“Love conquers all”
A Rogue by Any Other Name is the first book in the Rules of Scoundrels series by Sarah MacLean and this book starts the series with a bang!
The story spotlights Lady Penelope Marbury who was once engaged to the Duke of Leighton in Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart (Love by Numbers #3) and Michael Lawler, the Marquis of Bourne who has fallen from society’s grace and is now a partner in London’s most exclusive gambling hell, The Angel. Years after being jilted by the Duke of Leighton, Penelope is now reaching her 28th year and is officially on the shelf. Her father, desperate to have her wed has attached Falconwell (Bourne’s estate that he lost in a card game) to her dowry. Bourne, desperate to have his inheritance back manages to abduct Penelope and force her into a marriage of convenience. Penelope agrees to the marriage if Bourne would assist her in finding true love for her two younger sisters. What starts as revenge soon blossoms into love and redemption.
I love both Penelope and Bourne and I think that they complement each other. Their passion and struggle for true love are shown through every interaction. I most especially love the notes between Penelope and Bourne that start every chapter. It gave me a glimpse of how close they were during their childhood, which was a key part of the story. “She loved you best,” my favorite quote from the book, really established their closeness and cemented their love for each other.
The villain, Bourne’s guardian, is not really prominent in the story but he has a deep hatred for the man. The card game in the end, with Penelope winning Bourne’s all other property, was a twist that was fresh and surprising.
I liked how all the other characters were introduced to us and the cliffhanger at the end of the story. That cliffhanger also seamlessly ties to One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rule of Scoundrels #2) featuring Lady Philippa Marbury and Cross (another partner in the gambling hell). Take note of all the interactions between all the characters because they offer hints to all the other books in the series, most especially the last book Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover which reveals a very surprising and shocking twist.
I did not like that this story slows a little bit towards the middle however it gains momentum towards the end. I also did not like Penelope’s sister, Olivia, who I think was very annoying and spoiled. Despite her role being minor, the mere mention of her made my hair stand on end.
Although this is a stand-alone book, I recommend reading Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart to get the back story of Lady Penelope’s previous engagement.
I give this book 5 stars with Sarah MacLean becoming another one-click author for me.
Originally posted @ Ramblings from this Chick