Yes, I am on a bit of a Historical run lately, but that seems to be a rabbit hole I have difficulty climbing out of because I love them so much. But that is another topic for another blog post! This one is all about Sarah MacLean’s “A Rogue By Any Other Name” which is the first book in the Rules of Scoundrels Series. This is my first MacLean for reasons which I know not of, but it will not be my last.
The Story– Penelope (I have always loved that name) is practically an old maid because of a previous broken engagement and the scandal that followed. In fact, she’s so hopeless that her father has attached a large parcel of land to her dowry to attract suitors. How crappy would that be? “Please! Marry my pathetic daughter for lots of money!” Bourne is her childhood friend who happened to lose the previously mentioned land in a card game to a dastardly villain (not Penelope’s father). He’s spent the past several years planning revenge, acquiring a fortune, and looking for an opportunity to get his land back. Wow! This should be easy, right? Penelope gets to marry her childhood friend, and Bourne gets his land. Not so fast… Of course, it isn’t that easy!
My Thoughts– Penelope certainly has reason to doubt herself and the character with her motivations was well-created, but I have rarely felt so badly for a romantic heroine. I felt her disappointment so acutely, I wanted to slap Bourne for his idiocity. I guess there wouldn’t have been enough conflict without his moronic actions and attitude, but it left me wondering whether or not he deserved her love up to very close to the end. She walked the line of desperation and letting him use her a little too long for my taste.
The Good– Since I’ve gone on and on about Penelope, obviously she is a compelling character. I loved the letters she had written Bourne over the years which opened each chapter. The story clicks right along, never boring, or lagging. The sex scenes are hot and sometimes unexpected, and a couple of the kissing scenes stand out.
The Bottom Line– I wanted to plop Penelope down in a Nora Roberts book with all the girlfriends and coffee just to give her someone to talk to and maybe knock some sense into her. That being said, I really enjoyed this book. It is a true “bodice-ripper” as two different outfits get destroyed, but the characters have real depth. Any fan of historical romance would certainly enjoy this book. 4 stars