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The Bareknuckle Bastards #2

Brazen and the Beast

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Romance (2019)
The Lady’s Plan

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly... until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.

The Bastard’s Proposal

When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure... on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires... for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power... and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything... including their hearts.

436 pages, ebook

First published July 30, 2019

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About the author

Sarah MacLean

30 books13k followers
New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller Sarah MacLean is the author of historical romance novels. Translated into more than twenty-five languages, the books that make up “The MacLeaniverse” are beloved by readers worldwide.

In addition to her novels, Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place as a feminist text and a cultural bellwether. A columnist for the New York Times, the Washington Post and Bustle, she is the co-host of the weekly romance podcast, Fated Mates. Her work in support of romance and those who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com's Sheroes list and led Entertainment Weekly to call her "the elegantly fuming, utterly intoxicating queen of historical romance."

Sarah is a graduate of Smith College & Harvard University. She lives in New York City.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,938 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah MacLean.
Author 30 books13k followers
May 14, 2019
This was not a woman who took tea. This was a woman who took the sun.

I know we're not supposed to play favorites. I know I'm supposed to love all my books equally. But I really really love this one, you guys. It's so close to my heart.

An incomplete list of the reasons why:

* Hattie: A smart, savvy, curvy girl with a talent for knots, who refuses to give up on her dreams simply because the whole world tells her she can't have them. She's got a five point plan to claim herself, her business, and her future.

* A grunty Beast of a hero, who is both a bareknuckle bruiser and a throwing-knife wielding bookworm, and who can't seem to make himself get out of her way. In fact, he very much wants to stay in her way.

* Hattie's best friend, Nora, who drives carriages recklessly...and is ride-or-die for her bestie.

* Devil & Felicity, living their happily ever after.

* Sesily Talbot, still hanging around The Singing Sparrow, driving her American wild.

Truthfully, Hattie & Whit love bantering almost as much as they love kissing...which they love almost as much as they end up loving each other. And I hope as much as you'll love them, too!

Brazen & the Beast is coming July 30th to bookstores everywhere...I hope you'll add the book to your TBR shelf here at Goodreads, and preorder now at:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2D4RLx3
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2GbmPNF
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2YYRFAl
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2WYNnqH
Indiebound: http://bit.ly/2CZsuV1
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,052 reviews49.2k followers
January 17, 2022
i'm starting to think maybe sarah maclean's historicals just aren't for me.

this one was kind of promising in the premise. i like a guy from the wrong side of the tracks meets spinster-who's- looking- to- fuck sort of tale. but the execution wasn't my cup of tea. i think my main issues were the pacing and the heroine's insecurities.

pacing was... odd. there was the premise and promise of a raunchy hook up that didn't happen until waaaaay into the book. and there wasn't romance in the meantime to make up for it. just a loooot of talking about boats and shipping companies and how the heroine wanted to be in charge but she can't because woman = no brain.

and the insecurities? ~throwing tomatoes~

you mean to tell me that a woman who has accepted spinsterhood and wants to be a business bitch is also unbelieving that a man could love her and her massive jugs? c'mon now. at the beginning of the story we get the vibe that she is confident and empowered and intelligent. but the 3 or 4 sexual encounters she has leading up to the poppin of the pussy, she's like "oh i don't think he likes me i'm forcing him to nibble on my nubbin." girl. get it together.

anyway there's oooooone maclean i still want to read but after that i think we shall part ways.
Profile Image for Anovelqueen .
294 reviews660 followers
July 13, 2019
****4.5 STARS****

What do you get when you cross a tall, dark, handsome and wealthy king of the underworld with a no nonsense and spirited heroine....one hell of a novel!!!

This has to be my favorite book this year. It had everything including the alpha anti-hero. Saviour Whittington is the bastard son of a duke and has had to drag himself from the savage streets of London. But he is a survivor and becomes known as the Beast because of his fighting ability and protectiveness over those he cares about. The man wears a bandolier of knives....I don’t know what else to say about him except he is right up there with my favorite Lisa Kleypas’ hero boyfriends.

Hattie is a force to be reckoned with as she sets out to become an independent woman. After all she is 29, unmarried and practically running her father’s shipping business. But of course she lives in a time when women are generally ignored and treated like second class. She’s has the ability, why can’t she have it all?

Craftily written...I read it in one sitting....I couldn’t put it down. I hated for the story to end. I loved the interaction between Whit and Hattie. Whit is a man of few words and what alpha man doesn’t grunt? Lol (Example, any Kristen Ashley Book). It should definitely be one to read. You will not be disappointed.
Profile Image for romancelibrary.
1,088 reviews468 followers
November 4, 2019
I received an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


What a colossal waste of time. I fear Brazen and the Beast marks the conclusion of my relationship with Sarah MacLean. It will take a LOT for me to ever read a new Sarah MacLean release.

The standard for historical romance has fallen so much that it's now deeply rooted in the earth, with no hope of it ever showing its face again. I cannot for the life of me understand how or why this series is so well-loved. I can't. It defies logic, just like the entire fucking plot of Brazen and the Beast.

If you've read Wicked and the Wallflower, then you've already read half of Brazen and the Beast. There's no logic to the storyline — the whole revenge and betrayal plot is copied exactly from the first book. In fact, Devil himself muses over how he and Whit found themselves in the exact same situation. Speaking of things that defy logic, Whit's solution for protecting Hattie and his arguments for the terrible first sex scene make NO SENSE. Like its predecessor, 15% of this book consists of Whit growling, grunting, saying "Christ," and moping around like a loser. I suppose it's a family trait to communicate via growls, grunts, and bad poetry. I did a word count and Whit says "Christ" 38 fucking times. I'm sure Christ himself is annoyed at this point.

