Summary: The second in the incredible new Rules of Scoundrels series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean.
Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. Nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, Pippa wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she’s never seen before marriage. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London’s most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross.
Like any good scientist, Pippa’s done her research and Cross’s reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion—the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? But when this odd, unexpected female propositions Cross, it’s more than tempting . . . and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts—and giving the lady precisely what she wants.
Heroine: I like that Philippa Marbury is exceptionally different than other romance heroines. For instance, she wears glasses. Secondly, she likes science! I’m usually a sucker for protagonists who go out of their way to learn – even if this isn’t something that’s expected for women in the time period.
Hero: My main issue with this book is Cross. His reasons for being a “tortured” hero just didn’t compel me enough. I can see why he would feel guilty over his brother’s death, but it didn’t make sense to me for him to put that much burden on himself. I just wanted him to stop feeling sorry for himself as opposed to empathizing with him. I like the fact that he was noble enough to not want to ruin Pippa, but I wasn’t falling for his reasoning of him not being a worthy suitor.
Supporting Cast: I’m really looking forward to learning more about the rest of Cross’s friends in the upcoming books. I really like their dynamics as a group in the Fallen Angel.
Plot: I really love romances where the novel starts off with the protagonist propositioning the hero. I just wish that they could have gone through the Scientific Method or something because you know, Pippa is so brainy. (or did the Scientific Method not exist back then?)
Romance: No complaints on the romance aspect. As can be expected from any Sarah MacLean novel, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is steamy.
Love Potion Strength:
This is the first Sarah MacLean book that was just average for me. I guess not all books can be winners. I’m still definitely looking forward to reading more of her books in the future though!
Four young ladies enter London society with one common goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.
Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle’s most intriguing—and persistent—admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition…but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.
Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon—and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon’s passionate embrace and tempting kisses…and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.
Heroine: I like that Annabelle is willing to marry to save her family from ruin. I like that she has her family in mind, but she isn’t desperate enough to be someone’s mistress. I like that she was still able to hold on to whatever dignity she has left even if she doesn’t have much money.
Hero: I like that Simon didn’t come from the nobility class. It was refreshing and different, and I liked how it reflected the changing environment in England due to science and technology. However, one thing that bothered me about his character is the fact that it took him basically the whole book to tell Annabelle what he really wanted was marriage. For someone that’s so set on Annabelle, I don’t know why he didn’t make his intentions clear in the beginning.
Supporting Cast: I really love the Wallflowers and this group of friends – it makes me wonder why I didn’t choose to read this sooner!
Plot: I love the concept of the Wallflowers coming together to find husbands for each other. Furthermore, I really enjoyed that the story doesn’t end at the marriage. We get a glimpse into their married life, which usually doesn’t happen in romance novels. I think it worked for Secrets of a Summer Night, and I never felt once that the resolution was too stretched out.
Romance: I looked forward to a lot of the Simon/Annabelle interactions. I’m already a fan of Lisa Kleypas so I knew that the romance would be up to par. I was not disappointed with Secrets of a Summer Night.
Love Potion Strength:
– Exceeds Expectations
I’m definitely reading the rest of the Wallflowers series as soon as possible.
Summary: “Welcome to a world of reckless sensuality and glittering sophistication…of dangerously handsome gentlemen and young ladies longing to gain a title . . . of games played for high stakes, including–on occasion–a lady’s virtue.”
A marquess’s sheltered only daughter, Lady Roberta St. Giles falls in love with a man she glimpses across a crowded ballroom: a duke, a game player of consummate skill, a notorious rakehell who shows no interest in marriage–until he lays eyes on Roberta.
Yet the Earl of Gryffyn knows too well that the price required to gain a coronet is often too high. Damon Reeve, the earl, is determined to protect the exquisite Roberta from chasing after the wrong destiny.
Can Damon entice her into a high-stakes game of his own, even if his heart is likely to be lost in the venture?
Heroine: Roberta is really not that likeable. First of all, she claims instalove after a not so romantic first encounter. I guess I can throw her a bone and say she’s a very determined young woman, but she really needs to get her senses straight and go for the right target.
Hero: The Earl of Gryffyn is the “true” hero of DESPERATE DUCHESSES by Eloisa James but I guess it would be hard to figure this out if it weren’t for the book summary. I’m a sucker for Daddys with Cute Little Kids and the Earl of Gryffyn definitely falls under this category. It’s not his fault that he had such a sucky plotline. He would have been a more dashing hero if the circumstances had been different and the heroine had been more interesting and less naive.
Supporting Cast: I think the fact that I enjoyed the supporting characters and the subplot a lot more tells a great deal about how much I enjoyed Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James. I much rather would have liked to just focus on Jemma and the Duke of Beaumont but apparently, that’s another book! I don’t know why they played such a big part then, because it ended up just being a really big teaser of a book to come.
Plot: The plotting of DESPERATE DUCHESSES by Eloisa James is unfortunately somewhat a mess. Really, I had a hard time figuring out who the true star of this little soap opera was. There were subplots aplenty, and sadly, the least interesting one ended up being the main highlight of DESPERATE DUCHESSES.
Romance: The Duke of Villiers is such an anti-hero that there really is no romantic tension. There’s not even a pseudo love triangle. So obviously when you are introduced to the Earl of Gryffyn, there is a clear winner already. I guess they have banter and good chemistry, but nothing mind-blowing and quite memorable enough to make a lasting impression.
Love Potion Strength:
I guess every author has their not-so-great book. DESPERATE DUCHESSES by Eloisa James is not my favorite work by this author. Though disappointing, I am certainly not discouraged to pick up more books by her.