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Wicked and the Wallflower: The Bareknuckle…

Wicked and the Wallflower: The Bareknuckle Bastards Book I (edition 2018)

by Sarah MacLean (Author)

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16810106,163 (4.12)4
Title:Wicked and the Wallflower: The Bareknuckle Bastards Book I
Authors:Sarah MacLean (Author)
Info:Avon (2018), 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Regency Romance, Historical Romance, Romantic Fiction, Fiction, The Bareknuckle Bastards

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Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean



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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Very good book with fascinating characters that kept me hooked from beginning to end. Felicity is a twenty-seven-year-old woman who appears to be firmly on the shelf. She went from having glittering possibilities to being stuck on the fringes of society thanks to a couple of poor decisions that nobody will let her forget. As the story opens, Felicity is verbally attacked by those who used to be her friends. Felicity wants nothing more than to get back to being part of the in-crowd once again and show up those who have treated her so badly. Her mouth gets the better of her, and she claims to be engaged to the Duke of Marwick, even though she has never met him, and knows that when the truth comes out, she'll be Finished Felicity for sure. What she doesn't expect is a late-night offer of help from a mysterious stranger.

Devil is the bastard son of a brutal and manipulative duke, one of three brothers and a sister. In a childhood pact, the brothers swore that they would ensure that there would be no heirs to their father's line. Now one brother, Ewan, who brutally acquired their father's title, has broken that pact and is looking for a wife. Devil is determined to thwart Ewan's plans, and Felicity is the perfect tool for him to use. He promises her that he will help her land the duke, while at the same time intending to sabotage the engagement to prove to Ewan that he won't get his way. Devil has no thought for what his plans would do to the girl in question.

I loved both Felicity and Devil. Though Felicity seemed to be a typical empty-headed society miss at first, it doesn't take long to see that there is more to her. I liked seeing her lay down her own conditions with Devil. She also isn't content to sit back and wait for him to take action. She has a very unique talent that she regularly uses to invade his space. She has a sharp mind and isn't afraid to use it, which sometimes gets her into trouble. Devil is a man who made my heart ache. He had a terrible childhood but has made a place for himself, with his brother and sister, as the king of Covent Garden and head of the local crime ring. Though Devil is a hard man who rules his kingdom with an iron fist, there is also another side of him that, though not precisely soft, shows a depth of caring for the people around him. It is especially evident in the treatment of his "employees."

I thoroughly enjoyed the development of the relationship between Felicity and Devil. The connection is there from the moment they met, though both try to ignore it. Felicity is intrigued by Devil and takes every opportunity to spend time with him. I loved her first appearance in his world, his shock at how she got there, and her refusal to back down. Devil's reaction is priceless, as is his trouble in figuring out how to deal with her. As Felicity found herself drawn deeper into Devil's world, her outlook underwent some significant changes. I loved seeing her take a good look at the life she was trying to get back to and realize that it was no longer what she wanted. I loved seeing her confidence in herself grow the more time she spent with Devil, and discover that he and the Covent Garden life was what she wanted. All she had to do was break down his walls and get him to let her in. Devil was in trouble from the minute he met Felicity. He was fascinated by her and increasingly reluctant to inflict the inevitable hurt that his plans would cause. He was dismayed by the protectiveness he felt for her, suspecting that it will cause him greater problems with his intentions for the duke. He fought hard against his feelings for her, convinced that he is unworthy of her because of who and what he is. The dialogue between Felicity and Devil spotlights their connection and their growing feelings and emphasizes the attraction that continues to simmer and bubble between them. I ached for them both when the truth came out and was glued to the pages to see how they would find their way back to each other. Their big moment together was fantastic and perfect for the two of them.

The revenge portion of the story was well done. There is enough of the backstory to show why Devil goes after Ewan, with details revealed piecemeal through the book. The parts involving Ewan and Grace are particularly intriguing and leave me with many questions about what is between them. The tension built slowly as Devil helped Felicity in her desire to captivate the duke, while at the same time planning his part. There were also some questions as to whether Ewan is somehow involved in the trouble that Devil and Whit are having with their business. The confrontation between Devil and Ewan at the end was intense and did not go the way I thought it would. I loved Felicity's part in it. There are still unanswered questions, and I can't wait to see what is in the next book.

The secondary characters in the book were vital to the story, too. There are Devil's siblings, Whit and Grace/Dahlia. Whit is quiet but intense. His relationship with Devil is close, and their business is successful because of it. I enjoyed seeing him try to keep Devil focused on the plan, yet also support him in his love for Felicity. There were some funny moments between them because of it. I loved their sister, Grace. She is a strong woman who has made an interesting life for herself. I look forward to her story because of it. Nik was another strong and independent woman. I especially enjoyed seeing how the men respected her. My least favorite characters were Felicity's family. They were incredibly selfish, looking to Felicity to sacrifice herself so that they can maintain their position in society. Her brother was perhaps a shade better because he at least felt guilty about what they were doing. He redeemed himself a little bit at the end. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Jun 14, 2019 |
This was the book I needed. After several disappointing reads in a row, I picked up Sarah MacLean’s newest release, cracked the cover, and fell into a wonderful world. Something about MacLean’s writing just works for me. Her prose instantly grabs ahold of my brain and my heart, and I’m sucked into the pages of her novels. The flow of her words just speaks to me and carries me away. Her characters are fantastic. Felicity is spunky, feisty, intelligent, and witty. She challenges Devil at every turn and I love the sparks between them. MacLean writes such incredible women - ones who may doubt themselves, but always take their futures into their own hands and aren’t afraid to take what they want - or at least fight for what they want even if they are afraid. They are empowered and it’s beautiful. The only bad thing about this novel is that it’s over. Now what am I going to read? ( )
  DGRachel | Apr 2, 2019 |
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Felicity Faircloth is clinging to the edges of respectability and she is tired of it. Deciding to show her former friends that she is just as good, if not better than them, she tells a little white lie and claims she is betrothed to the Duke of Marwick.
Devil has never been respectable and doesn't care. What he does care for is a childhood pact, one the Duke of Marwick is looking to break.
Felicity gets caught up in a decades old feud and Devil finds himself in a trap of his own making.