Whit is supposedly a terrifying man who goes by the nickname 'Beast.' Yet, this man spouts bad poetry to the heroine every single time he sees her. His main method of communication is growling and grunting and guess what? The heroine understands his growls and grunts after one week of knowing him.

Hattie is a clever businesswoman — a fact that is emphasized on every other page. I fucking get it. She's a "clever businesswoman" who turns into a silly girl when it comes to Whit. She easily forgets about her rivalry and her goals when he kisses her. She constantly goes back to her "body" plan when Whit is around, because seeeeex, amiright? *wink wink* *nudge nudge* She also reminds us about her "body" plan in every chapter, just in case we forgot about it! Hattie is another 21st century woman trapped in a historical romance heroine, just like the plethora of aristocratic businesswomen that are now prevalent in this genre. But Sarah MacLean wins some points here because Hattie's background actually kind of fits with her aspirations — she wasn't born an aristocrat and actually grew up on the docks and learned from father's business acumen. So her aspirations make sense, unlike heroines in other historicals (looking specifically at Kelly Bowen's latest series). However...what's the point of Hattie being a businesswoman based on her own merits if Whit ends up buying everything for her? And what was her original plan of inheriting the business if Whit hadn't come along? Losing her virginity was the plan? Makes. No. Sense.

All of this comes down to one point: Sarah MacLean cannot write dark romance. It comes across as silly, ridiculous, and cheesy. She's trying too hard to be Kerrigan Byrne. Her fragmented and choppy sentence structure is so damn overused. There is really just one part of this book I liked: the ballroom scene — because that's what MacLean is good at. But 99% of this book is just ridiculous, cheesy, and boring.

The ending is also rushed and so damn ridiculous. A random character appeared, with no explanation whatsoever. This whole Grace and Ewan thing leaves a terrible taste in my mouth. I usually love anti heroes, but Ewan's obsession is so toxic and problematic. He's willing to hurt innocent people, even attempt to murder his brothers. Thank u, next.

Anyway. I'm done ranting. I'm done with Sarah MacLean.

P.S. For those who are looking for newly published historical romances that are actually good, try indie authors or authors who work with small publishers. Or, perhaps, give some debut authors a try.
Profile Image for Esther .
867 reviews203 followers
Shelved as 'not-for-me'
August 19, 2019
I think SM and I are done.

We are parting ways.
This is a modern, with a push towards inserting political and culture view points, dressed as a historical romance (this stuff is not historically accurate or believable for the time period). In my humble opinion. And I found the dialogue/writing style to be repetitive, silly, unbelievable and off. I think that about covers it.

So it was fun while it lasted SM but unfortunately we need to part ways.
Profile Image for JenReadsRomance.
295 reviews1,485 followers
April 26, 2019
Obviously, I host Fated Mates with Sarah, so I'm hardly an impartial reader. BUT. BUT. BUT.

This book is fucking great. I loved everything about it, especially Hattie. Her determination to prove herself worthy of inheriting her father's company even though she's a woman is such a great plot arc. And even though Whit respects her dream, I loved that she does not wait around for him to give her permission to do what she thought was right.

Whit is a delightful hero. I am ALL ABOUT a romance hero who grunts more than he talks, unless they're in bed. This should be some sort of romance coefficient: all of a sudden they're prolific dirty talkers in bed and I am HERE FOR IT.

I loved Wicked & the Wallflower, but I like this one better. It gets off to strong start and never really lets up. Super hot, super feminist, super awesome.
Profile Image for Holly.
1,430 reviews986 followers
August 17, 2019
Well, that was better than the first book (I still cringe at the mention of her terrible name, Felicity Faircloth) but it wasn’t as good as I hoped either. Hattie was a very sympathetic character up until . Whit never really grew on me because I already knew his shared history with Devil from the previous book and there was no real added depth in this book. Now Nora, that’s a book I want to read. And possibly Ewan’s, which is the next one to come out apparently.
Profile Image for preoccupiedbybooks.
458 reviews1,028 followers
July 27, 2020
A fun, sexy historical romance full of strong, adventurous women, brooding/grunting men and some great banter!

Take one 29 year old woman with a plan to take control of her life, and a grunting hero, who both reads books and throws knives, who ends up unconscious in her carriage, and the year of Hattie starts becoming complicated...

The second book in the 'Bareknuckle Bastards' series was entertaining and fun, but quite silly and cheesy! I loved the first half of the book, and I loved Hattie, the female lead. Brazen and the Beast started off with a bang, and reeled me in quick because of Hattie! But it became quite repetitive, almost rehashing the plot of the first book?!

I loved Hattie, she was a curvy, strong, smart woman, who was following her dreams and taking control of her life in a male dominated time. She was determined, opinionated and independent. She had insecurities over her weight, which was relatable.
I liked Beast (Whit), he was intense, clever, hot and protective, but I just didn't buy him as a villain! He was also quite similar to Devil, in the first book. I mean I liked him, and it was hard not to, after hearing about his past!

Hattie and Beast had some great banter, chemistry, sexual tension, and some very steamy scenes! They made a good couple actually.
The side characters were very likable, especially Nora! I adored that carriage racing woman, and her scenes with a certain Covent Garden character! I would love to read a story about them!

