Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers #1) by Sarah MacLean

[rating=4] It’s true: ‘Nine Rules to Break’ does not break a lot of new ground in the romance genre. But it is SOLID romantic work. Really on-point, snappy, clever dialogue between the hero & heroine that had me speaking lines out loud. A proper scoundrel of a rake with an angelic name (Gabriel). A plump 28-year-old heroine with a classical name (Calpurnia). A nice little set of reasons why the main couple are suddenly spending plenty of time together. And some very hot and steamy intimate encounters. And no glaring typos. I rate it a win.

Some people cringe at introducing boobies & buttocks into Pride & Prejudice territory, but I am not one of them. **Newsflash: sex happened in the 1800s, because if it didn’t, none of us would be here now.** True story.

Please don’t misunderstand; I do not enjoy the casual blending of modern and historical, and get as annoyed as the next nerd woman when my Regency heroine uses a contemporary American slang term, or does something utterly out of character for an English lady of the Ton. Sarah MacLean has not broken these rules. She does a stellar job of walking the line. Her characters act and dress within the constraints of their era and expectations, they just happen to get a little (okay, a lot) of nookie while they curtsey and do needlepoint and shop for muslin.

I do have a few peeves, of course.
1) During the seduction scenes there was a lot of “laving” instead of plain old licking. Maybe too much.
2) Enough with the “men making stupid wagers that bite them in the ass” plot motivator, me no likey.
3) I love alpha males and a bit of ‘Me Tarzan You Jane’, but there is a limit, and for me it is the phrase “she was entirely under his control, a victim of his passionate assault”. BZZZT! Wrong answer, dear author. Victim is not the word you were looking for there, please move along.

Overall, a good quick sexy read that you can chew through in a Sunday afternoon. I would read more by this author.

Note: Props to MacLean for using twins named St. John – I suspect this was a nod to a letter Jane Austen wrote to her sister about dancing in November 1800 where “My partners were the two St. Johns”. Nice.

May I recommend a jolly fine romance or four, milady?

1) Tessa Dare’s ‘Twice Tempted by a Rogue’

2) Georgette Heyer’s ‘Devil’s Cub’

3) Julia Quinn’s ‘What Happens In London’

4) Lauren Willig’s ‘The Mischief of the Mistletoe’

4 of 5 stars / bookshelves: read, romance, regency, 422 pages, Publisher: Avon (2010)
Read from July 10 – 16, 2012

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