Tuesday, February 28, 2012
A Rogue By Any Other Name
The First Rule of Scoundrels
Source: Received an ARC from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.
Although I loved MacLean's YA debut, The Season, I found her debut romance Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake extremely unsatisfying. However I know MacLean is a good writer so I wanted to give her new series a shot. Apparently the heroine of this book was jilted in the previous series but you do not have to be familiar with those books to read this one.
And this one started very promisingly. Male lead Michael Bourne lost his entire fortune and land, everything that wasn't entailed, on a bad hand of cards to his mentor and protector, the father of his best friend. After losing everything, he is ostracized from society and driven solely by his need for revenge. He manages to rebuild and even outpace his fortune in only nine years by owning a gaming club and the final piece of the puzzle is Falconwell, which has been attached to Lady Penelope Marbury's dowry.
Penelope is a 28-year-old spinster who was jilted years earlier as her fiance sought a love match and now secretly hopes for the same herself; she wants more. I liked Penelope immediately, which made it all the harder to endure the male lead's, who is supposed to be a HERO, treatment of her. He is absolutely horrid to her. He abducts her with the cold intention of regaining his land; he could have played it much better due to their childhood friendship. He did not have to be a monster; he easily could have wooed and won her. But he chose the easy route, not the right route. And he doesn't stop there. He emotionally distances her while boring me with how much he wanted her body. There are glimpses of a decent person but only that. I cannot believe I kept reading, just to find his redemption.
Luckily that redemption was handled well and is responsible for the high rating here. I never got over my first impression of Michael especially because I loved Penelope so much and wanted more for her. She wanted and deserved to be passionately loved but Michael just kept breaking her heart into little pieces and proving his unworthiness. I prefer a different kind of man in my romance novel.
I guess I'm kind of getting the impression that MacLean and I just don't click. I have disliked the heroes in both of the books I've read by her and not just in minor ways but in big ways that hindered my enjoyment. I'm glad I gave it another shot but I have been burned too much.