“You are too late for the duke,” she repeated, knowing, even as she spoke, that she must stop the words from coming. Except they were a runaway horse—loosed and free and wild. “Because I’ve already landed him.”

First in The Bareknuckle Bastards series, you will recognize Felicity from The Day of the Duchess but everything else is a fresh introduction to this world MacLean has created. The background that holds this series together is three bastard brothers, a girl they call their sister, and the monster father that tried to pit them against each other. There is a flashback to show how Devil (Devon) gets together with his brothers and father but any other past happenings are either inner monologue from Devil or some reminiscing/discussion with Whit (Beast), Ewan (Duke of Marwick), and Dahlia (Grace). I actually would have preferred more flashback scenes of them together as children to get a better feel for their relationships and what happened to them as children. I imagine since this is a series, the author wants to keep some mystery for the other characters and events and thus why we get more of an outline in this one, but it did hurt the emotional impact of Devil's background.

No heirs was the rule. The only rule.

The plot is Devil threatening the Duke of Marwick to stop his search for a wife, which Marwick is only doing to get Devil and Whit to come out of the shadows and have them tell or reveal where Grace is. It is kept a bit shady but apparently Marwick threatened or is a danger to Grace. There is talk about how the children made a pact to never let their father win and they would never give him the heirs he was so desperate for to continue his line. By taking the title of Marwick, Ewan fought "for" his father and the other kids ran away to save themselves. There is talk about Grace and Ewan loving each other, more than a brother sister relationship Devil and Whit seem to have with her, but Devil seems to think he must keep Grace away from Ewan for her safety. Felicity walks into their battle when she declares to be betrothed to Marwick, giving Marwick more validity that he is willing to get married and heirs if they don't tell him where Grace is. Devil decides to create a plan where he seduces Felicity and get her to break the betrothal, showing Ewan he will always be there to ruin his plans.

He took a step away from her, rubbing the back of one hand over his lips. He shook his head. “Christ. You’ll burn me down.”

Devil inevitably finds himself captivated by Felicity and falling in love with her but incessantly thinking he is not good enough for her. There is a lot of talk about how Devil is dark, from the darkness, dwells in the darkness, etc. but, as with a majority of the story, it is a lot of telling and not showing. Our couple meets up right away in the story and I kind of missed getting to know them outside of their developing relationship. Felicity was the stronger character for me and I liked her emerging, building of confidence, and self-actualization but her relationship with her family felt a bit whiffed on and she pretty much is all in with Devil right away. Devil begins to feel a bit silly and repetitive with his supposed darkness, lusting, and "I'm not good enough for her." They have fun banter in the beginning but I just never felt like I "knew" them and therefore their chemistry was lacking for me.

It was him. Here. In her bedchamber. As though it were perfectly normal.

The set-up with MacLean’s characters and relationships is promising but the emotional impact, possibly because of a shallow look at their childhood here, was not really there. There is a little bit of cheese factor too, with the supposed darkness of Devil and how he and his brother run their rookery. Devil’s brother "Beast" does a lot, and I mean a lot, of grunting, it becomes rather silly after a while but he seems interesting with his underground fighting. Grace probably shined the most with her personality, ownership of a for women bordello, and only one to point out that holding onto a pact made in childhood may not be completely mature in adulthood; I do find myself very curious about her and Ewan's relationship. Overall, this started off as fun escapism with the good girl wanting to go rogue and the Devil encouraging her but losing his thought to be nonexistent heart. As it went on though, it never developed the depth and emotion I look for and ended up feeling like window dressing with not a lot to back up the pretty cover.

“You should not have come.”
She swallowed, refusing to let him win. “Why not?”
“Because it is dangerous,” he said quietly, sending a shiver of belief through her. “Because the rookeries are no place for pretty girls with a breathless anticipation of adventure.”

( )
  WhiskeyintheJar | Feb 14, 2019 |
Youtube Review
We open by meeting Felicity Faircloth who you might remember from book 3 in Scandal and Scoundrel series. Don't worry though you really don't need the backstory for this one, but you will finish it and want to go back to those it's pretty arbitrary details overall.

Either way I love the fact that this world ties into my favorite series by MacLean and we follow quite possibly the most interesting wallflower I've ever met. Felicity is full of independence, surprises and no fear of her emotions when comes down to getting what she wants. Devil is the king of the underground and running ice... Well more than ice but really that's the key point. We follow Felicity and Devil as they both try to play each other for different means. I'll leave the plot at that.

Let's talk about the writing and how amazing this book is. I have read 7 of her books to date and this one is my favorite. The world building was incredible, I could see it all so vividly. I can't wait to see the rest of this world!

This is a must read for any of my romance friends 5/5 stars go pick this up! ( )
  rabidgummibear | Nov 28, 2018 |
I adore Felicity Faircloth.

MacLean has amazing skill with dialogue and here it is on full display, from the witty to the absolutely heartbreaking. I am fairly salivating for Whit's and Grace's stories.

( )
  BillieBook | Nov 20, 2018 |
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"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"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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