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No Good Duke Goes Unpunished: The Third Rule of Scoundrels (Rules of Scoundrels Book 3) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 405 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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In old school romances, the hero was often, forgive me, a prick. Brooding, arrogant, and high-handed, the heroine would nevertheless be attracted to him and somehow redeem him. No Good Duke Goes Unpunished has an unsympathetic lead, but it is the heroine. Mara made decisions with horrible repercussions as a child, which is forgivable, but by continuing not to come forward for over a decade, she made adult choices that continued the fallout. She was hard to like even when MacLean surrounded her with a gaggle of plot moppets and a pet pig. (Oy vey.) But enough about Mara, what about the old school redemptive heroine Temple? Oh, he’s a big lug. A big, delicious, magnificent, FORGIVING lug. Temple experiences more negative backlash from Mara’s actions than even she does, but, it must be noted, he also gained a kind of freedom he would never have had in the role that was his so-called birthright. Against the advice of literally almost everyone else in the story, they find their way to each other.
Fast forward 12 years, and William changed his name to Temple, and was the part owner of the Angel, a gambling den. Mara Lowe returns and Temple will exact his revenge. Good premise for the story making this book good.
I think her strongest skill is her characterization from the main ones to the side characters. Everyone has a purpose in the overall story and they are all fully developed. I feel like most of them could just hop off the page and walk around. She really understands the human experience and creates characters whose personalities are so in sync with their lives. I also love that she isn't afraid to push the envelope and provide readers with flawed people to root for.
The titular hero for No Good Duke Goes Unpunished is Temple, the muscle behind the Fallen Angel club. He is a lord who was exiled from proper society after being accused of murdering his father's bride the day before the wedding. What I found so interesting about Temple was the maturity that is shown from the flashbacks to the current day. He was the typical wealthy heir who enjoyed the high life in London until his unfortunate fall from grace. His reaction to the entire situation was interesting and I admired the fact that he was able to create a new life for himself. I also thought it was interesting that he was never sure whether he was a murderer or not and he could never fully trust himself.
I found Mara to be a hard heroine to like at first. The fact that she is the reason why Temple's life was changed so much doesn't endear her to most romance readers. I knew that there had to be a good reason for what she did, but it seemed like it took a long time for the truth to come to light. I did think that MacLean did a good job slowly revealing Mara's personality and how she used the boys's home to showcase her true goal in life.
The development of Mara and Temple's romance was slower than I usually find in historical romance, but it made sense for this type of story. These are two people whose lives were drastically changed from a single moment in the past and they are both still trying to find a place to belong. Neither of them are very trusting of others (Temple because of society's exile and Mara because of her family) so there are some definite issues that need to be resolved before true happiness can occur. They primarily connect through their physical attraction to each other at first which makes sense when you think about how they met all those years ago. But, they do start to slowly get to know more about one another and they figure out how much they actually do have in common.
As with most MacLean romances, I was blown away by the side characters and how much they made a mark on this story. I continue to love the relationship between Temple and his fellow Fallen Angel owners (Bourne, Cross, and Chase. Readers have already seen Bourne and Cross get their happy ending, but it was nice to see them have such a significant part in the overall story line. Chase is the more mysterious of the three and readers learn even more in this book that make me excited for the next installment in the series. I also found Mara's assistant at the boys's home to be an intriguing character that I would like to see take center stage sometime in the future.
Overall, I really enjoyed No Good Duke Goes Unpunished with the well-developed main characters, slow-burning and satisfying romance, and the interesting side personalities. The setting of the entire series continues to be something that stands out as well. I definitely cannot wait until the next book comes out next year!
I've been intrigued by Temple since the first book and was glad to read his story. This book seems to contain a bit more melodrama than is usual in Ms. Maclean's books, but it also had a bit more humor. Honestly. I appreciated both the angst and the laughs. Every good romance needs a little drama lightened by a good laugh.
Bottom line: Ms. Maclean does not write great literature but she often writes entertaining stories that will likely keep you very engaged. I can't say that about every book in this series, but I can say it about this one.