Hell’s Belles. Book 2
From the publisher:
New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean follows her highly acclaimed Bombshell with Heartbreaker, featuring a fierce, fearless heroine on a mission to steal a duke’s secrets…and his heart.
A Tempting Thief
Raised among London’s most notorious criminals, a twist of fate landed Adelaide Frampton in the bright ballrooms of Mayfair, where she masquerades as a quiet wallflower—so plain and unassuming that no one realizes she’s the Matchbreaker…using her superior skills as a thief to help unwilling brides avoid the altar, all while hiding her own scandalous past.
A Powerful Duke
Henry Carrington, Duke of Clayborn, has spent a lifetime living in perfection and has no time for the scandals that arise every time Adelaide ends another groom. His own reputation is impeccable—and the last thing he needs is a frustrating, fascinating woman discovering the truth of his past, or the secrets he holds close.
A Perfect Match
When the two find themselves on a breakneck journey across Britain to stop a wedding, the duke has no choice but to follow her across Britain on a trip filled with bad weather, bad luck, and a surprising lack of beds. Adelaide soon realizes that this perfect duke kisses like a proper scoundrel, and is turning out to be a thief in his own right…one who won’t stop until he’s stolen her well-guarded heart.https://amzn.to/3HPI1sA
MacLean turns the Victorian romance genre on its head with this feminist spin and I’m into it! Both of these books stand alone, and I can say this because I read the first book, Bombshell, just over a year ago and honestly didn’t remember many details, yet I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It didn’t feel like I was missing a thing.
The Hell’s Belles are a group of women with a mission to save their peers from disasterous marriages and other of life’s challenges. This book centers around Adelaide, the “Matchbreaker.” She herself was saved from a marriage in which her father was basically selling her to a man she had no interest in marrying, a not uncommon practice in Victorian England. Matches were made, especially among the upper class (the ton) because of financial need, status, or tying together families to amass more power. Not so lovely reasons to get married!
Adelaide is not of the upper class. In fact, her father runs one of the most notorious gangs in London, and she was raised to be a thief and a pickpocket, or “nipper,” and she is one of the best. Unfortunately, she learned the hard way and was imprisoned the first time when she was only 8 years old. She has changed her name and is now under the protection of the Duchess, one of the Belles whose money and influence gives them great latitude to help other women. Unfortunately, this time it is Adelaide who needs the help.
A young woman witnessed her father, a member of the aristocracy, murder a fellow aristocrat. Now he wants her dead. Yes, you read that right. Women were so dispensable in jolly old England! Instead, she elopes with the younger brother of the Duke of Carrington.
The Duke is a confirmed bachelor, and he is happy his brother found someone to love. He fully supports the marriage, but the girl’s father has hired some ruffians to find and kill them both. Adelaide to the rescue, only she has help in the Duke. While their relationship is somewhat adversarial – she steals something he greatly values and the race is on. As they cross England to try and reach the Duke’s brother before the happy couple is killed, Adelaide and the Duke fall in love. He has secrets that preclude him from marrying, and she has major self-esteem issues. But no worries – a happy ending is in store.
This was a fun read and I enjoyed these characters and the story. It was fast-paced and had some humor, along with some heat! If you enjoyed the first book in the series, I think this one was a bit better. If you haven’t read the first one, you can still read this one and it won’t feel like you’re walking into the middle of something. MacLean is a smart writer and does a really good job with series. This book is on many of the best books of the year lists so give it a try!
12/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
HEARTBREAKER by Sarah MacLean. Avon (August 23, 2022). ISBN: 978-0063243248. 352p.