First Lines: The eight of diamonds ruined him. If it had been the six, he might have saved himself. If it had been the seven, he would have walked away with triple his holdings. But it was the eight.
After doing Romance Month all February, I got on a kick of reading a bunch of romances, including rereading a number of them that I truly loved when I read them the first time. One of my favorite romance authors, Sarah MacLean, was a sure bet. (Ha, the irony of saying that with this book…you’ll see.) After talking about her in one post, I wanted to go back and reread this book, one that I barely remembered.
Ten years ago, the Marquess of Bourne lost everything. Cast out of society with nothing but the clothes on his back and his title, he spent years harboring resentment and ill-will toward the aristocracy. Now he’s a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, willing to do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance–including marrying Lady Penelope Marbury. After a broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships, Penelope finds she has little interest anymore in a quiet marriage. She wants something more out of life, something exciting. How lucky for her her new husband (and childhood best friend) lives a very exciting life. Bourne vows to keep Penelope away from his wicked lifestyle, a vow he may not be able to keep when Penelope keeps finding ways to tempt him.
With my reread, I saw once more what it was I love so much about Sarah MacLean.
Bourne is a scoundrel, through and through. He is cold, unfeeling, and surrounded by darkness. Even when he knows he might be hurting Penelope by taking away her future and shackling her to him, he can’t find a way to stop himself. He wants revenge too much. But he’s truly not a bad person, either. He’s suffered a lot in his time and it’s colored his outlook on life. Penelope recognizes that and she does her best to understand how her childhood friend has turned so cold. It was all about survival and finding a way to move forward each day.
My only mark against this book is that Bourne can be a bit too overwhelming and overbearing at times. It can rub readers the wrong way, like it did me at times.
Not only are the characters amazing, from the main ones to the minor ones, but the world we inhabit is lush. It’s so easy to picture the Fallen Angel club and all its decadence. It’s easy to get sucked into the customs, fashions, and expectations of the time. Everything has a very real immediacy to it, as though you’re actually there.
I also love the fantastically intricate and twisting plot. The thing about MacLean is that she writes stories that have amazing plot lines. This one mostly revolves around Bourne’s desire for revenge, but there’s also quite a bit about the Fallen Angel, Penelope’s family, and the fumblings of the early days of marriage. I can usually pick out certain things that will happen at the end, but I can never predict the whole thing.
The emotions are intense. I think I reread this book in less than a day. I was just that sucked into it. It’s quite a lot of fun.