BOXERS!! I have a weakness. Which is why I was like “HELL YESSS” when I got the email about this tour. But there’s not only a boxer! There’s also a heroine who can hold her own, a second-chance romance for a supporting character, AND possibly one of the hottest kisses known to man. What more could you ask for??
As you scroll through, make sure to check out the synopsis, my review, a little about the author, and A GIVEAWAY! Oh and check out all the other amazing bloggers on this tour!
THE BAREKNUCKLE GROOM BY HOLLY BUSH
Publication Date: March 9, 2021
Holly Bush Books
Series: The Thompsons of Locust Street, Book #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Meet the Thompsons of Locust Street, an unconventional family taking Philadelphia high society by storm…
1869 Bareknuckle champion, James Thompson, is confident his future continues with beautiful women and victories in the boxing ring. Men admire his skills, power, and quick fists, and are more than willing to bet their hard-earned coins on his name. Women admire his handsome face, his undaunted confidence, and his powerful body. Nothing will change his successfully plotted course, until…
Lucinda Vermeal arrives on the Philadelphia social scene when her father moves them to the city in the hopes that his only daughter will find a suitable partner. After all, her husband will be intimately involved with Vermeal Industries whose business interests and political connections touch France, England and all of the United States. Lucinda’s pale statuesque beauty attracts the finest of Philadelphia’s young men, but her cool and reserved attitude keep them at arm’s length. Until she meets a man willing to challenge her at every turn. Will James Thompson expose Lucinda’s passionate nature like no other man ever could?
I have a weakness for boxers/stories with boxers in them. You could call it a guilty pleasure except I have no guilt lol. So I was all in when I read the synopsis for The Bareknuckle Groom and I was not disappointed.
Let’s talk characters first!
Lucinda is not to be messed with. She hides behind a cold exterior and is not willing to give herself to just anyone. As much as her father wants her to marry the “right” person, she won’t sacrifice herself to a man who doesn’t respect her. But behind that cold facade, she’s caring, devoted, and determined.
And by determined, I mean that if she wants to go to a boxing match in a rundown building despite it possibly being unsafe, she’s going to do it. If she has to go on her own, so be it. But she’s also not afraid to lead a man into an empty room so she can tell him exactly what she thinks of him.
If it doesn’t turn out the way she expected and she ends up pinned against a door and kissed the hell out of…well *shrugs*
Then there is James. Boxing is how he’s earned a living for himself and his family for as long as he can remember. It’s his way of life. It’s who he is. He doesn’t know who he’d be without it.
He’s also a huge family man. He’s devoted to his siblings and aunt and would do anything for them. Well…almost anything. He won’t stop boxing for them.
But then he meets Lucinda at a party and can’t understand why he can’t stop thinking about her. BUT then he meets her again at another party and well….”things” happen. There may be a kiss or multiple kisses or maybe more than that. This cements her in his mind although he’s not ready to admit it just yet.
And neither is Lucinda. Not entirely.
That is until James fights someone that might just be as good as he is in the ring. And Lucinda just happens to be there. No spoilers but let’s just say he does not end up in good shape and needs to be carried home.
Lucinda follows and sits by his bedside for as long as she can. That’s when she realizes she feels more strongly for him than she ever thought possible.
It takes another fight, a talk with his family and his best friend, McAvoy, and almost losing Lucinda forever to make him see that she is the one for him.
Things I Loved
I really loved Lucinda and James’ relationship. They were both well-developed and both had their own distinct personality that didn’t change too much after finding each other.
They’re both still stubborn as hell. I love how Lucinda is not willing to be with him if he won’t see that boxing is going to kill them. I LOVE THAT! It’s possibly one of my favorite parts of the book. Yes, she loves him but she won’t watch him hurt himself like that. THAT, my friends, is some self-care.
I’ve read so many books where the woman has to sacrifice some part of herself to be with the dude BUT NOT TODAY. They really are equals and I would like more of that, thank you.
They also have a dance scene that practically had me falling off the couch. THE BANTER!! THE CLOSENESS!! HOLY HELL, BATMAN.
JAMES’ FAMILY!! I love them all. They’re all so wonderful but also will fight with each other at a moment’s notice. They are all an absolute delight!
Lucinda’s aunt Louisa! I love her story and her second-chance romance and how much she supports Lucinda. A perfect supporting character!
James and McAvoy! There aren’t enough books, or at least historical romances, with male friendships like this. Yes, they shoot the shit and talk trash but they also deeply care for one another and want each other to be happy.
A Few Things I Wish There Were More Of
There were a couple of moments where James doesn’t understanding why people want him to stop boxing or why he would ever stop that I didn’t necessarily believe. He’s a smart dude. Yes, he has a blind spot when it comes to boxing but not understanding what Alexander (his brother-in-law) means when he says “oh I think you should run this gym when you finish your boxing career” doesn’t fit his character to me. There were a couple moments where I was yelling “YOU ARE GOING TO GET OLD, SIR. YOU CAN’T BOX YOURSELF TO DEATH!”
This might just be a me thing and wanting violence (LOL) but I also wanted a bit more description of the fights. I wanted more blow-by-blows and to feel like I was in the ring with him. But since most of the fights were in Lucinda’s point of view, we didn’t really get that.
I also wanted ONE more banter-y meeting between Lucinda and James before they got THE FEELINGS. But this is really me just wanting more scenes where they talk and are alone together. #greedy
Overall, I enjoyed reading The Bareknuckle Groom. I’m giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars. If you love historical romances and/or boxing/boxers, you definitely need to check out this book!
About the Author
“Love always has something to say. Sometimes it shouts from the highest hill, and sometimes it whispers so softly one must listen closely to hear. Do not turn away. It is a rare and precious commodity. Treasure it.” The Gentrys of Paradise
Holly Bush’s historical romances are set during the turbulent and transformative years of the late 1800’s. The first two books in her newest series, The Gentrys of Paradise, released in the spring of 2017 and began with the novella Into the Evermore where readers meet Virginia horse breeders, Eleanor and Beauregard Gentry. The following books feature their children, Adam, Matthew, and Olivia. For the Brave is Matthew’s story and is the first full length book of the series. Olivia’s book, For This Moment, released in the spring of 2018. The final book, For Her Honor, is now available.
The Crawford Family Series following the fortunes of the three Boston born Crawford sisters and includes Train Station Bride, Contract to Wed, Her Safe Harbor, and companion novella, The Maid’s Quarters. Cross the Ocean and Charming the Duke are both British set Victorian romances. Fan favorites stand-alone historical romance novels include Romancing Olive and Reconstructing Jackson. Holly’s books are described as ‘emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance.’
She also writes General Fiction under the name of Hollis Bush.
Holly makes her home with her husband, one happy Labrador Retriever and a clever Jack Russell rescued from the pound, and two difficult cats in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com, on Twitter @hollybushbooks, on Instagram, and on Facebook at Holly Bush. Follow Holly on her Amazon author page to receive new release updates and on BookBub to check out her reviews and get sale information.
Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!
The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on April 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, April 20
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Monday, April 26
Review + Excerpt at Elodie’s Reading Corner
Tuesday, April 27
Excerpt at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, April 28
Review at Unabridged Chick