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Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers) Mass Market Paperback – March 30, 2010

368 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Love by Numbers Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Combine a few tried and true romance tropes, like the wallflower spinster and the jaded rake, with some improbable but amusing misadventures, and you have the makings of an entertaining Regency debut. Lady Calpurnia Hartwell, a plain but wealthy 28-year-old who refuses to marry a man who only desires her fortune, acts on a long-held crush and flings herself at Gabriel St. John, marquess of Ralston. Gabriel finds her antics more amusing than enticing, but his half-wild half-sister needs an impeccable chaperone and he chooses Callie for the role. Their proximity creates an infinite series of opportunities for the rake to practice his wiles on the more than willing wallflower. The 19th-century clothes are luscious, the 21st-century sensibility is raunchy, and it's all implausible, escapist fun. (Apr.)
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Wow, what a great book! I love it. One of the best wrenching-heart scenes ever...Fabulous! (Eloisa James)

MacLean’s devilishly fun debut novel is an absolute delight: rich in supple wit, suffused with sensuality, and enlivened with a wonderfully engaging cast of characters. (Booklist (starred review))

An entertaining Regency debut.... The 19th-century clothes are luscious, the 21st-century sensibility is raunchy, and it’s all implausible, escapist fun. (Publishers Weekly)

MacLean has penned a fast-paced, funny tale with a marvelous cast of characters who captivate and enchant. This book should come with a warning: Once you start, you won’t want to put it down! (Romantic Times BOOKclub)
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Product Details

  • Series: Love By Numbers (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; First Edition edition (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061852058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061852053
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (368 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A life-long romance reader, Sarah MacLean wrote her first romance novel on a dare, and never looked back. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical romances, and the author of a monthly column at The Washington Post celebrating the best of the romance genre. She lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Mint910 VINE VOICE on March 30, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake (or 9 Rules for short) is the first ever adult romance novel I have ever read and I think Sarah MacLean may have just led me to a whole new genre to explore! After having read her Young Adult title (and first book), The Season I knew I would read anything else she wrote and this book took my breath away! Coming to 9 Rules from The Season was very natural and just ramped up everything a little bit more. I love that they are both from the same world and time period.

Now it's time for some details. Main character Callie is someone that I could instantly relate to, she isn't as young as the other society girls and has been labeled a spinster and has been almost forgotten about. She realizes that after playing the part society has cast her in she really hasn't had any fun and hasn't gotten anything out of being a good polite woman and so the list is born.

The whole idea of Callie completing a list of basically un-lady like and scandalous tasks is written in a very clever and funny way. Seeing someone try something new is usually always funny and when they have to sneak around in disguises and in the pitch black night it's all the more fun. And add in Ralston and you are very much set!

I loved every single character in this book, pretty much as much as I loved Callie (except for maybe her mother, lol!). From her younger sister Mariana who is engaged, to her older brother Benedick, to Ralston (swoon) and his brother Nick to everyone else. The characters are fabulous. I'm very excited that this is the first of 3 books in this series because I definitely want more where this came from (as if you couldn't tell!).

And the romance, how can I say this politely, it was HOT!
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful By OLT TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 31, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't mean to gush, but this was a really lovely romance. Well written, with a very appealing heroine and hero, some really good secondary characters, in particular the twin brother and half sister of the hero, who I imagine will have their own stories eventually. If you try to summarize the story, there's not really that much to it, but it was such fun to read and gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. 28-year-old Lady Calpurnia Hartwell is plump, plain, on the shelf, and feeling that life is passing her by. She has given up on finding her one true love and decides she just needs to live, really live, and makes up a list of nine things she would like to do, if she could just get up the courage to do them. They are slightly scandalous and could ruin her spotless reputation if she were discovered doing them. Number One on her list is to have a Passionate Kiss and she picks our hero Gabriel St. John, a slightly rakish Marquess, as her kissing partner, since he is the man she has had a secret crush on for ten years. Well, this brings him into her life and his interference and participation in the other eight adventures on her list. He does so because he wants to protect her reputation and keep her from being discovered in the act of pursuing these slightly scandalous activities. Along the way her crush develops into real love and he realizes that this plump and plain woman is really lovely, sexy, bright and exciting to be with. Reading this gives you the same kind of feeling as watching a top-of-the-line romantic comedy like the oldies but goodies, "Sleepless in Seattle", "You've Got Mail", or "While You Were Sleeping". Not similar plots, just that same warm fuzzy feeling.
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112 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Campbell D. on January 30, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
You'll have to forgive me for sounding somewhat irritated in this review...I just finished this book, rather against my will, and have a few bones to pick.

Frankly, I am baffled at the rave reviews this book has been receiving. Though I'll admit it started out with plenty of promise, by the time I got 40% through it got annoying, and by 70% it became nearly unreadable. I frequently wanted to do bodily harm to the heroine, and the hero was so underdeveloped I barely cared whether he got the girl in the end or not. The emotions, especially towards the end, felt contrived and superficial.

This is Sarah Maclean's first adult romance, and it shows - the writing is very amateurish in several places. There is lots of word repetition, as someone else mentioned - there are two instances where the heroine seems to be unable to think of any way to describe her feelings other than "sadness." I believe she uses the word about five or six times in the span of few pages. There's also waaaay more telling than showing. We are told explicitly what each character is feeling and why, especially when it comes to the hero.

I have to agree with the other reviewers who said this book was full of romance novel clichés. The spinster nursing a long-term crush on the emotionally distant rake has been done hundreds of times before, and much more creatively. The book was also rife with Big Misunderstandings, and the kissing and love scenes were full of overused phrases. Although, there was one term, "sweet rain" (I'll let you figure out what that refers to), that I don't think I've ever seen, and it made me burst into giggles every time I saw it.

Here are some of my other issues with the book (may contain very minor spoilers):

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