Series: Love by Numbers #1
Also in this series: Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart
Genres: Historical, Romance
A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen’s club.
Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she’s vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she’s been missing.
But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.
If she’s not careful, she’ll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love.
Sarah MacLean is my new favorite.
Thoughts on Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
Do you ever have a book that has you glancing over to the next page because you have to see what’s happening next and then going back to your page and furiously reading? That was Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. Lots of furious reading. And it was glorious. Sarah MacLean doesn’t disappoint.
I have a confession to make, though. Calpurnia—Callie—is often considered “plain” because she has brown hair and eyes. And I’m trying to figure out why it bothers me less here than in, say, Someone Like You. It always bothers me to see brown-eyed, brown-haired characters considered plain. But perhaps the difference here is that Callie is internalizing and accepting what society has told her—like what society today still tells us. I can relate to that.
But what’s more: Ralston, too, thinks Callie plain. Until he looks closer and gets to know her. And that’s what I find redeeming about Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake: brown-eyed, brown-haired Callie turns from plain to lovely. Or rather, she always has been. In a way, it forces us to reconsider what it means to be “plain.” And that brown is beautiful too.
It helps too, that Callie just wants to fight for her happiness. She wants to experience everything that’s been denied to her because she had the “misfortune” of being born a woman. And I love when women buck tradition. I love when strong, pig-headed men fall hard. When self-proclaimed “ne’er fall in love”ers fall in love.
Sarah MacLean’s historical romances hit my happy spot. The kind of happy spot that has me curled up in a chair reading the book cover to cover because I can’t force myself to stop. The happy spot that has me eyeing the next book in the series, which I also picked up at the library, and thinking I better start that one soon. And I shall.