Not too long ago I would have protested that I was not by any means a fan of historical romance. And maybe calling myself a “fan” is too strong even now but I think I might be standing on shaky ground either way.
Last time on The Book Corner I raved about Untamed by Anna Cowan—a book I described as a sexier Jane Austen. It had regency romance, gambling, and an alpha female protagonist. Apparently these are some of my favorite things.
This week I’m reviewing A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean. A Rogue is the first book from Sarah’s Rules of Scoundrels series, which I picked up as a KDD at the end of January. I first heard about the Rules of Scoundrels books from the DBSA podcast and have been dying to read one ever since.
I had very little idea what A Rogue was about when I started reading it beyond that it was a Regency historical romance. I can’t say I didn’t know gambling would be a central theme in the story—after all, the 4 scoundrels are all co-owners of London gambling hell—but in my brain it didn’t really connect with Untamed until I was halfway through the opening scenes where our hero—Bourne—loses his inheritance in a card game.
Rules of Scoundrels
Overall, the writing in A Rogue was quite good and the relationship between the hero and heroine was more or less above board, for an historical. I didn’t stay up all night reading it, desperate to get to the end, and I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the heroine but it was an entertaining read. I found the pace lagging a little through the second half. At times it felt like the two protagonists kept having the same argument (about their feelings or lack of feelings) over and over again, to the point that I probably would have only given the book a 2 ½ or 3 rating but for the ending. The epilogue includes a short scene between Cross—one of Bourne’s business partners—and the heroine’s younger sister that made me laugh out loud and cry, “Shit, now I have to keep reading!” Not kidding, I yelled shit in the middle of my empty house. 1 part dismay, 3 parts delight.
I should probably make more of an effort to judge a book based solely on its own merits and not compare it to anything else but in some ways it comes down to taste. The alpha heroine in Untamed was a huge draw for me. A Rogue features a much more demure heroine whose spent her entire life being passed over by men. And while she does stand up for herself by the end—including playing cards in the hero’s stead—she never reached quite the breathlessly HBIC presence displayed by Kit. Or maybe it’s that it took her too long for me to be really satisfied with her character growth.
Will I keep reading Rules of Scoundrels? Yes, definitely, as I find them for sale. If you enjoy Regency, demure heroines, childhood friends and more alpha male heroes A Rogue By Any Other Name is a good read.
Book Launch News
“Two beings do not compete, rather collaborate. They contribute to creation in a coequal way.”
Everyone knows magic users and werewolves are intrinsically diametrically opposed…
Seattle Police Detective Ethan Ellison, born into a long line of Quebecois magicians, leads a fairly unassuming life working Theft and consulting on magical misdemeanors. He’s spent eight years building a life for himself in Seattle, far from his father’s shadow. He works hard, lives under the radar, and fucks whoever catches his eye.
Detective Patrick Clanahan, beta-heir to Pack McClanahan, is a tightly wired bundle of rage and guilt, still trying to come to terms with the murder of his last partner.
When a human woman is murdered in werewolf territory under suspicious circumstances, Ethan is reassigned to worked the case with Clanahan in the hopes that he’ll be able to balance out the wolf’s rougher edges.
Too bad they mostly just rub each other the wrong way.