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Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers) Mass Market Paperback – April 26, 2011
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‘Wow! What an amazing book about two people who are meant to be together, but need fate to intervene.” (Eye on Romance)
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))
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)
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)
Wow, what a great book! I love it. One of the best wrenching-heart scenes ever...Fabulous! (Eloisa James)
“Sarah MacLean has a gift that seems to get better with every book.” (Night Owl Romance)
Sarah MacLean became an instant must-read author with Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake last year. Fourteen months and another two books later, that hasn’t changed. (McClatchy-Tribune News)
“Cleverly orchestrated and genuinely touching, 11 Scandals to Start is a treat from start to finish.” (New York Journal of Books)
From the Back Cover
She lives for passion.
Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society's rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London's most practiced gossips . . . and precisely the kind of woman The Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.
He swears by reputation.
Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening—risking everything he holds dear—he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety. She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion.
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I HATED the main characters. HATED. Juliana was an immature, selfish brat. It's my biggest pet peeve in HRs when an author tells us how bold and brilliant the heroine is, but in reality everything she is doing is immature and childish. Sure, she comes from a really difficult set of circumstances, but she's got family and friends that support her. She completely disregards everything anyone has done for her with her selfish actions. Oh...and then she acts broken hearted and put upon when she finds out the hero has been kissing her when he was engaged to another woman, but oh wait...he told her like a hundred pages before that he was planning on marrying Lady Penelope, even going so far as to call her, wait for it...HIS FIANCEE!? And then, she's so concerned about the engagement, she repeatedly throws herself at him one night, going so far as to show up at his door naked after he shot her down just a few hours before. She did it because apparently all she wants with her life is to slut it up with a total a-hole for one night. Despite her fiery courage, beauty and intelligence, she can't help but fall in love with a guy who consistently treats her like crap and has no redeeming qualities? There is no boldness and courage in acting like a victim.
That brings me to the "hero". As unlikeable as the heroine is, he's about a thousand times worse. He treats every woman in his life poorly. Shuns his (spoiler alert) pregnant teenage sister in the country, treats the heroine like a whore, gets engaged to a girl and repeatedly craps all over the engagement....etc. At least there are some people he treats well...oh wait, no there aren't.
You know, I can actually forgive all of this, if despite character flaws I can feel genuine affection and growing admiration between the couple. In this book, I was left wanting like crazy. Maybe some on her part, but mostly shallow lusting on both sides. That's fine in a Harlequin Blaze or something...but in a long format historical romance?? Not so much.
Ugh, I'm getting angry just writing this at how disappointed I am in the book. Again, I LOVED Nine Rules. Such high hopes for this book. I'm not even very picky when it comes to my reading selection, but this book has been so infuriating. I keep forcing myself to read it thinking at some point the plot and characters will win me over...wrong.
In summary, hate the plot, hate the heroine, hate the hero, hate that I spent $ on this. Skip this one, and go buy Nine Rules.
In a sense, the book's plot is rather prosaic. Man meats girl (and there is a vast age difference in this novel). Man and girl are attracted. Man and girl argue, trying to ignore attraction. Man and girl cannot resist said attraction. Man and girl fall in love, etc. etc. However, the novel redeems itself because it is both light and heavy at the same time. The "light" comes from Juliana's almost farcical adventures, scandals, or whatever one wants to call them, and Simon's staid, almost ossified responses to her actions. The "heavy" comes from Juliana's dealing with her mother's abandonment and rejection, the ton's unfound attribution of her mother's sins onto her, and her believing she is not good enough for the Duke of Disdain, whilst Simon conquers his elevated notions of propriety, marriage, reputation, and responsibility.
Simon is a very conceited man - in fact, bigoted might be the better adjective. He is, however, very aware of his ducal responsibilities and his family's reputation, which is what leads him to affiance himself to another woman, believing a "proper English marriage" would erase the scandal that is to come from his sister's bearing an illegitimate child.
Juliana is rather immature at the beginning of the novel. However, thankfully, as the story progresses she matures. She is open with her emotions and her passions. She is bold and very honest. She tells Simon she is in love with him; she does not leave too much unspoken, almost obliterating that frustrating aspect of some novels, where a little honest conversation could have saved a lot of trouble.
So, overall this novel was well developed. The attraction between the h and h was well felt (I would have liked a few more juicy scenes however '). The characters grow, overcoming their vulnerabilities. The ending is a tad over-the-top for me, but still enjoyable.
There are only two aspects of this book that disturbed me. One, that at the end of the novel Juliana's struggle with conquering the belief that she was like her mother and that she was not good enough for Simon grew a little too drawn out for me, almost tiresome. And two, that it was not Simon who ended his engagement to Lady Penelope, rather his sister exposed herself (giving birth out of wedlock) which led to Lady Penelope's father terminating the engagement. I would have liked Simon to handle his own predicament.
But this is a nice ending to the series, much better than Ten Ways, but nowhere near Nine Rules.
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AUTHOR: Sarah MacLean
SERIES: Love by Numbers, Book 3
SETTING: Late Georgian (post-Regency), London, autumn...Read more