Series: Rules of Scoundrels #1
Published by Avon on 02/28/2012
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
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What a scoundrel wants, a scoundrel gets...
A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.
A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.
Bourne may be a prince of London’s underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them... even her heart.
Welcome to my Express Lane Reviews, where I review a book quickly – with 7 points or less – so you can get on your way!
Point One: Doesn’t this book have the prettiest cover? I’m a sucker for pink covers. And the fact that this is by Sarah MacLean – well, that makes it even more enticing. But even with the pretty cover and Sarah MacLean’s name, I found A Rogue by Any Other Name to be a bit frustrating. It was enjoyable, but a few steps below amazing.
Point Two: Penelope, our heroine, is very easy to like. She’s an accessible and relatable character. Although she’s nearing spinsterhood, she’s had quite a few offers of marriage. But she’s holding out for a love match. Unfortunately her father has other ideas, and he increases her dowry to include a piece of land that Michael, our hero, wants. I liked Penelope, but, honestly, I didn’t find her that much different from Callie from Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. She’s unconventional, she’s plucky. And that’s nice and all, but I don’t know. I wanted something different.
Point Three: But my real struggle was with Michael, or Bourne as he liked to be called. I found him so difficult to like. He was very close friends with Penelope as a child, but when his parents died, he drifted away. When Michael is 21 he foolishly loses all his lands, money and property that wasn’t entailed in a card game. Obviously he’s upset. And he vows vengeance. And that’s where I struggled (more on this in point four). Michael is such a jerk, especially to Penelope (who has always been there for him) and his other childhood friend, Tommy. Like seriously, he’s an ass. It took me nearly 3/4 of the book to even start to like or care about him.
Point Four: So let’s talk about this whole vengeance plot. Michael is obviously pissed that his guardian has tricked him into losing all his property in a card game. But here’s the thing, it was Michael’s decision to join in that game. And later, Michael talks about how gambling was like a sickness for him. And I understand that. But why he wanted revenge on the guy that took his stuff, when it was Michael’s foolishness to risk it all seems childish. And it’s hard to fall for a guy who acts like a poor little rich boy. I really had no sympathy for Michael in this area, which made a lot of his actions very unacceptable to me.
Point Five: The best part of A Rogue by Any Other Name were these letters that Michael and Penelope wrote to each other when they were young. The sweetness in them . . . I can’t even. They did help me, in a way, to eventually like Michael. But at the same time they made me more frustrated with Michael because I could see what a strong relationship he once had with Penelope, so to treat her the way he did just pissed me off more.
Point Six: I really didn’t like the name Bourne. All I could think of was The Bourne Identity. And it wasn’t the right image for this historical romance. On the plus side, I love the name Penelope. Of course, when I think of the name Penelope and historical romance, I can’t help but think of my favorite heroine – Penelope Featherington from Julia Quinn’s Romancing Mr. Bridgerton.
Point Seven: I really wanted to like A Rogue by Any Other Name, and I did like it, but not as much as I was hoping to. I just couldn’t fall for the hero, Michael, which meant that I couldn’t fall in love with the book. It’s not bad, and I’m sure a lot of you will like this. If you like historical romance definitely give this a try.