The plot however...it lacked any extra depth or insight regarding the Ewan storyline, and you could have read it without reading Wicked and the Wallflower. It felt repetitive. I also disliked that Hattie's family, particularly her brother Augie faced no retribution!

I liked the book fine, but it wasn't as good as I hoped it would be. It took me a fair few days to read, what was supposed to be a quick read! Looking at the reviews, maybe I should look up some of this author's older books? I will probably read the third book Daring and the Duke, since the whole series seems to be building up for that meeting. But, also, the more I read about Ewan, the more he seemed to be an obsessive stalker with murderous tendencies? I'm not sure he can be redeemed? Hopefully I will be proved wrong!

Anyway this was still a cute, sexy read, and I enjoyed the characters! ⚓️ ⚓️ ⚓️
Profile Image for Addie H.
493 reviews236 followers
August 18, 2020
On Kindle sale today 11th Aug 2020 for USD 2.99.

Tropes: Work Relationship-ish, Spinster/Wallflower, Forbidden Love, Scar (him), Unstarched (him)


- “No man has ever gone up against the Bastards and survived.”
There might have been a time when she would have heeded that warning. But Hattie found she lacked the patience for warnings just then. What was there to lose? He’d already taken it all.
“Then it is time for a woman to do so.”


The women in this series are fierce, way more admirable than the men who carries a lot of baggage.

Whit/Beast is at times infuriating, he is almost annoyingly non-verbal, and makes decision on her behalf. But it comes from a “good” place, and he is also so drawn and bowled over by her I will choose to ignore it.

Henrietta/Hattie is tough as nails, funny, wickedly smart, and way too good for him.

I was thoroughly entertained.

- Hattie: “You’re quite rude, you know.”
He resisted the unwelcome instinct to gape. “I’ve been knocked out and tied up in a strange carriage.”
“Yes, but you must admit the company is diverting, no?” She smiled, the dimple flashing in her right cheek impossible to ignore.

- Whit: "I’ve known you for less than a day and during the time I was not unconscious, you were frequenting a brothel and threatening to knife a pair of Garden criminals.”

- She met his gaze. “I shouldn’t have said what I said about you. I am sorry.”
He wasn’t about to allow that. “You called me handsome. You cannot take that back.”
“What would be the point? It’s empirical.”

- Whit:“There are many things you do not know about me.”
“If only there were some way you could tell me such things. Some kind of verbal communication you might attempt. Turning all your growls and grunts into discernible words. A spoken language of some kind, complete with meaning.”


- “I don’t wish to be a dowry.” She looked to him. “I do not wish to be commodified. I wish to be mine. To choose for myself.”

- This woman loved her business, just as Whit loved his. She loved the Docklands just as Whit loved the Garden. They were a match.

- Three weeks earlier, Hattie had been planning one night at a brothel and now she was considering how she might tempt a man into taking her as mistress. Into letting her take him as mistress.

- “You shouldn’t be here.”
She didn’t miss a beat. “I came for my business.”
Excitement thrummed through him. She was fucking glorious.


- “Sarita told me your topcoat is embroidered in gold.”
Whit snapped his attention to Devil, horrified. “It is not.”
Devil grinned. “But you’re wearing a topcoat, which has no place in the Garden, so—clearly we are trying to impress.”
“I should like to impress my fist upon your face.”

- “You’re slouching.”
Hattie: “I’m too tall.”
“Nonsense,” Nora said. “You’re the perfect height. Everyone loves an Amazon.”
Hattie slid her a look. “No one loves an Amazon.”
“Seems like Mr. Whittington doesn’t have much of an aversion to them.” Nora grinned. “Especially since he’s here for you.”


- She opened her eyes again, finding him there, so close, watching her. Looking at her. Seeing her. When was the last time someone had seen Hattie? She’d spent a lifetime becoming so good at hiding, she’d never be seen. But this man—he saw her. And she found she hated it as much as she liked it.

- He put the pencil to his tongue, licking the nib before setting it to the little oval paper.
“It’s a bit late for claiming your waltz, don’t you—”
But he wasn’t claiming the waltz. He wrote his name across the whole card, claiming all of it. Claiming all of her, this woman who had rescued him, in one bold, dark scrawl. Beast.

- And, like that, he was coming for her, all long strides and perfect muscles, and his trousers not even fully buttoned, stalking her backward across the room, all predatory grace, until she came to her senses and realized she did not want to escape. She stopped.
Wonderfully, he didn’t.
He barely stopped when he reached her, knocking the cap from her head, taking her face in his hands, dipping down to kiss her without hesitation, his lips firm and impossibly soft, stealing her gasp as he tilted her chin up and took her lips, his tongue coming out to stroke along her top lip, coaxing her open with the promise of it until she was on her toes, meeting him, aching for him.

- “I want you to remember it well.”
She reached up to him, sliding her hands into his hair, holding his eyes. “I shall. How could I forget this? The way you look at me? Like I’m . . .” Beautiful. Perfect. “. . . Like I’m precious.”
He swore and kissed her, his tongue stroking against hers, slow and deep before he pulled back and pressed his forehead to hers.
“You are precious, Hattie. More precious than you know.”



- He pressed a kiss to her shoulder. “I do not deserve you.”
She smiled at the words. “I think you can agree that I am almost as much trouble as I am delight.”


4.5 stars
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,861 reviews5,637 followers
September 10, 2019
Brazen and the Beast was a solid historical romance with some pacing issues and other small problems that just knocked it down from "great" to "good."

