cover image Bombshell


Sarah MacLean. Avon, $8.99 mass market (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-305615-2

Bestseller MacLean (Daring and the Duke) launchers her Hell’s Belles series with a sizzling, adventurous Victorian romance. Thirty-year-old Lady Sesily Talbot’s brazen reputation is well-earned—it’s also a helpful cover for her acts of vigilante justice: no one thinks twice about a notorious lightskirt luring men into dark corners. With a group of multitalented, badass women at her back, Sesily makes a habit of toppling villainous aristocrats, and now she’s plotting to expose the crimes of the horrible Viscount Coleford. Throwing a wrench in this plan is American tavern owner Caleb Calhoun. The pair have been pining for each other for two years, but Caleb’s convinced that his dark past will endanger any woman in his orbit. As resolved as he is to keep his distance, however, he’s equally determined to protect Sesily, and comes to her rescue in ballrooms and bar fights alike. Refreshingly, their relationship’s development hinges on Caleb learning that Sesily is more than capable of protecting herself. Caleb’s defining traits are his unwavering devotion and willingness to martyr himself, but he lacks the wonderful nuance that animates Sesily herself. The highlight is instead Sesily’s fierce, loyal friend group, and readers will be eager to see more of them in future installments. This promises good things to come.[em] Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Aug.) [/em]