Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
WOW. Wow, wow, wow. Have I mentioned WOW?
I’m not going to lie, I had doubts about Ewan doing enough groveling to truly make this redemption arc work, but I NEVER SHOULD HAVE DOUBTED THE QUEEN. Sarah Maclean delivered the MOST satisfying grovel novel and childhood friends to enemies to lovers romance for Ewan and Grace. And goodness gracious, the hope this book inspired in me was a miracle during this time. (Hi. Pandemic. Police Brutality. Institutional Racism.)
Grace – Daring – takes absolutely no prisoners. You want a badass heroine? Look no further. A life in Covent Garden has turned her into a fighter and a queen. She was the first bareknuckle bastard and she protects her own no matter what. She has just one soft spot – for the boy she’d loved 20 years ago, the one who’d given her her name. The one who’d betrayed them all and then came back again years later intent on destroying them.
Ewan’s only ever wanted one thing – Grace. When his brothers originally told him she was dead, he’d reacted…poorly. (For the record: yes I know that is the understatement of the century). But now he knows she’s alive and he’ll do anything – anything – to win her back. Including, but not limited to: a bout in the ring, hauling ice without a hook, laundry, and orgasms. (Let’s be honest, it’s true.)
There are so many levels to this story that it would take probably an entire 300-page novel to unpack it all, but, honestly it was so perfect. There was no other way it would have worked except for the way that Sarah wrote it. It goes beyond groveling, beyond forgiveness, to these two people who have loved each other since they were 13 realizing that neither of them are who they were all those years ago. Do they love this new person? Is the risk worth the reward? What are they willing to do for this love? And it’s everything.
I’m so sad to see the bareknuckle bastard series end, and I’m seriously considering starting again from the beginning just to experience it all over again. (All my new books are giving me serious side eye.) But it couldn’t have ended in a more satisfying way.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.