not in fact as good a friend as we had hoped. And poor Felicity is facing life as a spinster, which she was totally fine with because she has seen what real love looks like and is hoping for more. She wants it all and she is willing to make a deal with the Devil to get it. Quite literally, she makes a deal with Devil to try and win herself a Duke and prove all those naysayers and bullies that she is worth something, Felicity Faircloth, and they don’t know what they’re missing. The only problem is Devil is way more fun some boring old Duke.

Boy is Devil an interesting character. I was all set for eye rolling and needing some serious encouragement to get behind Devil and his role as a romantic lead because seriously, Devil? Could he be any more ridiculous? Like I said, Sarah MacLean likes to prove me wrong and I was falling head over heels for good old Devil and his charming ways. No man can refer to himself in such a way without having a little charm, it would be ridiculous and someone would have talked him out of the idea far sooner otherwise. He was charming, but that’s not to say he wasn’t serious and scary when he needed to be. He was a man who had fought to make himself a king in Covent Garden and create his very own criminal empire, he was not a man to cross, which made it all the more rewarding seeing his gooey centre (which I could totally phrase better but I am sun tired here people!) and seeing how Felicity slowly brought out another side he barely even recognised in himself.

Both Felicity and Devil were surprising characters. There was way more than meets the eye to both. Felicity appears to be a plain old wallflower, but she is fiery and fun and the girl can pick a lock! I am jealous of her mad skills which leave her family in despair for her because she isn’t proper and she is a scandal! And then Devil is not all scary, criminal, he has this soft side which is obvious as you learn his history and those of his siblings. He cares for those who live within his realm (because he is a lord of a criminal underworld here people!) and he makes sure that even the lowest people are cared for because he came from nothing.

I know this book is about revenge and other such eye-rolling stuff, there are secret schemes and the usual romance misunderstandings, but I don’t even care about that because I am just too in love with Felicity and Devil together and this book was such a good and wonderful romance. The pairing had me smiling and wanting to hug my Kindle close whilst sat on the bus. I was willing to stay up late in the sweltering English heatwave to read more of their story together. You won’t be reading this book for the revenge plot, you’ll be reading it because you want to knock Felicity and Devil’s heads together so they will just get over themselves and get together already. It is utterly wonderful and I need to go back and catch up on some Sarah MacLean reads, I think.

Have you read this, wasn’t it awesome? Have you ever gone into a book from an author you love not expecting to enjoy it as much but instead end up being blown away? Just me? I know, I’m special.
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