I think I liked Brazen and the Beast slightly less than Wicked and the Wallflower, which seems to be a bit against the grain from my fellow reviewers. The ideas were all there, but it took me about a week to get through it, which isn't the best sign for me.

I really liked how Sarah MacLean made an effort to include a diverse cast of characters, including some queer representation. I also liked the general idea of the story, which had an interesting plot line. But all of those good things weren't quite enough.

My problems stemmed from the fact that I found the story to be quite repetitive. I started "Brazen and the Beast" right after "Wicked and the Wallflower," and so much of the plot line is rehashed in the second book that it was tiring to read. For example, even though Haddie was the kind of character I could get behind, we didn't have to hear about how smart and what a good business woman she was on practically every page!

Whit was on and off with their romance, and it got to be too much. I think the book could have been edited down to be a lot tighter and more compelling.

Some great ideas, and some not as good execution, but I'm still excited for the third book in the series!

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

Profile Image for Lacey (laceybooklovers).
2,019 reviews10.1k followers
July 31, 2019
I really, really wish I didn’t struggle with this series like I do. Sarah MacLean is one of my favorite historical romance authors (she gave us the Rules of Scoundrels series, which I worship), but the Bareknuckle Bastards series just doesn’t seem to be working for me. It’s not BAD, but it’s not that great either. I found myself bored more than anything with Brazen and the Beast, which was the same issue I had with book one, Wicked and the Wallflower. The plot moved too slowly that I had to skim parts of the book. The only saving grace to this book was Hattie, but even she wasn’t enough to make me love this one.

Henrietta “Hattie” Sedley decides to make her 29th birthday the start of “The Year of Hattie,” in which she claims control of her life in terms of fortune, business, home, and future. I LOVED Hattie in the first half of this book. She was an awesome, head-strong woman who took charge of her life and didn’t look back. Unfortunately, one major bump in the road to The Year of Hattie is Whit, the second half of the Bareknuckle Bastards and co-ruler of the darker side of London. He sees Hattie and wants her, though he thinks he’s not good enough for her. What he will help her out with is her body – he’s determined to show her all the carnal pleasures of life, but nothing more.

The first half of this book went great – I was excited for Hattie, excited to see how she’d manage her new life with the addition of Whit. She is very much an endearing, relatable heroine. The second half of the book however, went a little downhill for me. The plot felt like it stalled – Hattie claiming her father’s business didn’t go anywhere, Whit kept going on and on about not being good enough for Hattie and going hot and cold with her. The only thing that happened was more and more sex – which is great, but I also wanted to see more of The Year of Hattie besides her learning about her body.

So yeah, I struggle with this. I think by the end of the book I was reading it for the secondary characters more than anything. I liked Hattie but didn’t care for Whit. SM tried to make Whit (and his brother) seem dark, dangerous, and broody, and while he is broody, he’s just not the dangerous character she writes him out to be. SM’s writing is great, and I did enjoy seeing little snippets of past characters from the Scandal & Scoundrel series. I’m clinging onto this series for the couple in the third and final book – Grace and Ewan’s story. They have been teased and hyped throughout the series and I am PRAYING that it won’t disappoint!
Profile Image for b.andherbooks.
2,092 reviews926 followers
August 21, 2019
I official own three copies of Brazen and the Beast and sorry not sorry I'm keeping them all. I re-read my favorite book of 2019 via audio book, and let me tell you a grunting hero is a glorious thing to hear. Hattie and Whit are my ride or die couple and I'll be re-reading their story for years to come.

Sheer and utter perfection. I am here for #yearofhattie, Carrick bend knots used for sexy reasons (OMG JUST WAIT), and Beast, oh Beast.

MacLean has done it again and I cannot wait for everyone to read this book. Full review to come closer to the publication date.

Thank you to the publisher for the advanced reading copy!

A lady determined to raise the sails on her own future inadvertently brings an underworld king to his knees when she discovers him trussed up in her carriage on her birthday. Hattie wasn't looking for this man for her birthday, but he turns out to be her utterly perfect Beast. Watching this savvy business woman fight for her future and for the man she loves is an absolute delight, and a must read, especially for fans of other historical romance authors who bring together the ballroom and the smuggler's den, like Sophie Jordan or Julie Ann Long. If you haven't yet read Sarah MacLean, what are you waiting for?
Profile Image for Pepa.
938 reviews237 followers
October 11, 2019
Reseña completa: https://masromance.blogspot.com/2019/...

La novela ha empezado muy bien, Hattie me ha encantado, desde el principio hasta el final. Quizás me ha parecido que en algunos momentos perdonaba con facilidad. pero en el fondo, es tan dulce que resulta muy coherente con su personaje
Arrojada, valiente, independiente, decidida, inteligente, tan inteligente. Me encanta cuando las autoras se decantan por conquistar al maromo de turno, no por el físico sino por la mente de la protagonista. Y aquí es lo que pasa, además de que «Beast»le gustan rellenitas (otro aliciente)
Después admito que me he dejado llevar por lo que quería leer y lo que no estaba encontrando, ha habido un momento en el que he pensado que no me convencería.
Pero luego remonta y al final te cuadra todo.
Una novela en la que hay de todo, superaciones, aventuras y mucha, mucha tensión sexual, aunque cierta escena me cuesta creer, en serio ¿Saint Beast?
Beast es tan apasionado, tan encantador, un personaje arrollador, pero no vamos a negar que a mí me interesa el duque... que aparece poco pero está presente toda la novela
Hattie se come la historia, tan solo por conocerla, merece la pena leerla ;)
A veces me desespero lo lenta que leo en inglés, aunque este no es de los cortos
September 2, 2019
4 1/2 opposites attract sizzingly stars

