NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED: The Power of Thought and Dialogue

by Sarah MacLean
Published by Avon, Harper Collins Genres: Historical Romance, Regency
Source: Publisher

NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED

NO-Good-DukeThe Third Rule of Scoundrels
by Sarah MacLean
Harper Collins/Avon
On Sale: 11/26/2013
Formats: Mass Market PB; E-Book, Audiobooks
Pages: 400
Ages: 18 and Up
ARC provided unsolicited by Harper Collins for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own unless otherwise noted.

A rogue ruined . . .

He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of . . . absolution.

A lady returned . . .

Mara planned never to return to the world from which she’d run, but when her brother falls deep into debt at Temple’s exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple a trade that ends in her returning to society and proving to the world what only she knows…that he is no killer.

A scandal revealed . . .

It’s a fine trade, until Temple realizes that the lady—and her past—are more than they seem. It will take every bit of his strength to resist the pull of this mysterious, maddening woman who seems willing to risk everything for honor . . . and to keep from putting himself on the line for love. http://www.sarahmaclean.net/the-rules-of-scoundrels/#duke

 

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My Take!This dynamic book is filled with fights, alley chases, heated arguments — and that other kind of heat. And it has a simple premise: A missing woman, a lot of blood and a handy suspect in the form of the heir to a duchy. The hero, Temple, the “Killer Duke” is the heir ruined, but not poor. As the part owner and brawn behind a gambling club in Regency London, and as a possible murderer he is the male equivalent of a demimondain.

Temple seems to live an extravagant lifestyle but with a depressing air of loss and self-supposed guilt. I was unclear as to whether he had been stripped of his Ducal title (William, Duke Lamont) and family fortune, or not. Temple is a more sympathetic character than the antagonist-heroine, Mara, from the start. Mara (the girl on the cover), has a lot of guilt as well. and secrets, many secrets. I had not read the prior volumes in the series so I was at a loss as to the supporting characters identities and positions. But it did not make it hard to understand the plot or main characters in this one.

I was struck by how every word spoken or thought by the character is meaningful: bringing something important to the story or it moves the story along. If only our conversations in life were as meaningful and devoid of all the inconsequential information we use to fill the air. The speech and internal monologue disguises information subtly; almost without us knowing, and it certainly doesn’t slow the book down. This might seem obvious — that this remarkable ability to write with with a balance of writing forms, trending away from the idiot lecture or information dumping, is one of the most important features of the writer’s voice, but judging from much of what I read, it must not be.

I realized, while reading, that the way characters think and speak in Romance novels is the way we would like to think we think. Novels leave out all the dross: “I’ll get the light,” “Can you pick up some soap,” that chatter necessary in everyday life but which, for the most part, we don’t need to be told when we’re reading.

It’s one thing separating someone with a good idea for a story and a good writer of story. MacLean is firmly seated in the latter spot. I often have read romance novels that were entertaining at the moment but which were fairly forgettable. This one had great characters, and plot twists without too much foreshadowing. I did feel the attraction between the two main characters was a bit forced in that it was based on one night many years prior, and the trope of love and hate being two sides of the same coin. It is very interesting, however, that they work into the attraction through what becomes a more sympathetic view each of the others’ actions using clever interpolation of the past and present. Also, Temple admires Mara’s nerve.

As far as her prose goes, it is often rhythmic. One passage in particular struck me:

For a moment something was there in her gaze. For a moment she considered it. He saw her consider it. And then she stopped. And he saw her mind racing, conniving, planning.

page 120

I enjoyed the time I spent reading the book, engrossed in Regency London: the gambling, the Fall-of-Romedness of the time with its dissipation of “the Ton” in the face of strict moral codes. If one is to believe the romance genre, few adhered to these codes and yet they persisted. I loved the first page as the young hero wakes up expecting a hangover and some willing feminine flesh, and getting something wholly unexpected in its stead. It seems the story of every life: expectations yielding to reality.

I highly recommend this best seller to lovers of steamy romantic fiction.