- Title: A Rogue By Any Other Name
- Author: Sarah MacLean
- Series: Book 1 in the Rules of Scoundrels series
- Genre(s): Historical
- Publisher: Avon, February 2012
- Purchase: Amazon, $4.99
- Tropes: Reformed Rake, Spinster, Gambling, Revenge
- Quick blurb: Former childhood friends reunite as rake and spinster. With some gambling and revenge stuff thrown in.
- Quick snark: Yawn.
- Grade: D+
I’ve read and enjoyed all four of Sarah MacLean’s previous books – especially Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord, which earned a spot on my favorites list for having a kick-ass heroine, a scholarly yet swoon-worthy hero and a surprisingly unique plot.
This one? The blurb had me slightly concerned even before I bought it:
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 such unexplored pleasures.
Bourne may be a prince of London’s 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.
Reformed rake, spinster, gaming hell. And this will be different because…?
I was never able to answer that initial question, because it wasn’t different. There is nothing here to set it apart from a zillion other formulaic Regencies. Asshole hero, waffling heroine, predictable plot, repetitive angst and pretty much devoid of any charm whatsoever.
I have no clue what happened between the author’s first trilogy and this big ol’ mess. I felt like Sarah MacLean just put her writer’s brain on autopilot to churn out something to give to her editor, expending little or no effort on creating good characters or a good story. And that left me as a reader feeling more than little insulted.
The only thing saving it from a straight D grade – or even an F – is the sequel-bait epilogue featuring the heroine’s bluestocking sister who decides she “requires ruination.” I’m a sucker for books about smart women; let’s hope the MacLean can do her justice.