Book Review: A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean (With Spoilers)

Hi Blisses,

TITLE: A Rogue By Any Other Name
BY: Sarah MacLean
SERIES: The Rules of Scoundrels #1 (can be read as standalone)
GENRE: Historical Romance
PUBLICATION:  February 28th 2012 by Avon
NOTES: Read for AtoZ Reading Challenge and Tropeathon October 2021
WARNING: Spoilers ahead

BLURB

What a scoundrel wants, a scoundrel gets…

A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.

A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.

Bourne may be a prince of London’s underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them… even her heart. 

REVIEW

I always say that I love childhood friends turn lovers, and I love it, even more, when the characters have grown apart over the years and reconnected. This is what happened with Penelope Marbury and Michael Lawler, Marquess of Bourne. Penny and Bourne were childhood friends. along with another man, Thomas, who is also important to the story. Their families and estates are neighbors and so they pretty much grew up together. Even though Bourne and Thomas are a bit older than Penny, that didn’t stop them from being close. Bourne even refers to the three of them as the trinity a few times throughout the book. But between Bourne and Thomas, Penny has always been closer to Bourne, who she calls by his Christian name, Michael. That is so sweet, by the way. Because even when they met again after ten years, Penny still calls him Michael. Even when Michael is being an ass.

And Michael is an ass in the first half of the book. Michael is actually the main reason why I’m not giving this book a perfect five-star rating. The feminist in me didn’t like some of his actions towards Penny. No, he never hurt her physically but he basically forced her into marriage just so he can get back everything that he lost – so that he gets his revenge. There were also lots of lines that really rubbed me the wrong way. I think the author is really set to show Michael as hardened by what happened to him. And somehow, I get it. I understand him. He was betrayed by someone he trusted and he also thought that one of his closest friends (not Penny) abandoned him at that time. So for a decade, all he has in mind is how he gets back what he lost and gets revenge. I mean if for ten years you thought of nothing, focused on nothing but to accomplish one thing, it will be hard to give it up no matter what changed in your life. But yeah, Penny suffered because of that because she became like an instrument and I really didn’t like that. The only reason I don’t hate Bourne completely is that it’s also apparent that he’s been in love with Penny all these years and he took care of her. And he’s also always fascinated and very proud of her. He basically worship her, if only his heart wasn’t hardened by what happened to him.

On the other hand, Penny is a badass. She’s so sensible and practical. She didn’t really let herself become an instrument to Michael’s plans, she fought him every step of the way, and in the process, take advantage of her new situation. Penny is also a victim of a scandal and that made it hard for her to get a proper match. And now she’s almost a spinster and decided she wants more in life and wants to use Bourne’s current business to achieve it. I love that. I love characters who didn’t let their hard situations become their downfall. And darn, her antics at the end – AMAZING. If Bourne made the feminist in me frown, Penny made me clap. I love her. I can understand why Bourne is so besotted to her and just like him, I find it hard to believe she’s still single because she’s amazing. Plus she’s from a highly respected family in society. Her family is really rich. LOL.

Bourne’s character really grew throughout the book. He had lots to grovel about and he did just that. I think that’s why in the end, I didn’t hate him. In the end, he did everything he can to make up for his mistakes to Penny and he became fair to her. I loved it when Penny demanded things that affect Michael’s plan of revenge and he lets her. Sure there were wagers every time that happens but still, it made the narrative even more entertaining to read. Besides, it’s expected that wagers and gambling are part of the narrative because

I love The Fallen Angel, the gambling hall that Bourne and another three Fallen Angels own. The name suit the four owners and I think the author did a great job at constructing everything about the gambling hall. I love everything it represents and what it’s trying to accomplish in the era that doesn’t women forget that they’re the lesser sex. I love the idea of THE OTHER SIDE which is a part of the gambling hall but is reserved for ladies. I think it’s genius.

The side characters are amazing, I love Bourne’s partners – Chase, Temple, and Cross. It’s amazing that their characters are so clearly distinctive even though the three of them, four including Bourne, have lots of similarities. As I said, the four of them are all fallen angels. Still, it’s so easy to recognize who is who. So far, my favorite, or should I say, I’m more interested in is Chase. Chase is the founder and basically recruited the other three. To summarize their characters: Bourne was the young Marquess who lost in the wager, Cross, as his nickname suggests, bears the cross of his mistakes, Temple is the murderer, the fighter, the one that everyone fears and Chase is the most mysterious. Chase is always present but surrounded by mystery. I’m so excited about Chase’s story.

Another thing that I love about this book is the letters. There is a featured letter before each chapter begins and they’re all so sweet. At first, they were letters exchanges between young Bourne and Penelope, and then Bourne stopped…Ugh! I never realized this before but I think letters in the narrative is one of my favorite tropes in Romance. The Romance is amazing by the way, Despite Bourne’s character, the romance developed pretty well. There are lots of sweet and steamy scenes.

RATING: 4 blissful pages with lilies

As I said, the only reason I didn’t give this book a perfect rating is Bourne’s actions in the first half of the book, but aside from that, I love every part of it. So if you can also ignore Bourne’s stupidity and understand his motivations instead, then please give this book a chance.

Have you read this book? Or planning to? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean (With Spoilers)

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