Despite what the title suggests, this isn't really a beauty and the beast retelling -- it's more about what beauty means when viewed through other's lens(es). In this story, the person who is considered by most to be empirically beautiful is also known to be the "beast." Really. Like, that is what they actually call him. ;)

First, some brief context.... In this series, there are 4 people referred to as the "bastards." They all share two things in common: 1. they are illegitimate; and, 2. they were all born on the same exact date. The 3 men share a father: the Duke of Marwick, but they each have a different mother. Devil (as he is known in Covent Garden but whose real name is Devon) was born and immediately abandoned; Beast (known as "Whit" to those closest to him) was born to a woman in the employ of the man who sired him; and Ewan who was born to a courtesan. And then there is Grace (known as Dahlia to keep her identity safe), who was born to the duchess, but not sired by the duke. Devil's story is told in book 1; book 2 is Beast's story.

Saviour Whittington ("Whit") is one of the aptly moniker-ed Bareknuckle Bastards known simply as "Beast." The nickname is ironic in the sense that he is considered to be extremely attractive, but the name was earned in the boxing ring and because of the way he dispatches his enemies (mainly those who threaten those he cares about and/or who are in his employ). Devil and Beast preside over the Covent Gardens of London where they are both paternalistic and authoritarian in their oversight of this shadier area of the city. Devil is the silver-tongued leader; whereas, Beast is known to say as little as possible (most of the time, he grunts his assent or disapproval). Together, they run a successful smuggling business that provides jobs for many members of the Covent Gardens community. Lately, however, someone has been intercepting deliveries and endangering the men the brothers' employ, and Whit is determined to get to the bottom of it.

Lady Henrietta Sedley ("Hattie") is the daughter of an earl by appointment. Her father has run a prosperous, above-board shipping business and was awarded the title of earl for his lifetime. But he has been showing his age lately, and Hattie is desperate for him to recognize that she is the right person to assume the mantle, not her younger (and frivolous) brother Augie who has zero interest in the business anyway. Thus, she has declared her 29th year "The Year of Hattie" where she plans to execute a 5-point plan to get to where she wants to be in life.... And one of the first items on the list is to rid herself of her pesky virginity so that her father will stop insisting that she marry a titled gentleman and "settle down." As the story begins, Hattie is getting ready to venture to Covent Gardens in order to visit a brothel catering to women. Imagine her surprise when she discovers a large, unconscious, and bound man in her carriage... She quickly realizes that this must be the result of yet another of Augie's poor decisions, and she rouses the man with the intent of throwing him off her brother's scent by dumping him as far away from where her residence is that also happens to be on her way: Covent Gardens.

Whit is not unused to waking up while bound in rope, but he is shocked to discover that when he does, it is in the presence of a woman! And this woman is unlike any he has ever met before - she is actually irritated with HIM for being in HER carriage and interrupting her important plans for the evening. Her commentary is so outrageous that the man of few words can't help but engage in conversation to attempt to determine what she is about. When she heaves him out of the moving carriage, he is surprised to realize he has landed in his own turf and decides to use his network of watchers (mainly located on the rooftops) to locate Hattie's whereabouts. When he discovers that she is visiting the brothel, he is intrigued and can't help but pursue her, though he tells himself that it is only to discover who she is protecting as he knows she will lead him to the man that has been stealing his goods and injuring his people.

Hattie has requested a specific kind of man to help her execute phase 1 of her Year of Hattie plans: he must be of medium height and build; he must be affable; he must be charming; and he must know what he is doing. As she awaits the arrival of "Nelson," the man that the hostess told her would meet her qualifications, she is shocked to find the man she just upended out of her conveyance step through the door... and lock it behind him. He is not at all what she requested --- he is definitely of a large build and height; he is far from affable and charming; and he is much too beautiful. And she knows what he really wants: information about her brother so that he can seek his revenge which is one thing she cannot give him. After some "negotiation," they come to a mutual agreement wherein Whit will be the one to relieve her of her virtue and she will make reparations for what has been stolen from him. Obviously, this is strictly transactional relationship, and when it is completed, they each get something they want... right?

What I liked:
--- Whit/Beast is definitely swoon-worthy... yum
--- The story was interesting and took a different spin on some well-tread HR themes by combining a few of them and giving them some twists to make them feel new(ish)
--- Loved the ancillary characters - they made it more fun and more interesting, and they also brought out the main characters' personalities in their interactions
--- Steamy goodness

What I didn't like as much:
--- Hattie was an overall great h in terms of her determination and charming eccentricities - one thing that made me crazy was that she kept putting herself down physically and refused to believe that someone as attractive as Whit would want her - I get some insecurities would be present in this kind of situation, but it went on a little too long and felt a inconsistent with her otherwise confident attitude and behaviors
--- This book sets up the next one which will be Grace and Ewan's story, and after reading books 1 and 2 in this series and knowing what Ewan has done, I am not sure what the author can do to make me actually like him as an H

Overall, a really entertaining story with a spin on the beauty and the beast angle along with some action and sizzle!

