Book review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

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

As you can tell from my Goodreads shelves, I read a lot of Regency romances. I love them–they are light, frothy, and “spoiler alert” always have a happy ending. :). Occasionally, one comes along that has more depth than normal in this genre of lightheartedness and deserves a special mention. “Wicked and the Wallflower” is one of those books.
To begin with, the heroine is plain (but smart). This is a fairly normal anomaly in a genre where the heroine is usually–but not always–beautiful. But the hero is dark (ethically, not just physically) and climbed out of the gutter through sheer force of will and brains. This is not a “good girl reforms bad boy” plot. This is a “good girl joins bad boy” plot. That’s an unusual anomaly. I adored it.
The backstory has complexity, the banter between the hero and heroine is charming, and the entire book has unsuspected depth. It’s as if a Georgette Heyer Regency romance married a C.S. Harris Sebastian St. Cyr mystery, and they had a child (who was happy).
I can’t wait for the second book in the series!

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Book review: A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith Quartet #2)A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Julia Quinn books as immensely satisfying “mind candy,” whenever I need a break from more serious reading. Her characters are generally well developed, the plots are interesting, and the dialogue is always witty.
“A Night Like This” continues the saga of the Smythe-Smith family, mostly known for the tone deaf musical performances the family put on every year.
I had mixed feelings about this book. As always, the dialogue was clever and witty. The heroine was unusual for this genre, in that she was of the gentry, sullied her name and became a governess. I like that. And the plot was more complex than is typical for this genre. I like that as well. But I had some difficulties about the hero. He was nice enough but surprisingly two dimensional for a Julia Quinn hero. There was nothing to dislike about him, but he wasn’t well fleshed out enough to really like him either. He was, well, boring.
For Julia Quinn fans, the book is satisfying enough, but it is certainly not the strongest of her works. For those who are looking for an introduction to her work, I would start with her Bridgerton series, which really is lots of fun (especially the earlier books).

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