A Rogue by Any Other Name: The First Rule of Scoundrels Sarah MacLean
Remember Penelope? Prim and proper and utterly boring, who got dumped by the Duke of Leighton in Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart? Well, it's been eight years and she's still unmarried, much to the consternation of her family and younger sisters.
She's shocked to find that her father has increased her dowry to include new lands he just acquired, lands that used to make up the estate of Falconwell.
Michael Bourne had just reached the age of majority when he lost everything that wasn't part of the entail. Most of the land, the money, even the contents of his house lost in a single card game. Since then he's been plotting and scheming, and amassing a massive fortune as a partner in one of London's premier gaming hells. But revenge, and his land, will be his.
So when he finds that all he has to do is marry his childhood friend Penelope, you'd think he'd just go ask her but no. He makes it look like he's compromised her so she's forced to marry him, and quickly.
Poor Penelope. She'll go along with Bourne's scheme, but only if he removes the scandal of it so that her younger sisters won't be forced into incompatible matches.
But, you know, feelings resurface, passion sizzles, and the next thing you know you've spent all day reading.
Sarah MacLean knows how to write a book! LOVE.
Now, Bourne is not my favorite romantic hero-- he's so hellbent on revenge that he forgets that Penelope might have feelings about the whole matter.
But, I loved Penelope. She's such a wet blanket in Eleven Scandals it's nice to see more of her, especially now that she's seen that being perfect has gotten her nowhere and she longs for more in life.
I like how MacLean's heroines have been cast aside by society and from the fringes see that there is more to life. Penelope is especially inspired by Leighton and Juliana-- she sees the way they look at each other and can't help but want that for herself.
I also liked (bear with me) that she was willing to accept less. In general, this is a bad message, but it's a historically accurate one. She never planned on marrying for love, because, well, it's rare case that does. She just wanted someone she could get along with. She wants love though, and after years of waiting, she's setting the bar high. When she can't get it, I like how she bargains to make sure that her sisters marry compatibly. Not love matches, but people that won't make them miserable.
I like smart historical fiction romance. Lay some titles on me as I eagerly await MacLean's next one.
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