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About the Book

Wicked and the Wallflower
by Sarah MacLean

The Bareknuckle Bastards Series, Book One

Historical Romance

Avon Books

Publication Date
June 19, 2018



When a man known only as Devil finds his way into her bedchamber and offers her his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees. She might be a spinster, but she’s seen love in action and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that her future husband will love her beyond reason—even if it means she must make a deal with a man more dangerous than she could imagine.

Bastard son of a duke, and king of London’s darkest corners, Devil has made a lifetime of wielding power and seizing opportunity, and Felicity Faircloth is everything he needs to exact a perfect revenge. All he has to do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy. If the girl is ruined in the process, so be it.

Except there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, and soon it’s Devil who is trapped…along with his heart.



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Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1)Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cracking open book one of a new historical romance series is a little like Heaven for me. Having one peppered with subtle references to places, events, and characters that I recognize from previous series'(The Scandal & Scoundrel Series and The Rules of Scoundrels Series), as I did with this book, makes me feel as if I’ve found little hidden treasures while reading. If you haven’t read them, don’t worry. It’s intended to stand on its own. Though, I’m sure our Fair Felicity’s story may make you want to jump right to The Day of the Duchess, as this book does a great job of whetting your appetite for that tale. (And, ooo, it’s so good.)


When you are ignored by the stars, you wonder if you might ever burn bright.


Felicity Faircloth is without marriage prospects and has been shunned by the people she once called friends. A wallflower. Never-the-less, her family is persistent in their pursuit of the most wealthy, titled, and eligible bachelor they can find for her. While true that would bring her acceptance with the ton, which she wants more than anything, at twenty-seven, she isn’t naive about what marriage can be. She also wants passion. Moth to a flame.

Felicity’s age, affinity for lockpicking—an unusual skill for a Lady, to be sure—and her sense of adventure make her a unique and interesting character. And for all she knows her mind, she still has much to learn about life outside the bubble in which she has been living. Giving her room to grow over the course of the novel.


He could see the beginning of her and the end of her. And in her, he saw something he had never allowed himself to see.


They call him Devil. One of the infamous Bareknuckle Bastards. Ruler of the rookery. Wicked.
Revenge is his focus on the night when he is drawn to distraction by Felicity. When Devil learns of her outlandish fib in front of all of the ton, she becomes the perfect pawn in his web of lies.

A devastating backstory made me root for Devil from the start, though his relationship with his siblings was also something I found myself ambivalent to at times. I yearned for more on-page history to help me feel more of their connection and what he was going through in the present.

The chemistry he had with Felicity was electric from the beginning, full of all of the push/pull swoony romance I have come to expect from Sarah MacLean. Felicity and Devil were the perfect yin and yang.

I’ll be honest and say that this one was difficult for me to rate and review. While I adored some aspects, others were a detractor. The first half of this novel read slowly for me, which I think was due to the heavy use of introspection and internal dialogue used in the first half. Once I hit the second half, though, the balance evened out which picked up the pace, and I was hooked. If you love strong female characters, as I do, you will love these. Felicity, Gracie, and Nik were all superb in that respect. Then there are Devil’s siblings; Whit and Gracie had quirks that made me smile everytime they entered a scene. With the future books in the series based around them and the continuing family dynamic, I’m all the more excited for the next books in the series.




The Past


The three were woven together long before they were aware, strands of spun, silken steel that could not be separated—not even when their fate insisted upon it.

Brothers, born on the same day, in the same hour, at the same minute to different women. The high-priced courtesan. The seamstress. The soldier’s widow. Born on the same day, in the same hour, at the same minute to the same man.

The duke, their father, whose arrogance and cruelty fate would punish without hesitation, stealing from him the only thing he wanted that his money and power could not buy—an heir.

It is the Ides of March the seers warn of, with its promise of betrayal and vengeance, of shifting fortune and inalienable providence. But for this sire—who was never more than that, never close to father—it was the Ides of June that would be his ruin.

Because on that same day, in that same hour, at that same minute, there was a fourth child, born to a fourth woman. To a duchess. And it was this birth—the birth all the world thought legitimate—that the duke attended, even as he knew the son who was to be his heir in name and fortune and future was not his own and still, somehow, was his only hope.

Except she was a daughter.

And with her first breath, she thieved future from them all, as powerful in her infancy as she would become in her womanhood. But hers is a story for another time.

This story begins with the boys.



To celebrate the release of WICKED AND THE WALLFLOWER by Sarah MacLean, we’re giving away two $10 Amazon gift cards!



GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open internationally. Two winners will each receive a $10 Amazon gift card.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 6/29/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Pure Textuality PR is responsible for the prize and will send the prizes out to the winners directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted. 





New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller SARAH MACLEAN is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical romance from the Romance Writers of America.

Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. She is the author of a monthly column celebrating the best of the genre for the Washington Post. Her advocacy for romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com’s “Sheroes” list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to call her “gracefully furious.”

A graduate of Smith College & Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

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