Book Review: Bombshell by Sarah MacLean


Author: Sarah MacLean
Series: Hell’s Belles, book 1
Publisher: Avon (August 24, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback, 394 pages
Romance, Adult Historical Romance (Victorian)


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.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I adored this book. Just… *contented sigh* It’s EXACTLY the book I needed to break through a reading slump I’ve been struggling with. Nobody does witty banter and that will they/won’t they back and forth like Sarah MacLean, and she delivers on a whole other level with Bombshell.

The chemistry between Sesily and Caleb is explosive (even though I want to punch Caleb in the head, well, most of the time). Sesily is… gosh, I can’t even words about Sesily. She’s the glint off the steel of a dagger you don’t see coming straight at your heart. And then Caleb comes barreling in to rescue her, which Sesily does not NEED, thank you very much. She reminds me a little of Meg from Disney’s Hercules – “I’m a damsel, I’m in distress – I can handle this. Have a nice day!”

The only thing better than the epic mutual pining between Sesily and Caleb, is the crazy #squadgoals of Sesily, Imogen, Adelaide, and Duchess. I fell INSTANTLY in love with Imogen and I have a MIGHT NEED for her book nowwwwww. They’re all just such fun and interesting women. I always say I know it’s a great book if I want to crawl inside and be besties with the characters, and BOY do I want to be in with this crowd!

This is Sesily’s book, and while it’s the first in this series, there are nods to several other books and series by Sarah MacLean. Sesily sister Sophie’s has her own book, The Rogue Not Taken, the first book in the Scandal & Scoundrel series, and Seraphina’s book is the third in that same series, The Day of the DuchessBombshell does contain some spoilers for these other books, though it’s not necessary to read them to fully enjoy this book. There are also a few mentions of the Bareknuckle Bastards, who are the stars of another series by the same name by Sarah MacLean, as well as (I think) mention of the plot of A Scot in the Dark. I love how Sarah MacLean weaves these elements of her fictional world together across these different series, and it’s so expertly done.

This is the first book in the Hells’ Belles series, and can be read as a stand-alone. There are bits and pieces that lay the groundwork for the next book, Heartbreaker, which will be about Adelaide and the Duke of Clayborne, and then FINALLY the third book had better be about Imogen and Thomas because I NEED their book. I’m also very much hoping Duchess gets her own book, please, if you’re out there and you’re listening, book fairies… 🙂

A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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