Hell’s Belles, Book 1
From the publisher:
New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean returns with a blazingly sexy, unapologetically feminist new series, Hell’s Belles, beginning with a bold, bombshell of a heroine, able to dispose of a scoundrel—or seduce one—in a single night.
After years of living as London’s brightest scandal, Lady Sesily Talbot has embraced the reputation and the freedom that comes with the title. No one looks twice when she lures a gentleman into the dark gardens beyond a Mayfair ballroom…and no one realizes those trysts are not what they seem.
No one, that is, but Caleb Calhoun, who has spent years trying not to notice his best friend’s beautiful, brash, brilliant sister. If you ask him, he’s been a saint about it, considering the way she looks at him…and the way she talks to him…and the way she’d felt in his arms during their one ill-advised kiss.
Except someone has to keep Sesily from tumbling into trouble during her dangerous late-night escapades, and maybe close proximity is exactly what Caleb needs to get this infuriating, outrageous woman out of his system. But now Caleb is the one in trouble, because he’s fast realizing that Sesily isn’t for forgetting…she’s forever. And forever isn’t something he can risk.https://amzn.to/31qAe1R
If you have been dying to read an historical romance with a strong heroine who is also vulnerable, intelligent, and sassy, then this is your book! On the other hand, if modern slang put in the mouth of said heroine rubs you the wrong way, then maybe not. I am not a fan of modernism rearing its head in historical anything, be it TV (I’m looking at you, “Dickinson”) or a book like this. MacLean doesn’t typically do this, but it is definitely trendy so I’m guessing that’s what is going on here.
Forgetting all that, Sesily is an interesting character for sure. Caleb, on the other hand, is not as well developed. The attraction between them is strong, but Sesily isn’t interested in being part of someone’s forever. Until the very end of the book.
I liked how these women are trying to help other women, and how Caleb is happy with a woman who doesn’t need to be rescued, yet he keeps rescuing her. It’s all a bit of a mishmash, with Sesily’s interior monologue leading the way through the mess. Despite all my misgivings, I did end up liking this book. I just wish it could have been written differently. While that is my problem, it may not be yours. MacLean is a good writer as a rule, so I would say give this a try. The reviews have mostly been positive and I understand that. I did like it, and I will read the next book in the series for sure.
12/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
BOMBSHELL by Sarah MacLean. Avon (August 24, 2021). ISBN: 978-0063056152. 400 pages.
I read your review with interest. I, for one, could not get past the stuff you mentioned. In fact, I gave it 1 star because there is no zero stars and I DNF the book. I just couldn’t waste anymore of my precious reading time on trying to finish a book I didn’t like.
I totally get that! It’s taken me most of my life to realize that I don’t have to finish every book I start. I have always liked MacLean’s books, and the reviews have been mostly positive, so I slogged through to the end. I did end up liking the book more than I originally thought I would, so I’m glad I finished it. I do wish this trend of inserting modern day language/customs into historical fiction would just go away. I blame Baz Luhrmann (if you’ve seen his Romeo & Juliet, you will understand!) but it’s definitely become much more trendy now, especially in films/TV and now, apparently, books.
I agree. It’s hard to keep in the HR mode when the author throws modern terms throughout the story. I have also read several of MacLean’s books and enjoyed most of them. There was one book in her Barenuckled Bastards series that I didn’t like, but for the most part, she has some good stuff.