Avon. (Hell’s Belles, Bk. 3). Aug. 2023. 416p. ISBN 9780063056794. pap. $9.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
The third entry in MacLean’s vibrant historical “Hell’s Belles” series (following Heartbreaker) is exciting and danger-filled—and not just because Lady Imogen is an expert at explosives. It is because the threat level against the Belles group of avenging women has risen to the point that their network, and Imogen in particular, is in mortal danger. The Belles are getting too close to taking down the most powerful men in the realm, and those men are used to winning. With the help of Thomas Peck, a detective of high honor and longstanding interest in Imogen, she and her sisterhood meet threat with cunning and face danger with determination. The story flows quickly once the threads are in place, as MacLean excels in crafting characters that know who they are and where they stand. Adding to the pleasures are the abiding friendships that make the story and the found family that spreads across London.
VERDICT It may be historical romance, but the throughline is as modern as today’s headlines. Series readers will be delighted, but those new to the run really should start at the beginning to enjoy how deftly MacLean is building these relationships.
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