My review cross-posted from Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/reviews/Feb10/ninerulestobreakwhenromancingarake.sm.html
Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed society’s rules, as befitting a lady of her station. But even when one possesses a sizeable dowry, plain looks and proper behavior don’t lead to marriage proposals. At twenty-eight years old, Callie is firmly on the shelf, relegated to Spinster Seating at balls while her younger sister takes the ton by storm and captures the heart of a handsome young duke. One day Callie decides she has had it with being a passive observer of life. She wants to live and to do so she makes up a list of nine things proper ladies are not supposed to do. The first item on her list, namely to experience a passionate kiss, can only be completed with participation of the man she’s been in love with for over a decade: Gabriel St. John, Marquess of Ralston and undeniable rake.
Gabriel is surprised when the very plain and proper Lady Calpurnia Hartwell shows up at his home in the middle of the night seeking a kiss. Her arrival is fortuitous, however. Gabriel has just learned he has a half-sister, Juliana, whose legitimacy is questionable at best and he needs someone with a sterling reputation to help launch Juliana into society. In exchange for the kiss, Callie will teach Juliana the ins and outs she needs to know to become a social success.
But Callie and Gabriel’s simple deal turns out to be not-so-simple after all. One kiss leads to each desiring more and when Gabriel learns of Callie’s list, he’s determined she won’t go haring off on her adventures alone. Will close quarters lead to love between a wicked rake and an oft-overlooked spinster?
There are few things more entertaining than watching a heroine who has always obeyed the rules take a chance and break some of them. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is a lively romance novel about a heroine who spends her life on the sidelines finally taking charge of her life, which leads to adventure and romance with a sinful marquess. Callie is a heroine many women can relate to. She’s intelligent and kind, but a bit overweight and not the glamorous beauty that would capture the interest of society. I loved watching Callie not only break the rules, but to see her truly come into herself as she does so. What’s more, I had to smile as Gabriel, devilishly handsome hero and notorious rake, tried to keep up with Callie on her escapades. What I liked so much about Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is Gabriel seeing and appreciating Callie for who she truly is; that alone could grab my heart.
Sarah MacLean is a fresh new voice in historical romance and Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is sure to garner her many fans. I absolutely adored Callie and Gabriel’s story and I desperately hope Ms. MacLean writes books for the other two St. John siblings.