Tag: Rita award

A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

Posted February 8, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Historical Fiction, Romance / 10 Comments

A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLeanTitle: A Rogue by Any Other Name (Goodreads)
Author: Sarah MacLean
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #1
Published: Avon, 2012
Pages: 386
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

After a broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships, Lady Penelope Marbury has all but given up on finding love. That was until she married the Marquess of Bourne, a prince of London’s underworld, a man cast from society into nothingness who is out for revenge. This wasn’t a marriage of love but convenience, Bourne married for the dowry and Penelope to avoid scandal and to ensure her sisters wouldn’t suffer the same fate.

You can guess how the story goes. He wants to keep Penelope away from his world and his underground gambolling house. She is bored, he is a prick. She wants adventure, hot sex and happily ever after. That is how regency romances work, right? Well, it does in this case with Sarah MacLean’s A Rogue by Any Other Name. I feel like I need to go back to my review of Outlander and pretty much cover the same issues again. The whole fantasy verse reality issue; my wife loves Outlander but I know her well enough to know she doesn’t really want someone like Jamie. In reality, if you were in a relationship with Jamie (from Outlander) or Michael Lawler (the Marquess of Bourne) you would be in an abusive one.

People are probably wondering why I decided to read A Rogue by Any Other Name; it wasn’t because it won the RITA Award for Best Historical Romance in 2013 because I don’t care about awards. There are a few reasons. Obviously I needed a romance novel for the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge. I know I could have gone with a literary romance novel but I was curious about Sarah MacLean mainly because she often talks about the intersection of feminism and the romance genre but also because the sex scenes are hot. Why not find out for myself?

Interestingly enough there was a very feminist vibe in this novel along with the whole cliché romance story arc. Penelope is portrayed as a very strong willed woman, willing to stand up to Michael’s stupid behaviour. She was in a situation where she had to think about her family and to avoid the scandals she made the choice to marry. The novel has a lot of other examples of feminism but what I liked about this book was the fact that most of the women were feisty and strong minded; they didn’t let the men control them. At times the men may think they are in control but they had no idea what they had gotten themselves into.

When it came to the sex scenes, yes they were hot and steamy but the fact that MacLean avoided most of those flowery euphemisms was what stood out to me. There were some cringe worthy phrases but as a whole the words seemed fitting. I know sex scenes are an important factor in deciding on which romance novels to read so I will say they were erotic, but there weren’t enough of them. Most of the time Penelope was the lonely wife and Michael didn’t want to corrupt her innocence, even if she was begging to be corrupted. However this is book one in The Rules of Scoundrels series so I’m assuming sex will be a more common thread in the next two books.

I’m not sure what the appeal is with romance novels but I will continue to try them. Personally I’m not that interested in reading more from The Rules of Scoundrels  series but maybe I’ll try book one of her other series, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (just because I like the name). Sarah MacLean’s written style is pretty good, the plots are pretty basic but she makes up for that with strong women and steamy sex. There is a black strip along the right hand side of the book cover; does anyone know what that means? If you are a fan of romance then I’m sure Sarah MacLean is someone you should be reading; it is better than the Outlander series.