12 Tropes of 2020 – Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

Wallflower from
12 Tropes of 2020

A person who has no one to dance with or who feels shy, awkward, or excluded at a party.

Taken from Lexico

She might be on the shelf, but love doesn’t pass her by in the end. These are romances where the heroine is a spinster, is on the shelf, or is considered an old maid by society (even if it’s by choice).

Taken from Best Romances With Spinsters, Wallflowers, Or Old Maids reading list on Goodreads.


Brazen and the Beast
by Sarah MacLean

The Lady’s Plan

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly… until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.

The Bastard’s Proposal

When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure… on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires… for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power… and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything… including their hearts.

Blurb taken from book blurb

My thoughts

The second book in The Bareknuckle Bastards series, Brazen and the Beast was an enjoyable and refreshing read. The book did not suffer from second book syndrome and was just as enjoyable as the first. As with her first book in the series, Wicked and the Wallflower, Brazen and the Beast follows one of the notorious ‘Bareknuckle Bastards’ as they are brought to their knees by powerful women of the time ladies .

Ever since reading her historical romance, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Sarah MacLean has been on my must read list. MacLean’s writing style is always easy to read and her stories are a pleasure to watch as they unfold. Not only this but the characterisations in her novels are always so lovely and different. There is a edge of difference, they are fighting battles above their time and her female characters are always so alive and fiery in their own ways.

Brazen and the Beast made even better by the inclusion of the lesbian side romance of Nik and Nora. I really enjoyed seeing this pair circle each other in the background. I would LOVE to see a novella that expands their story more and one can hope a centrally focused QUILTBAG romance from MacLean.

The Trope

Be still my beating heart – there is nothing I love more than a romance that features a Wallflower character. In regards to romance novels, I include within the wallflower definition the character types of spinsters, old maids, and other downtrodden heroines that still proudly represent and find a happily ever afters.

Like the Cinderalla trope, Wallflower characters often start with almost angsty beginnings but soon find through some plot line of other a romance that suits them. I say angst but some of best Wallflower romance characters are like that through their own choice, often being the primary driver of the romance in the story.


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