Plot --- 4.5/5
Main Characters --- 4.5/5
Supporting Cast --- 4.5/5
Steam Level* --- 4/5
Violence --- nothing graphic
Language --- not egregious
POV --- 3rd

*Note that steam level is not a rating so much as a how hot was it: 0/5 - clean; 1/5 - mild; 2/5 - sensual but nothing descriptive; 3/5 - now we're getting somewhere; 4/5 - yes please! ; 5/5 - they did EVERYTHING in this one, y'all
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,405 reviews1,853 followers
December 16, 2019
MacLean sure has her work cut out for her for book three's couple. I truly don't see how that's ever going to work for me as a reader; and that's considering that I read the author's DAY OF THE DUCHESS where we had a similar need for redemption.. but. Wow. This one is a mountain vs that molehill. Curious to see how it'll go but not holding out much hope of enjoyment! At this point it's sheer curiosity pushing me on.

As for this book because, haha, this review should touch on something of the actual content of book two, I enjoyed so much of this, but didn't quite love it the way I did book one. Despite all the good elements, it also reminded me a bit of A SCOT IN THE DARK, book two of the Scandal and Scoundrel series, of which DAY IN THE DUCHESS was the third. Which was a book I liked but couldn't find myself loving.

That said, I loved the representation and character of Hattie and her desire to take life in her own hands but unfortunately Beast was a lot of what we saw in book one's hero, Devil, and as a result it just felt repetitive instead of offering something more unique. His desire to protect, his inherent goodness, was great, but. Just lots of buts. However, I'm also not entirely surprised. My history with MacLean is often this way. I just hope the final in this book doesn't put me through the same experience the final in her last series did.
Profile Image for Lid.
729 reviews350 followers
February 22, 2021
No puedo con mi vida. Sarah MacLean la puta ama de los romances históricos, de verdad ♥

Hattie y Bestia han podido conmigo porque son una bestialidad de personajes, muy grandes, muy fuertes, muy perfectos y muy intensos. A eso le suma los MOMENTAZOS y me da la vida. A destacar:

* Momentón alcoba que se marca Bestia que OH MY GOD.

* Diablo haciendo que Bestia piense

* Hattie siendo la mejor y demostrando todo su poder (momento muelle, BUAH, GRANDÍSIMA)

De verdad, es que Sarah MacLean siempre es un acierto para mi y con este libro me he vuelto a enganchar, a fangirlear y necesito más Sarah MacLean en mi vida porque nunca es suficiente. AHORA QUEDA EL SIGUIENTE QUE AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

Reseña: https://librosdelcielo.blogspot.com/2...
Profile Image for The Bookshelf Wars.
274 reviews9 followers
August 3, 2019
Flowery Prose and Plot Holes Abound

So I consider myself a fan of Sarah MacLean’s work; I’ve read all her books and I await each new release with breathless anticipation. Which is why it was strange how underwhelming this book was.

There’s a common misconception that the romance genre is all dashing heroes and overblown prose, and while it’s true that some of the genre definitely fits that description, I’ve usually held up MacLean’s work as an example of great romance novels. Her characters often undergo complex emotional journeys, the feelings aren’t all hearts and flowers, and there’s a fair bit of action too. Generally, her writing eschews the unfortunate stereotypes of the genre, but Brazen and the Beast plays right into them instead.

On the surface, it should have made for a unique story. An earl’s daughter, striving to inherit her father’s shipping business, clashes with a criminal lord of Covent Garden, who throws some serious kinks into her plans. Cue the snappy banter and sexual tension. Except Hattie talks about wanting and deserving her father’s business (a lot), but you don’t really see her striving for it until the end of the book, and even then she would totally throw all her aspirations away for a hot guy she’s only known a week.

And let’s examine the hot guy in question: Beast, one of the eponymous Bareknuckle Bastards. He’s billed as the brooding, silent type who would die for anyone under his charge. But if he’s so silent, why is he talking so much? All the other characters make a bunch of quips about how he only communicates in grunts, but he somehow finds the opportunity to deliver mini-monologues in every other chapter. And I get that he feels the need to protect everyone because of his mother, but the whole “two watches” bit? Because he was too late to save her? Total overkill. Also, I thought the watches were going to play some interesting role in the plot, but that never panned out. Talk about a loose thread.

The character deficiencies were not helped by some pretty gaping plot holes. If Beast knows his evil brother is in cahoots with Hattie’s incompetent brother, why is he still trying to get a name out of Hattie? If Hattie hadn’t made the deal with her brother to save him from Beast, how would she have convinced her father to turn over the business to her? The whole Year of Hattie five-point plan was mentioned a bunch, but it seemed more like a vague outline than an actual working scheme. And why did Beast think that buying the shipping business would save Hattie from his evil brother? It made no sense, and if there was even a half-assed explanation, I completely missed it.

And the cherry on top was the independent woman theme. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this theme... usually. As with most literary themes, it works best if it’s seamlessly incorporated into the plot (show, not tell). But MacLean bashed us over the head with it, repeatedly. She set up entire conversations to give Hattie epic one-liners about being a woman in a man’s world, and then flubbed the delivery. The cringe-worthy dialogue and flowery prose just made it even worse.

So is this story worth your time? I don’t really think so. But I’ll give MacLean some brownie points for the original premise and cross my fingers in the hope that the next one is better. And in the meantime, I’ll go back and re-read her previous works. Maybe I was delusional when I read them, and they’re just as bad as this one. Or maybe they��re just as good as I remember them.

