Title: A Rogue By Any Other Name
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #1
Author: Sarah MacLean
Genre: Historical, Regency
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.
Sarah MacLean’s debut historical, NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE, is one of my top historical romances ever. I wasn’t sure if she could ever outdo that book, and I’m not sure it has been outdone yet, but A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME certainly comes close.
Michael Bourne (or just Bourne) wants revenge on his former neighbor, his former mentor, who took advantage of Bourne in a game of cards when he was young and cocky and by so doing won his family estate–the estate that means so much as part of his heritage. Years later, Bourne is now co-owner of The Fallen Angel, a gaming hell, and is much wiser–and ruthless. He intends to marry his childhood friend, Penelope, in a scheme to take back his family’s estate.
Although Bourne and Penelope were very close growing up, once Bourne lost that game of cards and became the ridicule of London, he distanced himself from everyone–including Penelope. Now he is far different from the man she once knew, and although she wants them to become friends–and more–again, the more she tries to reach him, the more it seems she’ll never succeed.
I absolutely loved Penelope as the heroine of this book. She was most definitely the highlight of A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME. As the reader I admired her wry humor, self-deprecation mixed with confidence, her determination, her optimism, and her bravery. I honestly can’t see how she could be put with any hero and NOT win his heart. 🙂 On the other hand, I loved Bourne as well, but as outgoing as Penelope is, Bourne is equally as reserved. As some readers adore the romance plot where the wallflower heroine must tame the wicked rake (I happen to like it a lot myself), this is a romance plot where the ordinary heroine reaches the heart of the cold hero and brings him to life again…and I LOVED it. Other readers of this book have called Bourne a jerk, and while I concede that yes, some of his actions can be construed as rather jerk-ish, I thought that it was perfect to show the man he’d made himself become–and it made Penelope drawing him out of this shell even more of a triumph.
All in all, I can’t say enough good things about this book. I recommend it for every historical reader–except possibly for those who don’t like their heroes to ever act like jerks. 😉