I’ll start with this. Sarah Maclean is one of the few authors who can make you root for a guy you have loved to hate for two years. She had me crying for Grace in Chapter 1, and then bawling for Ewan by Chapter 4. Thus, the following gush-fest is going to be spoiler free because I really want you read this masterpiece yourself.
Oh, how to describe this book. To call it just a redemption story is to ignore the million little sub-plots interwoven within the plot and yet, at its core, this novel is an epic grovel-fest of massive proportions. A self-made, strong, feisty, corset-over-pants kick-ass heroine who owns the dark-streets of London’s Covent Garden. A mad Duke who loves her beyond measure and has destroyed her past, stolen her present and now owns the future that, in a perfect world, should have been hers.
She’s the Queen of night. He’s an aristocrat all day. How can two people who work and cohabit two separate realities come together to meet in the middle without losing sight of what they are? How can one believe in what-can-become when you are broken by what-was? It takes work, trust and a lot of pixie-dust that is the masterful Maclean’s magnificent prose. Add in elegant snippets about women, choice and freedom, powerful kicks at the patriarchy – she set it on fire! – and a particularly well-placed reference to a certain podcast [Fated Mates cold-shoulder, anyone?] and you have a book you’ll be rereading for years.
Daring and the Duke is a powerful ending to what was already a spectacular series. It’s a book you’ll read slowly, savoring each page because you don’t want it to end even as the angst gives you a heart burn that’ll require weeks, if not months, to heal. A love story that will make you believe in working towards a better toward and leave you sighing at your ceiling after the last page is turned.
Have you read it yet? Did you like it? Are you sad the Bareknuckle Bastards have reached their end? Let’s chat in the comments!
Special thank you to Avon Books for the digital step-back surprise!