I will admit to having read this series out of order, and you know what? I’m not sorry! If you’re new to this blog, you should know I love a good wallflower historical romance. Brazen and The Beast by Sarah MacLean satisfied my wallflower historical romance craving in all the juicy, delectable ways possible.
Harriet (Hattie) Sedley is a lady only because of her father’s success in his shipping business. She perches delightfully at the precipice of clean respectability and dirty mercantilism. It was Hattie’s unforgiving introduction that appealed to me instantly. We discover Hattie on the verge of the Year of Hattie, an endeavor she has constructed to take control of a life that is inevitably pulling out of her grasp. Our first glimpse of her is when she discovers the body of a man tied up in her carriage. The carriage she’s going to use to slip off to a brothel for ladies where she expects to rid herself of her cumbersome virginity.
I mean really –
Could MacLean nail us directly between the eyes with any greater literary precision?
Alongside Hattie is her best friend, Nora, a competent racer of vehicles of all kinds, and confidante to Hattie’s more dangerous ideas for the Year of Hattie. The combination of these characters sparks an instant bond between reader and narrative as the reader can feel what it is to be on the brink of a wild girl’s night out and witness it go completely, horribly wrong.
But it wasn’t just Hattie that had me hanging on to this story. The hero, Saviour Whittington, was deeper than the diving end of a Olympic-sized pool. The man just kept going, his character comprised of all these minute layers that when peeled back revealed the heart of a gentle giant who had never been given the chance to let his love grow.
**Cue tiny, weeping violins!**
So here you have this indomitable woman, hellbent on having her own life her way, and a man scared to death to love again.
And she’s a wallflower!
While this wallflower historical romance sparked all of the usual wallflower romance tropes, it was so much better because Hattie never wallowed in her wallflower-ness. She accepted it and moved forward, going for what she wanted even when she expressed insecurities about her body. But that was it. Simple insecurities. She wasn’t dramatically maudlin about it. She just accepted the fact she didn’t look like society’s expectation of beauty.
Hattie was just herself, and it was beautiful.
I will now go back and read the first book in the series, Wicked and the Wallflower, before the third book, Daring and the Duke, releases on June 30, 2020.
Sarah MacLean is a New York City-based author of historical romance, and she’s pretty rad. I follow her on Instagram for the laughs, the books, and the camaraderie.
Have you read Sarah MacLean? What is your favorite book from her?
Tell us in the comments – but please, no spoilers!