About a year ago, I read my first romance novel, Sarah MacLean’s A Rogue by Any Other Name. The first book in the Rules of Scoundrels series, this novel came highly recommended by Rebecca at Book Riot. It was fun, but I wasn’t totally enamored. I was still pretty convinced that romance just isn’t my thing.
A week ago, I suddenly developed the strongest craving for a romantic romp through Victorian England. I quickly downloaded Rules of Scoundrels #2, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover on Overdrive and dove right in!
Lady Philippa Marbury is due to be married in just a few weeks. Everyone is thrilled about the match (her intended is an Earl!), but Pippa has some qualms about the vows she must make. She has a scientific mind and prides herself on her honesty. She’s troubled by the vows that pertain to fulfilling her husband’s carnal appetites, since as a proper young lady, she knows nothing about them. How can she make vows she doesn’t know how to keep?
Pippa sets out to solve this quandary in the most scientific way possible: by conducting research. But as she can’t speak frankly to anyone she knows, she has to go outside her regular circle of acquaintances. With characteristic boldness, she shows up at London’s most notorious gaming hell and demands ruination from Cross, the hell’s bookkeeper. Or more specifically, she wants him to teach her the art of seduction without actually spoiling her for her husband.
What follows is fun and steamy — and just a little bit frustrating for someone who dislikes things that are predictable.
Can I just say how much I love Pippa? She’s a 19th century nerd who prefers flora to fashion and resents when social obligations interfere with her research. She’s smart and bold, and I wanted to smush her bespectacled face. She’s basically Hermione if Hermione wanted to be ruined and wasn’t such a party pooper. I love a strong, independent leading lady, and Pippa delivers with gusto.
Otherwise, I felt about this book pretty much the same as I felt about the first one. It was a fun romp, the sexy bits were few but steamy, and the story felt very formulaic, as I imagine is common of romance novels. Of the two, I would recommend this one because it has such a great heroine. (Although it’s the second book in a series, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover stands on its own.)
I don’t think I’ll ever be a devout romance reader, but it’s a fun genre to dip into from time to time!
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