Magnificent Bastard by Lili Valente

Hands down, “Magnificent Bastard” is the best title I have ever heard for a romance novel, contemporary or otherwise. I’m going to start a list just so I can put this book at #1 and Manaconda at #2.

Gold star

These are for you, Lili Valente. Well done!

Joining the ranks of kissing book Sebastians, no pressure, it’s just the by-word for “ultimate hero“, is “Bash” Prince who runs an upscale romantic revenge business. For a fee, he will bring all of his hotness to bear on you in the presence of your ex to make that lousy jerk understand what he is missing, and dig up any malfeasance of which he is guilty just for an extra grind under your stiletto heel. Business is good and it couldn’t be done without his assistant, the one he has never met. Penny reveals herself when she needs her very own magnificent bastard to attend a family wedding with her and relieve the pressure of her awful mother who is marrying PENNY’S EX-BOYFRIEND.

Told almost exclusively from Bash’s perspective, and the man does not lack for confidence in himself, Magnificent Bastard is a marriage of convenience featuring a rake and a wallflower. Penny’s personal interjections into the story mostly take the form of the least professional, professional correspondence in the history of the world. It’s not often, or never really, that romances feature one of the words that I am not willing to speak out loud. It’s not an offensive one, but that the presence of emojis related to animals releasing bodily gasses takes a small, comic role in the book was a wonder to me. I don’t say that word, I don’t want to read it, and I don’t want characters in romantic situations including it in their texts, especially in so-called business interactions.

[insert non-ironic clutching of pearls here]

But enough about my hangups, how was Magnificent Bastard? It had some nice sizzle, a couple of funny moments, and the plotting was ridic. I’d use the full version of the last word in the previous sentence, but given the whole emoji situation, the shortened version seems apropos. Penny was sweet and Bash is so over-the-top pleased with himself and, hopefully, tongue-in-cheek vulgar (he refers to his wedding tackle as the “incredible bulk”) that it was mostly engaging, but devolved into silliness that the light tone could not overcome.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.


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