Series: Rules of Scoundrels #4
Also in this series: A Rogue by Any Other Name, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished
Genres: Historical, Romance
By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a Duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking—in London’s darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city’s most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered . . . until now.
Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana’s secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear . . . including her heart.
Sad to see the Scoundrels end.
My Thoughts on Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover
Pretty sure Sarah MacLean is an evil writing genius. If you’ve somehow managed to remain unspoiled about who Chase is, I highly recommend to not read this review or the book’s synopsis. Because Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover’s synopsis wasn’t even available when I found out (it’s in the epilogue of book 3, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished), I had a huge jaw-dropping moment.
Because I didn’t see it coming. I also adored MacLean’s final comment in her acknowledgments, since it goes along with her evil genius-ness: And finally, to the woman who accosted me in a bathroom in Texas in early 2012 and announced, “I think Chase is a woman!,” I’m very sorry I lied you to.
Kudos to that woman for guessing.
If you’re new to Sarah MacLean, don’t start with this series. Because this book is powerful in the way it wraps up the entire series… and Chase — Georgiana — appears first in MacLean’s Love by Numbers series. All those characters make an appearance in Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover. And it’s glorious.
(This is why I wanted to do a reread of the entire series, but could only find Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord, which is when she first really makes her appearance, though her brother’s book, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart is likely even more relevant to her story. Still, Georgiana’s premise that people only see what they want to is something she learned from Isabel in Ten Ways. These series overlap in the best of ways.)
Georgiana is, quite simply, brilliant. Ruined at the tender age of 16, she’s built a life for herself that’s beyond the comprehension of the ton. She is, perhaps, the most powerful person in London. Or Chase is. And if there’s a single word I could use to describe her position, it would be: SECRETS. And probably also precarious, but alas, that’s the nature of a book. Of course her position would unravel.
Especially with Duncan West, the man with multiple newspapers and a brilliant reporter’s nose. Duncan West played a role in No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, and I wanted his story, and I’m so glad we got it. He’s driven and he wants to uncover Chase’s secrets, and he’s also overwhelmingly intrigued and attracted to Georgiana/Anna.
But seriously. These two. The secrets they had to keep were powerful and led to lots of lying, which led to lots of negative feelings and blowups and normally that stuff drives me crazy, and it wasn’t untrue here, but the secrets were so entangled with each character that to give them up was to put themselves in an unthinkable position. So even though you wanted the Duncan and Georgiana to spill their secrets to each other, you understood, mostly, why they didn’t. Which was good. Otherwise you throw the book across the room, and no one wants that.
And I can’t complete this review without mentioning Caroline, Georgiana’s daughter, for whom she does much of what she does in this book. Caroline is… well, precocious, as she’s described in the book, but in the very best way, and I adored the role she played in the end.
Never Judge a Lady be Her Cover is everything this series ender needed to be. Bourne, Cross, Temple, and their wives were back, and it was gratifying to see their relationship with Georgiana. (Also quite amazing considering the times and how the other scoundrels and Georgiana bonded like family.) I pretty much wanted to reread this book (and all the others) after finishing this one.