Publisher: Avon Romance
Interest: Alliteration/ 200 in 2011/ First Regency Romance ever read
A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.
Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried - and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.
But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss - to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston - charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.
If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all - the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love...
Finally! An actual review, as promised. :)
I love this book so much it is absolutely ridiculous! I had been mildly skeptical at first, considering this is the first Regency Romance I have ever read. To be honest, I don't put too much stock in Regency because it reminds me of the stuffy, repressed, English characters on Masterpiece Classic Theater. (Not that I have anything against the channel) Understandably, I want vibrant, free-spirited, defiant characters who can handle some scandal. Which I felt I wouldn't get with Regency Romance books. I mean I didn't even think the romantic encounters would be anything even vaguely stimulating.
I was beyond thrilled to be proven 100% wrong in all my assumptions when it came to Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. Calpurnia "Callie" Hartwell was vibrant, intelligent, sexy and practically had balls of brass. Once she put her mind to it, Callie became devoted to coming into her own, even working towards a primitive version of women's liberation.It's utterly spectacular to see so much growth in one character, especially when it's for the better. The only draw back was her bouts of self-depreciation and self-doubt. They gave her a lot of vulnerability, but after a while I just wanted her to believe she was good enough for all of the things she was receiving.
Ralston, or more accurately Gabriel St. John Marquees of Ralston was a pretty awesome guy. In certain parts he was portrayed as an utter cad, though he usually had the good sense to apologize before the damage was irrevocable. The only thing that sort of disappointed me in the entire book was his title. Everyone called him Ralston, the name of his birthright, and not his actual name, Gabriel. For me, Gabriel is a super sexy man name, very preferable to the title name of Ralston. He certainly evolved, like Callie, but on a smaller more heart-felt level. He almost had to entirely convince himself that falling in love would not result in disaster. That revelation, while not unique, is something I don't really see in men. Usually they realize they're in love and all is well, but there isn't really an exploration of the possible turmoil that can cause. So props to MacLean for making an exposed, but not sissy man.
Strangely, because this never tends to happen, there were many side characters that I adored. Ralston's twin, Nicholas, Ralston's sister, Juliana, Callie's sister, Callie's sister's fiance, Rivington, the dressmaker, the handmaiden. I loved almost everyone. I was so excited to learn that Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, the second book, will feature Nick. Hopefully some of the same delightful characters will be in it. :)
The romance, oh the romance. I needed a fan and a cold shower after those steamy interactions! Callie and Ralston had absolutely fantastic chemistry. Everything in their relationship was wonderfully paced.Even the kissing was perfectly delicious, I just could not get enough. Triple yum on that one, it nearly scorched my ears off from all the blushing I was doing.
Overall Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is a devilishly sexy scandalously good book that all romance lovers must read! Go! Purchase it! Now!
Romance Series Order:
1. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
2. Ten Ways to be Adored when Landing a Lord
3. Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (U.S. Release Date: April 25th 2011)
Teaser Lines: "You should see what she’s wearing, Callie. It’s velvet. Canary yellow velvet. Turban to match. She looks like a furry banana."