Verdict: 2 stars.
Profile Image for Océano de libros.
747 reviews75 followers
February 4, 2021
La nueva serie de Sarah MacLean me tiene encandilada hasta este momento, ya sabéis que me gustó el primer tomo. En esta segunda parte tenemos de protagonista al segundo de los bastardos apodado “bestia”.

Hattie Sedley quiere ser la dueña de su vida, heredar los negocios de su padre es su objetivo, para llevarlo a cabo tiene un plan muy medido, el problema es encontrar en su carruaje a un hombre tan apuesto que pondrá en peligro todo.

Saviour “Whit” Whittington es uno de los bastardos Bareknuckle, uno de los dueños y señores de Covent Garden. El que se la hace la paga pero encontrarse atado en un carruaje junto a una intrépida mujer hace tambalear todos sus principios.

Hattie quiere su libertad y Whit vengarse de los hombres que lo secuestraron…

Esta novela ha sido entretenimiento puro, me lo he pasado genial, una historia divertida, emocionante, sexy… la verdad es que no tengo ningún pero, me ha gustado de principio a fin. Viviremos mil aventuras con los protagonistas, la trama se presta a ello y es fácil devorar páginas cuando te encuentras una novela que atrape tanto como esta.

Una parte importante del peso de la novela se la llevan sus protagonistas principales sobre todo Hattie. Ella es uno de los personajes “modernos” para la época, es inteligente, atrevida, autosuficiente, que no se conforma con lo que le dan, ella busca ser independiente. Me ha gustado también que sea una mujer con curvas, dejar de lado esos personajes de revista por un personaje más real.

Hattie ha sido un personaje muy agradable de encontrarse, con ella viviremos mil situaciones, me ha gustado esa decisión, la fuerza y el optimismo que refleja.

Pero Hattie no está sola...https://oceanodelibros.blogspot.com/2...

Profile Image for Stacee.
2,711 reviews703 followers
July 2, 2019
Wicked and the Wallflower was one of my top books of 2018, and I was basically screaming when I got approved for Brazen.

I love love loved Hattie and Beast. They’re both so smart and so opinionated and the bickering was the best. I adored their arguing and reading how their relationship unfurled in the most deliciously slow way and of course the chemistry was insane. I loved Nora and was beside myself at seeing Devil and Felicity again.

Plot wise it was perfect. From Hattie taking charge of her year to everything with Ewan to the best ending and epilogue: I loved all of it. I was captivated at the first scene and didn’t want to stop reading.

Overall, this was another book from Sarah I know I’ll be reading again. I can’t wait for Grace’s story and I’ll be over here hoping for Nora’s.

**Huge thanks to Avon Books for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Mei.
1,881 reviews414 followers
September 3, 2019
I liked both Hattie and Whit! I liked them a lot!
What I didn't mind for was the way their inner thoughts were written: it seemed to me that there was a lot of repetition! It reminded me of Kerrigan Byrne style of writing: exaggerated!
I found the whole story rather rushed, the ending most of all! I had to suspend my belief because they actually fall in love with each other instantly! I would have liked less repeated inner musing and more banter between them!
Still I like the story and I'm looking forward to Grace and Ewan's story!
Profile Image for Megan Frampton.
Author 43 books978 followers
May 31, 2019
This might now be my favorite of Sarah MacLean's books, and that's saying a lot, since I absolutely adore her books. It's so well-written, so complete, such an altogether consuming story that it is absolutely and entirely satisfying. Swoon.
Profile Image for PlotTrysts.
588 reviews181 followers
June 25, 2022
4.5 stars for the second entry in the Bareknuckle Bastards series. We really liked this one, for two basic reasons:

1. Hattie
2. Hattie

Basically, if you couldn't tell from the above, what we loved about this book was Hattie. Complex characters FTW! Beast was a fine hero for most of the book until his big betrayal. Everything was going swimmingly until he turned stupid. Luckily he turned not-stupid again, and part of how that happened was some really hot sex on a boat.

In short, give us a complex female character, a really cute studio apartment, and [sex on] a deserted boat in the middle of a deserted harbor in the middle of a deserted pier and we'll give you 5 stars.

17-Word Summaries:

Laine: To win her business and her independence, Hattie must get in bed with Beast, literally and figuratively.⁠

Meg: Hattie knows what she wants and she’s determined to get it - but can she figure out how?⁠

Profile Image for Pepa.
938 reviews237 followers
February 8, 2021
Poco puedo añadir
Reseña completa: https://masromance.blogspot.com/2019/...
Lo leí en inglés y ahora lo he vuelto a disfrutar, más de esos diálogos iniciales que, a veces, en inglés pierdo matices
Una novela fresca, ágil, con una protagonista estupenda y un hombre encantador. Quizás me esperaba alguien más bruto, dado su apodo, y al final un poco más de aclaración sobre la familia de ella. Todo queda muy abrupto
Pero, en general, es una lectura muy recomendable ♥
Profile Image for Hannah B..
805 reviews1,084 followers
May 20, 2023
This is literally just book one but in blue! I still enjoyed it, but it just felt SO similar to Wicked and the Wallflower.

I liked the beginning and loved the ending, but the middle was the same conversation over and over. He wasn’t good enough for her. She wasn’t beautiful enough for him. Sound familiar? Yeah! Literally Wicked and the Wallflower. And there REALLY didn’t seem to be much of a difference between Devil and Beast?

