A Rogue by Any Other Name (The First Rule of Scoundrels #1)

Rogue by Any Other NameBy Sarah MacLean

Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Publisher

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.

Goodreads Summary

Sarah MacLean is seriously one of my top three favorite historical romance authors. Last year’s Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart was I believe the only book out of about 150 that I reviewed that I gave an A+ to. This wasn’t quite that good – I don’t know if anyone could handle me giving out more than one A+ rating in a year’s span – but it still had everything I loved about her style and characters.

At the tender age of 21, the Marquess of Bourne lost all of his holdings except for his title and the single, empty Falconwell Manor to the scheming Viscount Langford in a card game. Ten years later, a completely embittered Bourne has dragged himself back up, wealthier than ever with a completely scandalous reputation and a quarter stake in The Fallen Angel, one of London’s most exclusive gambling halls. He’s really beyond embittered. He’s veered into cold, unfeeling somewhat irredeemable jerk. In other words, he’s my kind of historical hero.

When he finds out all of the holdings he lost and desperately want back have become attached to Lady Penelope Marbury’s ring finger, he does the only reasonable thing, kidnapping her, ruining her and blackmailing her into a cruel, loveless marriage.

Penelope and Michael had practically grown up together (along with Langford’s son Tommy), so when she first saw him again, she was happy. That didn’t quite last when she realized what he wanted and how cold he was. I love, love how MacLean writes her heroines. They’re always just so complicated – in a single scene, Penelope will be angry, sad, blissful, ashamed, resolute – and it all makes perfect sense for her character, for the situation and never seems overwrought. Michael just affects her so much, it didn’t matter to me if she loved him yet or not, I was reaching for my Kleenex sometimes when he cut her badly.

I have some affection for my damaged heroes. Anne Stuart’s House of Rohan series is one of my favorites because they’re just so dastardly – Bourne isn’t necessarily that bad though. I understood why he did what he did, even though he really was a pig. Getting to be inside his head as he was doing it helped and I really was satisfied by his redemption although the sort of quick, out-of-nowhere way it happened bothered me a bit. I always love some crazy drama. What’s the fun of discovering love out of the blue?

My Summary: This story isn’t as complex as the books in the last series but it was still very enjoyable. Penelope wasn’t a hilarious character but she was stubborn, fiery, sexy and had guts – all things that made her easy to like and perfect for a guy like Michael who was a heartless cad with an honorable heart under the surface. Kind of way under there. I really can’t wait for the next book in the series – there was a teaser at the end that tells who the couple will be.

My Rating: A-



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