The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel, #1)

The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel, #1)

First Lines: If only the Countess of Liverpool hadn’t been such an admirer of aquatic creatures, perhaps things would have turned out differently. Perhaps no one would have witnessed the events of the thirteenth of June, the final, legendary garden party of the 1833 season.

Alright, so I don’t need to say anything about Sarah MacLean here, but I will say that this was part of my massive reread binge I went on during Romance Month. These books are like freaking Pringles–once you start one, it just leads you to the next and the next and the next…

Sophie is supposed to be the least interesting Talbot sister. She doesn’t intentionally create scandal…until she pushes her philandering brother-in-law backside-first into a goldfish pond in front of all of society. Now, her only choice is to escape London and start her life anew somewhere far, far away. Unfortunately, the coach she stows away in isn’t leading her away from ruin…it’s full of it. Kingscote “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has yet to meet a woman he couldn’t charm. But finding Sophie in his coach is just about the worst thing he can imagine right now. Convinced she’s trying to trick him into marriage, he wants nothing to do with her. Sophie, for her part, doesn’t like him either. But coaches make for close quarters, and circumstances may bring them together more than they anticipated…

I know I say this a lot with Sarah MacLean (with absolutely no consistency), but I think this might actually be my favorite. We briefly met Sophie in Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, but it’s been so much fun to get to know her more.

Sophie is bookish and unimpressed with high society. She sees it for what it is, so when she catches her brother-in-law cheating on her sister, she pushes him into a pond in front of everyone. But, realizing that she’s in big trouble for that move, she flees the party and, inadvertently, the city with the unknowing help of King, the Marquess of Eversley. I really liked Sophie’s character because she was authentic in a world of lying, fake high society women. It made her stand out, and you could trust that what she was saying and doing were what she actually wanted to say and do.

King was also an impressive character. Adventurous and haunted by a past he can’t seem to escape, King has his own demons to battle on this trip as he returns home to the father he despises. Sophie is an unwelcome distraction, but he finds himself intrigued by this girl who isn’t at all like the scandal sheets portray her.

I truly, truly loved watching these characters develop. They both have moments of triumph and of failure. More than once in this book, I was on the verge of tears because of those failures. It’s just so easy to relate to both of them and feel what they’re feeling.

As I mentioned before, the plot really doesn’t go where you expect. The first half of the book I could kind of predict, but after that, I had nothing to go on. The back of the book didn’t give me any more clues. But it was a lot of fun to try to guess what was coming. (I usually failed, but that just meant the story kept me on my toes. I couldn’t put it down.)

This is so, so good. I love a good road trip story in historical romances. Full of danger, full of a lot of down time, full of fun.

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