They were both dramatic and broody and definitely damaged. A hero type I obviously enjoy, but just not back to back by the same author in the same world. They both had basically the same childhood, which is a natural outcome of the premise of the story. And that was frustrating because we had to rehash their backstory in great detail once again because Hattie didn’t know it (while we’d learned it all in book one).

I liked Beast, but he didn’t feel new to me. Do I like him more than Devil? I don’t think so…but that ending was breathtaking. I liked his secret spectacles and books, but I wanted the story to go way deeper into his differences (like those) from Devil.

As for Hattie, she was great. But again, she felt like a slightly paler version of Felicity? Both heroines to some extent questioned their beauty and appeal and were shocked that the heroes were so whipped. Enjoyable, but repetitive. I liked Hattie telling off Ewan at the end, and even how she told off Beast, but Felicity did it all first so she remains my favorite.

Overall, if I ever reread and round up book one, I’ll round this one up. If I’d have read this one before book one, maybe I’d like it more because really they’re pretty interchangeable. I enjoyed them both, don’t get me wrong…but since this book was standing in the way of book three—my most anticipated one of the series—it just felt like I was rereading book one for no type of reason.

⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5 🌶️🌶️🌶️*/5

*I LOVED the scene at the back of the tavern. I think the tied to the mast scene could’ve done a bit more. I wanted the set up to feel more natural and frenzied. Like if she’d been seething angry and then tied him up without him suggesting it? HAWT.

A note about the ending: Bro I just don’t think Beast would’ve trusted Hattie’s safety to a random hack??? Like the ONLY ones I could see him giving her to would be Devil or Grace. I get he wanted her out of the action, but I feel like his character type would’ve been trying to keep her within his sight at all times. Or leaving with her. Idk seemed suspicious.
Profile Image for Serena Miles.
1,166 reviews41 followers
January 31, 2021
Como me ha gustado, me ha tenido en vilo toda la novela. Hattie es una mujer inteligente e independiente que lucha por lo que quiere, de esas protagonistas que me encantan. Whit me ha gustado también mucho, pero hubiese sido más redondo si hubiera hecho lo que aconsejaba a Diablo en el anterior libro. Estoy deseando leer el libro de Grace y Ewan
Profile Image for Natasha is a Book Junkie.
682 reviews7,439 followers
August 1, 2019
“I am the heroine of my own play, sir.”

I’m an avid reader of historical romances, forever drawn to a world where dashing rogues fall head over heels in love with intrepid damsels, but few authors continue to amaze me with the way they engage so purposefully with female identity, body norms, and sexuality in their stories, rather than merely accept the traditionally accepted. And Sarah MacLean is one of those authors. There is so much to adore about her writing—from her elegant but sharp prose, to the intense chemistry between her characters—but to me, her true gift in this genre lies in the way she refocuses history on the perspective of the woman by giving us fierce, trailblazing heroines and the men who champion them, rather than push them to the back. I can confidently say that stories like these are THE reason I will never stop reading romance novels.

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Profile Image for Nuria Llop.
Author 9 books112 followers
March 21, 2021
Creo que es una buena novela, aunque me haya costado engancharme por culpa de la cantidad de errores en el texto que denotan una falta de revisión. No son erratas comprensibles ni unas pocas, son frases mal construidas, palabras repetidas, verbos con el tiempo cambiado… En fin, que cada 4 o 5 páginas me encontraba con algo que me sacaba de la escena que estaba leyendo y así, es difícil conectar con la historia y con los protagonistas. Pero como no es culpa de la autora, no voy a calificar la novela en base a la versión castellana (de la que varias lectoras se han quejado ya en redes y la editorial ha respondido que pondrá más cuidado en las revisiones), sino por lo que cuenta. Y me ha gustado mucho la Bestia, más que lady Hattie. Como todas las protagonistas de esta autora, creo que se sale demasiado de la época en la que vive y que su sueño, tal y como ella lo persigue, sería imposible. En cambio, sí sería posible por otra vía que me habría resultado más creíble y no habría desmerecido en nada la idea de la mujer luchadora que nos quiere transmitir. La trama está bien desarrollada y el arranque de la novela es genial. El conflicto de pareja no deja de ser un cliché (la diferencia social), pero no me molestan ciertos clichés de la romántica. Los diálogos entre los protagonistas son buenos y dinámicos, la relación de pareja va “in crescendo” y tiene grandes dosis de sexo, lo que a mí me encanta. Aun así, algunas escenas hot me han parecido demasiado largas y, a veces, el comportamiento prudente de Hattie no se correspondía a su personalidad valiente y superlanzada. De todos modos, recomiendo leer esta novela, así como la anterior de la serie. Aunque no seas muy fan de la romántica histórica, creo que te gustará.
Profile Image for Anna lost in stories *A*.
1,021 reviews167 followers
January 4, 2021
hands down my favourite installment in this trilogy :) I feel confident enough to call it, even though I have yet to start the last one :) but since that third one includes a second chance romance, which is not my fave trope, I don’t think I will love it more than this gem :) I still expect to absolutely enjoy my time with it, but this one… *sighs* it has everything I love in my stories :) a wickedly smart and independent heroine who is determined to fight for her future… a silent type of hero who hides a surprisingly sweet side and gets talkative in the most spectacular way… ;) their chemistry is off the charts and I flew through the audiobook cause I needed to know how it will all end :) this is definitely a story I will come back to in the future if I need a book that will give me all the feels in the best possible way :) I highly recommend it :) I am also falling more and more in love with this author, and when I read a few more of her books I think she might become one of my all time favourites :)


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