ONE GOOD EARL DESERVES A LOVER
Rules of Scoundrels #2
by Sarah MacLean
Audio: Rosalyn Landor (Narrator) | 12 hours and 33 minutes
HarperCollins/Avon ISBN 10: 0062065394 |On Sale: 01/29/2013
E-Book/Paperback Pages: 384
Library Book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Lady Philippa Marbury is…odd.
The brilliant, bespectacled daughter of a double marquess cares more for books than balls, for science than the season, and for laboratories than love. She’s looking forward to marrying her simple fiancé and living out her days quietly with her dogs and her scientific experiments. But before that, Pippa has two weeks to experience all the rest–fourteen days to research the exciting parts of life. It’s not much time, and to do it right she needs a guide familiar with London’s darker corners.
She needs…a Scoundrel.
She needs Cross, the clever, controlled partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, with a carefully crafted reputation for wickedness. But reputations often hide the darkest secrets, and when the unconventional Pippa boldly propositions him, seeking science without emotion, she threatens all he works to protect. He is tempted to give Pippa precisely what she wants…but the scoundrel is more than he seems, and it will take every ounce of willpower to resist giving the lady more than she ever imagined.
This series is a little Dickensian with its themes of guilt, loss and redemption and a little nineteenth century BIG BANG THEORY. It’s also a little weird in that I just read a Tessa Dare novel with a rather geeky female character. In the Tessa Dare novel the young woman was the heroine’s sister and seems to have some degree of what used to be called “Little Professor syndrome.” Here, however, she is the main female love interest and slightly more socially appropriate.
This story does have a bonanza of unusual features for the genre:
- The heroine, Pippa, is super smart and so is the male character. They are both math and science wizzes, one trapped in an emotional prison and the other is trapped by her gender limiting her options.
- The heroine wears glasses. Do boys still not make passes at girls who wear them? Did they ever not?
- She is very practical and except for a little sophistry in her logic regarding why she is marrying the somewhat uncomplicated Castleton, very honest with herself and others.
- When rescuing is needed it’s a scheme she launches that allows the mandatory HEA.
- The young woman wants to learn about sex and passion before her wedding, yet is willing to marry outside of those qualities.
On the other hand, Cross, is in his own aforementioned prison. He believes that his brother died and his sister maimed because of him. Considering his intelligence this is a little illogical. While I can understand some survivor guilt, hanging on to that for over six years, with your friends aware of the situation, is a little hard to believe. It is a commonly used trope in the genre, but so used it has come to ring untrue for me.
The gaming hell central to this series allows people from varying classes to mingle in ways they normally would not. And it is a very interesting location in which to place two math geeks. It allows the loftiest peers to sink to the lowest point in their world. As such it is also interesting, but the prevalence of these in romance is akin to there being a casino on every corner in modern London.
Pippa on the other hand is about to enter into a passionless, but not unfriendly, marriage with Castleton. He is not her intellectual equal, but is willing to let her have her scientific pursuits and welcomes her aid in running his estates. She is doing so because he asked and she recognizes the necessity of marriage for a woman of her time. Also, she is marrying him because she gave her word and hates deceit or dishonesty. Oddly, she doesn’t see the logic in other societal norms (like walking unescorted through London) and flouts them. And, the idea that it would be deceitful to marry a social equal when you are in love with someone else (also your social equal) takes a long time to sink in.
What bugged me a little bit is how once the character has sex she is a kinder, gentler science geek who now understands the idea of love and its transformative nature. It’s as if the loss of virginity bestows some sort of chemical change in the woman’s brain.
Ah well, such is the nature of the historical romance genre: It doesn’t matter how smart you are, love makes us all a little dumber in some respects and a little wiser in others.
While I enjoyed this as a library book download, I don’t know if I would pay just under $20 or so dollars it seems to cost on Audible.