Michael, the Marquess of Bourne, lost his ancestral lands at an ill-fated card game when he was just 21. Ten years later, he sees an opportunity to regain them – by marrying his childhood friend, Lady Penelope Marbury. Penelope has accepted her place on the spinster’s shelf; after the Duke of Leighton broke their engagement, her name has carried the faint whiff of scandal, until now, when her father endows her with Michael’s former ancestral homes. Bourne quickly sweeps her off her feet and weds her, but somehow it’s just not the marriage she expected it to be. But as Bourne grows to know her, he begins to realize that she deserves something better than a marriage of convenience – nothing less than her whole heart will do.
Sarah MacLean stole my heart (and everyone else’s) with Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake and she hasn’t lost her touch. A Rogue by Any Other Name is an exceptionally sweet, well-written romance that will tug at your heartstrings and have you rooting for this star couple from the minute you start reading. Yes, it does make use of the stereotype of the harsh hero who just has to come around for the heroine – but in this case, we know that Bourne used to be a good guy.
The letters interspersed between the chapters of the book are so sweet and heartbreaking, from when Michael left Penelope the first time for school and the second time when he lost his lands. They’re a brilliant way of getting us close to the couple without actually shoving their past in our faces; we know what happened, but it makes that older relationship so much more real, and their present-day relationship that much more poignant.
I also loved that MacLean chose to write about Leighton’s jilted fiancee from Eleven Scandals – giving fans a perfect opening to the series, but at the same time giving us an opposite perspective. You see, in Eleven Scandals, I was 100% behind Leighton’s romance with Julia, which was fantastic. Now we’ve seen that life hasn’t been so fantastic for Penelope, but at least she has her happy ending. And it is a very, very good one.
Well worth the read for historical romance fans, Sarah MacLean’s latest is as wonderful as all her books are turning out to be.
I received this book for free from Netgalley. All external book links are affiliate links.