Book Review: Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards #1) by Sarah MacLean



Title: Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards #1)
Author: Sarah MacLean
Genre: Historical Romance
Edition/Pages: Audiobook, 12 Hours 41 Minutes
Goodreads page

Here is something true Felicity Faircloth, wallflower, lockpick, and wonder; there isn’t a single thing about you that is flawed.


Felicity’s reputation is ruined. She was once the belle of the ball, but after a failed courtship and being caught in the bedroom of another man, she’s been shunned from society. And she desperately wants back in.

Devil lives up to his name. He is the leader of the Bareknuckle bastards and is out teach his bastard brother a lesson – no heirs.

But Devil wasn’t bargaining for Felicity. And now he must choose between following through with his wicked plan, or claiming the only thing he’s ever desired.

She watched as he worked the second lock. “The world is full of doors.” Lord knew that was true. “I like being able to open my own doors.


➸ POV: 3rd Person from Felicity and Devil’s POVs

➸ Felicity Faircloth: 27, Wallflower, Lockpick, Spinster, Surrounded by scandal, Desperately wishes to be desired

➸ Devil: Bareknuckle Bastard, Smuggler, Wealthy, Scarred, One of the 3 bastard sons of the Duke

Content Warnings: Abuse

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

My Thoughts

I listened to this on audio and man this book was a ride for me. I’m really new to the historical romance genre and went into this totally blind based of recommendations and amazing reviews of romance readers I trust.

This first quarter of this was a bit of drag for me. The opening scene felt so long and drawn out, and the two main characters felt really cliche. Felicity seemed like you standard plain Jane heroine and Devil the overly confident, sexy, and brooding hero. But boy was I wrong.

This book had so many fun elements:

▪️A really sassy, independent female MC. I loved how she was always breaking the rules and breaking through doors. She was really quirky and I loved it. She was the perfect balance between feminine and strong. And while she wanted to be accepted by society, she wanted it on her terms.

▪️Smuggling. I thought it was a really fun change to all the duke, earl, high society businesses I’d read.

▪️Sexy times. This book was steamy! I don’t know why, but I wasn’t expecting that whatsoever. But whew *fans self*

▪️Lock Picking. It was such a fun and unique thing to add to the story/character.

▪️And amazing side characters! I can’t wait to read the other Bareknuckle bastards’ books! I’ve already grown so attached to them

Overall I really loved this first book. I have already purchased book 2 (I don’t plan to continue the series on audio, the narration of book 1 wasn’t my favorite in all honesty) and can’t wait to continue on with this series!!


7 thoughts on “Book Review: Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards #1) by Sarah MacLean

  1. I’ve heard so many great things about this book and actually just downloaded it from the library. I read many of her older books when she started out as a HR author and loved her writing so I’m excited. If you haven’t read many HR yet, put The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (2009) by Jennifer Ashley, Lord of Scoundrels (1995) by Loretta Chase and Devil in Winter (2006) by Lisa Kleypas on you tbr, they are old school HR but classics.

    Liked by 1 person

      • She is the QUEEN!!!! There is definitely a difference between HR novels that have been released before 2005, like Scoundrel or even some of my favorite Amanda Quick novels like Ravished (1992) and HR that is being released lately like Bringing down the Duke by Evie Dunmore or even Lisa Kleypas’s latest releases. The books read differently. They were written at a different time. Also don’t forget to check out Julie Garwood’s The Bride – it’s medieval 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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