A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #1
Also in this series: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, , Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: February 28th 2012
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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 an unexplored world of pleasures.
Bourne may be a prince of London's illicit 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.
Another stellar release from MacLean. This is a novel I’ll re-read again and again.
Bourne had everything taken from him in an instant. His guardian, the man his father trusted most in the world, ruined him in a card game. He lost everything – including his land. 10 years later he runs a very successful gaming club. He’s a powerful man with a lot of money behind him. But he still wants revenge. When he finds out his property is part of the dowry of Penelope Marbury, his old childhood friend, he doesn’t hesitate to compromise her into marriage.
Penelope was basically ruined when the Duke of Leighton called off their engagement for a love match. She’s firmly on the shelf and – mostly – happy there. She doesn’t want to settle for a boring, perfect marriage. She wants more. When Michael kidnaps her and says he plans to force her into marriage she realizes this is her chance to really live, to have an adventure. She agrees to marry him as long as he agrees to rejoin society, so that her sisters might make good matches. She also makes him agree to give her adventure.
In order to get the ton to accept him back into their fold and facilitate marriages for her sisters, they pretend to have a love match. But pretending to love each while keeping their feelings out of it is almost impossible. Her feelings for him are tied up in her memories of him from childhood. His are wrapped in the feelings she opens up inside him.
Michael is a dark and tormented man. Penelope is a bright and innocent woman who longs for something more than a boring ton marriage. Together they are…perfect. Her inner strength came through wonderfully. I very much enjoyed watching her grow into her own…and watching him fall for her as she did. She didn’t enjoy being thrown over by Leighton (something that happened in MacLean’s first series), but it made her realize there was more to life than duty. Leighton married for love, and though Penelope doesn’t hold out hope for that, she does think she can be happy. In the beginning she’s somewhat timid and innocent, but she changes as the novel wears on. She finds her confidence, and in the process catches Michael.
Bourne wants nothing more than revenge. He has a plan in place to bring down his former guardian, and that plan includes Penelope. But he doesn’t want a wife, especially not one who makes him feel. Right from the beginning Penelope has him tied up in knots. She surprises him at every turn. She isn’t the same girl he remembers from childhood. She’s bold and warm and caring and willing to stand up for those she cares about..and she’s way too good for him. He’s determined to protect her from himself. He starts out as cold and cynical, but Penelope wears him down. She opens him up and makes him want more from life.
The characters were well drawn and three-dimensional. In the end I came to care for him. I ended the novel feeling warm and fuzzy inside. What more can a reader ask for?
5 out of 5