Title: Daring and the Duke
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards #3
Author: Sarah MacLean
Genre: Historical Romance
Edition/Pages: Mass Market Paperback, 371 pages
I received an ARC copy of this from Avon via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review
Grace has spent her life running from the past ever since Ewan won the dukedom and chased her and his brothers away. Now she is the queen of Covent Garden and has made a life providing fantasy and pleasure for the women of London.
Now that Ewan knows Grace is alive and well, he is determined to prove that he has changed. But the gamble he made a decade ago may have caused irreparable damage.
Unable to give forgiveness, Grace vows revenge on the man she once loved. But soon she’s pulled back into his orbit. She’s protected herself from the mad duke for years, but the man that returned is nothing like the man she’s been running from. Maybe Ewan actually has changed. And maybe their love isn’t just a thing of the past.
➸ POV: 3rd Person from Grace & Ewan’s POVs
➸ Grace: Illegally baptized the heir to the Duke of Marwick, “Dahlia”, Owner of 72 Shelton St – a brothel catered to women, Bareknuckle Bastard, “Queen of Covent Garden”
➸ Ewan: “Won” the Dukedom of Marwick, One of the 3 bastard sons of the Duke of Marwick, Has been chasing/searching for Grace for 20 years
➸ Content Warnings: Child abuse, Murder, Death of a parent, Trauma, Fighting, Sexism
I’m so sad to see this series ending and I already miss these characters so much! 😭❤️ Wicked and the Wallflower was one of the first historical romances I picked up so this story will forever how a special place in my heart. This was such a satisfying conclusion to a series I’ve absolutely loved. That ending scene had me ❤️
This book in particular touched on so many important themes and I really appreciated the author’s note at the end. Grace was such a powerful heroine and I loved following her in this final book. The book really delved into what it meant to be a woman during this time – even when a queen took the throne. Not only was this book feminist, but it was also extremely sex positive – which we love to see. Grace’s entire business is built around giving women a place to explore and ask for what they desire. And I loved it.
The chemistry between Ewan and Grace was off the charts amazing. Every scene they had together felt charged. Ewan was an absolute monster in the last 2 books, so it was definitely a little jarring that he was so different in this conclusion. But I still couldn’t help but root for them.
My main complaint about this book was the pacing. This story heavily focused on Grace and Ewan working out their issues both individually and together. It was about their internal struggles, trauma, and trust. While I really loved all of those aspects, the story began to drag around the midway point. I wish their had a been a secondary plot to keep driving the story forward.
Overall this was satisfying conclusion to a wonderful series. I grew so attached to these characters, I’m sad to see them go so soon! I cannot wait for Sarah MacLean next series – Hell’s Belles – in 2021!!