ROMANCE

Wicked and the Wallflower

Avon. (Bareknuckle Bastards, Bk. 1). Jul. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9780062692061. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062691972. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
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When spinster Lady Felicity Faircloth announces, in a fit of pique, that she is the Duke of Marwick's intended bride—and he goes along with it—she has no idea that she is playing into the hands of a man who wants nothing more than to ruin the Duke. Marwick is about to renege on a bargain he made with his siblings years ago, and Devil (aka Devon Culm), one of the powerful Bareknuckle Bastards, is out for revenge and intends to use Felicity to accomplish it. It's a perfect plan, but falling for Felicity wasn't in the cards. Set as Victoria's reign is just beginning, MacLean's stunning series opener spins a compelling tale rich with mythological and fairy-tale allusions and history (the ice trade and the "unpickable" Chubb lock are enthralling), taking readers on a tantalizing journey to the dark, criminal world of Covent Garden.
VERDICT An intrepid heroine who wants more than society offers makes a deal with the Devil that they just might live to enjoy. This intense, deliciously sensual tale of intrigue and deception begins a promising series. MacLean (The Day of the Duchess) lives in New York City.

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