Back to fiction and back to an old favourite for this week’s BotW. If you’ve been around here any length of time you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Sarah MacLean – who writes fun, feminist and sexy historical romances. And – full disclosure – I’m in her internet book club and members of the UK branch met up last week (in Covent Garden) for lunch and chatter with the lady herself. I got so many book recommendations and it’s going to be so expensive. But this was my favourite book I finished last week, so it’s only fair it gets a write up here really, even if it isn’t that long since I reviewed Day of the Duchess. Sorry, not sorry.
Brazen and the Beast is the second in the Bareknuckle Bastards series. Your heroine is Hattie, the daughter of a shippng magnate who has decided that this is going to be her year – in which she takes control of the family business, earns her own fortune and basically live life the way that she wants to. This means she needs to render herself unmarriagable first. But her plans for the Year of Hattie are nearly derailed before they’ve even got started when she finds an unconscious man tied up in her carriage. The man in question is Whit – Beast – who along with his brother is one of the ruling powers in Covent Garden. He wants revenge on the people who attacked him and soon they’re rivals. Is there any way of reconciling their plans to give them a satisfactory solution?
Of course there is. But it’s one hell of a ride. Sarah MacLean has always written strong female characters, but Hattie is the strongest yet – she knows exactly what she wants from her life, she’s got a plan for how she’s going to get it – and she doesn’t want it it if she’s only getting it as a gift from someone else. Basically it’s all about female agency and empowerment, but set in Covent Garden in – and may have you wanting to punch the air at times. The hero is the biggest, toughest and fiercest man – except when it comes to the people that he cares about. And it’s very, very satisfying to see them sparring together. The dialogue is zippy and witty and snarky where it needs to be.
I’ve been disappointed by some old favourite authors recently, but this didn’t let me down, even though it had the weight of expectation behind it. The only downside is that I had to buy the UK edition – so that I had it in time for Sarah to sign it – and now it doesn’t match the rest of my set. And the UK cover just isn’t quite as fun as the American one – even if it does have the same colour accent.
My copy came from Amazon, but you should be able to order it fairly easily where ever you get your new books from. And it’s on Kindle and Kobo too. I’m off to figure out if I can justify getting the American edition as well. You can find previous reviews of MacLean books here, here, and here.