What a scoundrel wants, a scoundrel gets. . .
A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London's most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury. A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to an unexplored world of pleasures. Bourne may be a prince of London's illicit underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them . . . .even her heart.
The only reason I picked this book up was because of this amazing interview on the DBSA podcast. I DO like historical fiction and I love historical fiction romances (see: Georgette Heyer month), but I’m super turned off by most of the covers on modern romance books. They never match what’s on the inside and a lot of times they’re super embarrassing. This cover’s not so bad (pretty colors and at least there’s no naked dude groping a half-naked woman?) but it doesn’t read as “Regency” to me AT ALL.
I’m glad I took a chance on A Rogue By Any Other Name! I didn’t enjoy all of it, but I liked it enough to read ’til the end and also pick up the next book in the series. It’s fun, swoony-romantic with a very interesting setting: an underground London casino! Neat!
However, I wish there had been MORE about the underground casino in the actual plot. I know it’s a romance and so the emphasis will be on the relationship between the hero and heroine, but I found the whole casino thing so interesting I was disappointed when it seemed like the revenge plot had been dropped 3/4ths of the way through the book. Also, the heroine annoyed the snot out of me.
I think that was because she was trapped in the conventions of the “series of misunderstandings” romance storyline. (I really don’t like drama that hinges on misunderstandings– especially if they could be cleared up by just ASKING.) See, heroine and hero were basically childhood sweethearts, only he turned into a coldhearted bastard and she got a really bad nobody-will-love-me-for-me complex. I think she was genre savvy, but for a different book than what she was living in. She was expecting this equation:
reunited childhood friend + lustful gazes + sexy times = TRUE LOVE
So every time they got it on, she’d fall into raptures because omg, he loves her for real. When really? There was no evidence for actual love, just lust. And then came the heartbreak (again) when she realized that no, he doesn’t actually love her. It felt very much like emotional manipulation of me (the reader), for reasons that were completely unnecessary. So that was annoying.
Meanwhile, the hero is a jerk for about half the book and then suddenly he’s not because he’s in love with the heroine because she’s like a lioness or something. The parts where he’s trying to woo her were super cute, but his progression from tough casino owner/near-villain to cuddly paramour (who doesn’t even care about his revenge plot) was a little rushed and confusing. I think it got muddled because the hero is a dumbass, honestly.
It’s too bad the hero and heroine annoyed me so much– and again, I think they only annoyed me because of the kind of story they were in. If even I see them in another book, I feel like I’d enjoy reading about them more. Especially now that the hero isn’t (pretending to be?) a brooding dark horse character!
However! I LOVED Pippa, the heroine’s intelligent, science-minded sister. Pippa’s the heroine in the next book, so I’m totally going to read it. I just hope misunderstandings don’t drive the plot.
Read: March 29-April 1, 2014