TITLE: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
BY: Sarah MacLean
SERIES: The Rules of Scoundrels #2 (can be read as standalone)
GENRE: Historical Romance
PUBLICATION: January 29th 2013 by Avon
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!
NOTES: Read for AtoZ Reading Challenge
Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. Nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, Pippa wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she’s never seen before marriage. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London’s most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross.
Like any good scientist, Pippa’s done her research and Cross’s reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion—the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? But when this odd, unexpected female propositions Cross, it’s more than tempting… and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts—and giving the lady precisely what she wants.
I want to start this review by saying that this is not entirely a bad book but my review will include more rant-ish thoughts than good ones. I enjoyed reading this one but I have more things to say about the issues I found. Okay, now that that’s out, let’s start…
Every book in the series can be read as standalone but the epilogue of book 1 included a snippet, or rather an intro of book 2 (THIS BOOK) and so it’s easier to understand the first chapter of this book if you’ve read book 1. But anyway, the main characters are already part of book 1 so it’s also not hard to understand what’s happening. The heroine, Philippa Marbury, is one of the younger sisters of the heroine in book 1. Philippa, or Pippa, is the odd sister. She’s bespectacled, prefers books, science, plants and dogs to stuff that the tons care about. She’s accepted that about herself since she was a kid but now, she’s about to be married and realizes that being her is not enough (*eyeroll*). She decided she needed help, lessons, about marriage and the things that go with it – more specifically, the sexual bits. Enter Cross, or to others, Jasper Arlesey, Earl Harlow. Cross is co-owner of The Fallen Angel, the Gambling hall, along with Bourne, Temple and Chase. We also met Cross in the previous book, obviously. I was actually excited about Cross when he was in book 1. He was the playful one, always trying to get in Bourne’s nerve. I remember Cross intentionally approaching, and even taking Penelope home, to be a gentleman but mostly to annoy Bourne. LOL.
The beginning of this book, or rather the concept, is a bit unbelievable for me. Pippa is supposed to be this smart woman and yet she ended up deciding that the best way for her to get ready as a bride is to approach Cross and proposition him into becoming her research associate. She needs research into what happens in the wedding night, along with the acts of seduction, kissing, etc. It is not surprising that Pippa would want to be ready for her marriage. She sees everything in black and white. No grey areas for her. For her, it’s either going all in or nothing at all. So yeah, in some way, I get why she turned to Cross for such ridiculous idea. She didn’t know Cross, except being his brother-in-law’s business partner. And she didn’t even based her decision on that. She based it on the rumors that she heard about Cross. Apparently, according to ladies of the ton that aren’t so innocent anymore, Cross is really good in sexual acts. Fast forward to their first meeting, she showed up in his office one day and propositioning him. Again, I was TOLD Philippa is this smart girl but she acts like that? And Cross, in chapter one is already having reaction to Philippa just for a mere rustle of her clothes in the dark….
I don’t buy this…
And then there’s Cross’s past. I understand Cross’ guilt because he really made a mistake – BIG MISTAKES!!! If I were him, I would’ve killed myself. That’s what Cross tried to do as well. He wanted to die, but well he lived! And that’s the part where I have problems with him. Sure, he was guilty. Sure his parents seemed to hate him and wishing him to be the one who died and not his perfect older brother – the real heir. But still, he should’ve stayed! If he was really guilty and wants to atone, he shouldn’t have left the title, because the title needs him and his family needs him. He has a sister, who’s also a victim of his past mistakes. He left instead of doing his job as the new heir. How freakin’ irresponsible is that? One of the conflicts in the story involved Cross’s sister and he’s kind of pushed to step up as his brother and protector, finally.
Aside from these issues though, everything else is amazing in the book. First, I still like Pippa despite her stupid reasoning about needing Cross’s lessons. I don’t also hate Cross. Cross as a hero is swoon-worthy. He’s so sweet and so sexy, I must say. I love Pippa and Cross’s banters, mostly because they’re both geniuses. Pippa isn’t the only one who excels in academic, Cross is in fact the one in charge of the accounts of the gambling hall. So yeah, he’s an accountant, a man of science, which is also one of the reasons Pippa wanted him to be his research associate in sexual lessons. Whatever, I still don’t buy it. LOL. Another thing is the steamy scenes, because wow, they’re real steamy. I want to mention this now, this author is really good in writing steamy scenes. I mean, my God, the lessons from Cross – so hot. There were scenes that Cross and Pippa didn’t even touch and yet, the scene was so hot.
I love the side characters so much. Again, I love the owners of The Fallen Angel gambling hall. Bourne, Temple and Chase are interesting characters. You can’t mistake each of them for the other. I love that their characters are so distinct from each other even though their situations are kind of similar – they’re all fallen angels. Again, I’m most intrigued with Chase, the founder of the hall and I have a theory now. You see, I realize, no one from book 1 and 2 has ever used a pronoun when referring to Chase. Not even once. It’s always like, Chase did this, Chase did that, Chase is, etc. My theory is maybe Chase is not a man at all. I mean Chase is the mysterious owner and no one really has seen him/her except the partners and the partners always refer to him/her as Chase. It would be so awesome if I end up right. 🙂
Other side characters that I liked is Lord Castleton, Pippa’s fiancé. I really like him. I also liked Pippa’s sisters, not just Penelope but also Olivia, the youngest and the prettiest. I liked the portrayal of her character. She’s so unapologetic and really enjoys the ton and following the rules of the society. She can be so frank sometimes but I don’t find her mean. I hope she gets her own book. It would be refreshing to read a heroine in historical romance who is not lie any other girl of the ton, someone who really enjoys following the ridiculous rules of the ton.
And finally, that ending. it was so good. Pippa’s final grand gesture was amazing. That was really well done. In book 1, the heroine also made some kind of a grand gesture in the end so I think the heroines in the next books will do the same and I’m excited.
RATING: 3 blissful pages with lilies
I’m really conflicted about this book. I have issues and yet I enjoyed reading it. So please give this book a chance. The main characters are easy to love despite their actions and their banters are amazing. And gain, those steamy scenes.
Have you read this book? Or planning to? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.