This Chick Read: Daring and the Duke (The Bareknuckled Bastards #3) by Sarah MacLean

Grace Condry, along with her adopted brothers, lived on London’s streets as children after running away from their abusive father. They toughed it out, fighting for money and eventually becoming powerful on their own and as adults fight for a different cause. The betterment of their neighborhood. When Ewan, the Duke of Marwick terrorizes their home, the brothers band together to protect Grace, his one time love. They’ve never forgiven Ewan for his betrayal, but Grace never forgot their long ago love. Can she forgive Ewan for her broken heart?

I’ve really enjoyed this series about these bastard children of a Duke and the hardships they’ve overcome to build a life in one of the deadlier neighborhoods in London. The first two novels told the story of the brothers, and Grace only had a small part in those so I never felt I really got to know her. In Daring and the Duke we finally see the culmination of this hatred between the three brothers who were ripped apart while fighting for a Dukedom. They’ve hated Ewan pretty viciously so I didn’t really know what to think about this love interest for Grace and was really only mildly curious. I was intrigued with how Sarah MacLean would tell their story and make me care for a heroine who had always lived in the darkness.

Grace was not your typical regency heroine. She is a madame of a brothel where the roles are flipped. This is a place where gentile women can go to live out their fantasies choosing from a bevy of men. Kind of an interesting job for a heroine of a novel, right? The author did a good job of portraying her role in a female empowerment kind of way so that it felt different but not disreputable. Well, maybe only slightly. Who was this woman who wore pants, managed a brothel, and held a sword as well as a man? It turns out, she was a pretty interesting one! My question was, what would this Duke be like and how would he hold her interest?

Secrets were finally revealed about the truth behind Ewan’s role in their betrayal and it turns out he had a very good reason for his behavior when they were children. Don’t worry I won’t spoil the plot, but needless to say when Grace hear’s it she doesn’t find it difficult to forgive Ewan. How though, does a brothel owner and a Duke maintain a relationship? For me, that was the real conflict in this novel and one I would think would be a doozy! The author creates a very interesting and surprising resolution! Is it realistic? Nope! But, this is a historical romance so realism kind of gets thrown out the window.

I had never read a Sarah Maclean novel prior to reading this series and I have to say I was impressed. The characters are very non traditional and feel real because they weren’t a complete fantasy. Their situations didn’t feel as real, but like I said above you kind of have to let reality slide when you choose to read a historical romance. She created a great fantasy world and is an author I’d turn to when wanting to escape my own bit of reality.

Click this link to purchase!* Daring and the Duke: The Bareknuckle Bastards Book III

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Brazen and the Beast (The Bareknuckle Bastards #1) by Sarah MacLean

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

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate