"IF THERE'S ANYTHING WORSE THAN KNOWING YOU'RE OUT OF PLACE, IT'S BEING TOLD YOU FIT IN."
I've seen a quote before about how lucky we are to live in the time of Beyonce. Yes, a million times, yes. But I think we’re also lucky to live in a time where romance novels are so stupendously written, when they’re not afraid of tackling critical national conversations we’re having, when they articulate our most fervent (and most hopeful/lovely) wishes more beautifully than we could have ever hoped, and when they light us on fire with the joy of companionship, love, and sex.
The historical romances I’ve read lately have been particularly insane (in a great way): first, I read Julie Anne Long’s Lady Derring Takes a Lover; then I read Tessa Dare’s The Wallflower Wager; and finishing this triumvirate of books that Left Me Awed is Sarah MacLean’s Brazen and the Beast, which has gotten a lot of hype and is even better than I had hoped.
The heroine of MacLean’s BandB, Hattie, is bold and confident, a real go-getter who’s been battered by the less than nice opinions of others but who gives those opinions a big f you, and Whit is divine, an alpha you don’t want to anger but who also possesses a luscious weakness for a close circle of people, the heroine foremost among them.
Their romance is stellar and MacLean’s writing should be held up as an example of how people should/could write about love. Also being a woman who is constantly critiqued or found wanting. Also how to be brave. On The Voice, the coaches tell the contestants not to stay at a 10 the whole time—to choose when they do a run—and MacLean observes those dynamics, Blake, Adam, Alicia, and Kelly (my favorite coaches)! She’s delicate when she needs to be and can decimate an army of foes when she needs to, and every bit of it is dramatic and suspenseful in the way that the best romances—whether they’re romantic suspense or not—are.
This is a gushing review on par with how I used to attack people with compliments after I had one or two drinks in college, but it’s the truth. Historical romance is for everyone and this book in particular could teach people more than a thing or two.
Hattie and Whit are for the ages (and Nora and Nik too).
Give me that HEA, please.
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