Wednesday, April 28, 2010
YotH: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
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 . . .
What I liked: I really liked both Callie and Ralston. They made a great heroine and hero. Callie is sick and tired of being on the shelf, and having no adventure in her life. An offhand comment from her sister about how passive she is makes Callie sit up and take notice. She begins to write out a list of things she would do if she could. First is to kiss someone… passionately. Ralston had been kind to her years ago, and she’s been in love with him ever since. So she finds herself in his bedroom late at night to ask for a kiss.
Ralston, finding himself in one awkward situation after another with Callie’s adventures finds himself in the unlikely role of the “sensible” one, pointing out how close Callie is to ruining her reputation should she be caught in one of her adventures. However, they make a trade. She will help his illegitimate sister with her entrée into society, and he’ll help her fulfill her adventuresome list.
I really liked the friendship that developed between Callie and Juliana, and the sibling relationship that developed between Juliana and Ralston and Nick. Sure, there were misunderstandings, but that served to make them all human. I also loved the relationship between Callie and her siblings – Mariana and Benedick.The love there was obvious, and Benedick’s shock and horror when he realizes he put the idea of being adventurous into Callie’s head was priceless.
Through the course of the book we see growth in Gabriel – he becomes so much more than just a rake. A loving brother, a protective suitor, and a fun-loving all-around great guy. Callie grows into her own woman; unafraid to do what she pleases, willing to flout society’s rules. I thought all the secondary characters were well-fleshed out also.
There was plenty of humor (always a huge plus for me) and a lot of love to go around; tender and sweet at times, and volatile and all-consuming at others. I’m looking forward to Nick’s book as well – he seems to have some sort of secret or trauma in his past, but it doesn’t stop him from being a terrific guy as well.
I definitely recommend this one. Self-awareness and growth, some good laughs, some love & tenderness, some intrigue, a duel, and just lovely writing.