Lady Henrietta Sedley has declared her twenty-ninth year the Year of Hattie. She has a plan for her own renaissance from old maid spinster/virgin to deflowered business woman, in charge of running her father’s shipping business. When she finds a beautiful man tied up in her carriage, the Year of Hattie starts to go awry. Well, with the exception of the deflowering plan. that seems to be right on track. Unfortunately, after finding Beast in her carriage his revenge plan gets set in motion and when it butts heads with the Year of Hattie? Well, a new plan needs to be made.
I have never read a Sarah Maclean historical romance, but this one definitely got put on my radar by a bunch of book reviewers who raved, with good reason about how different these characters were and how refreshing that change made to the story. Hattie is a modern woman in every way except the time she’s living in. In today’s world she’d have been the President of the boardroom. Smart, witty, and able to out think the men working around her. She was also a healthy size. As with the women of today, she was aware that her size and intelligence made her unattractive to men of her time. Her fortune made her more attractive, but her father’s dukedom was not inherited but “gifted” for good services and dies when he does. So the “Lady” in her title is more a courtesy than an actuality.
“Beast” or Whit, as he’s really named, is an actual son of a Duke, albeit one born on the wrong side of the bed. After a traumatic childhood living on the streets, he and his brother “Devil”, from the first novel, have created their own kingdom in Covent Garden, the slums of London. When he finds himself tied up in Hattie’s carriage he must find revenge upon the person who put him there and he thinks Hattie will lead him to that person. This begins their game of cat and mouse, and as that game plays out their attraction to each other hampers each others plans but it’s their wit and intelligence that seals their fates.
I can’t finish this review without mentioning Hattie’s friend Nora. She’s the daughter of a Duke, likes to where men’s clothing and is the sidekick and sometimes instigator of Hattie’s adventures. There is a hinted at romance between she and Whit’s female Man at Arms. I loved that this queer romance was introduced and hope that they get their own story or novella. She’s a hoot and I think her story would be fascinating!
I love a good historical romance, especially one that veers away from established trope’s for this genre. Hattie is someone that a woman in any age can identify. She has self doubts about her looks and struggles to excel based upon her own skills and not her feminine genitalia. Unfortunately it takes a special man to overlook the more’s of the time they live in. Whit is just that man and their story is told in a riveting way in Brazen and the Beast. By the way, I didn’t read the first novel before picking this one up and whereas I’m going to go get it immediately, I didn’t miss out on any key plot lines without having read that novel first. Fear not! Read on historical lovers!
Opinions around the Blogosphere
“As with all of the Sarah MacLean books I’ve read, this one gets stunning marks from me. Whit and Hattie are wondrous. I love their world. ” Snark and Squee
“I really enjoyed their banter and there are some very sexy scenes between them. Hattie managed to accomplish all her goals in the end, bravo for her. She did it all with class and sass!” Past Midnight
Click this link to purchase!* Brazen and the Beast: The Bareknuckle Bastards Book II
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