The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean
Book One of the Scandal & Scoundrel series
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: December 29, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***
Summary (from Goodreads):
LADY SOPHIE'S SOCIETY SPLASH
The youngest of the infamous Talbot sisters scandalized society at the Liverpool Summer Soiree, striking her sister’s notoriously philandering husband and landing him backside-first in a goldfish pond. And we thought Sophie was the quiet one…
When she finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, Sophie Talbot does what she must to escape the city and its judgment—she flees on the back of a carriage, vowing never to return to London…or to society. But the carriage isn’t saving her from ruin. It’s filled with it.
ROYAL ROGUE'S REIGN OF RAVISHMENT!
The Marquess of Eversley was espied descending a rose trellis—escaping an irate Earl and his once-future countess. No lady is safe from Eversley’s Engagement Ending Escapades!
Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, a quality that results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a furious summons home, and a long, boring trip to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the trip becomes anything but boring.
WAR? OR MORE?
He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, and suddenly opposites are altogether too attractive…
What I Liked:
This is my first Sarah MacLean book! I decided to read it as part of the Avon Addicts recommendations (and I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss, this did not affect my opinion, etc.). This year has been a good year of first - I also read my first book by Lisa Kleypas, Richelle Mead, Rachel Vincent, and Rachel Caine!
Sophie is youngest of the Dangerous Daughters, the one who hasn't been embroiled in a scandal... until she pushes her brother-in-law in a fish pond when she catches him with a woman who isn't her sister. So, Sophie does the logical thing - she runs. She buys the livery from a boy waiting on a carriage, and hitches a ride with that carriage. It turns out it's the carriage of the Marquess of Eversley, notorious rake. King (the marquess) is heading to Scotland to meet his dying father. Sophie is trying to head to Mossbend, also near the Scottish border. While King doesn't want to help Sophie, he definitely doesn't want to see her bumble her way to Mossbend - with the money she took from him, no less. He doesn't want to arrived into marriage by ANYONE, especially not a Dangerous Daughter. But the attraction between the pair simmers and boils, and it's not long before Sophie finds out secrets that King holds close, and she wants to be there for him.
The beginning of this book was HILARIOUS. Sophie pushing her brother-in-law into a pond of fish? Priceless. Of course, you can't do that in polite society - especially if the man is a duke. Cheating brother-in-law or not... so Sophie runs away, and runs into the Marquess of Eversley - quite literally. She is convinced that he will take her to as far as Mayfair, but as it would turn out, they're both going towards Scotland. The journey awaits!
I liked Sophie, for the most part. She is very intelligent and supposedly sort of plain? She's not the most appealing of the Dangerous Daughters, and people know it (including her). She's smart and opinionated, the "unfun" boring one. I like how intelligent and kind she is, as well as how she stands up for herself.
King, the Marquess of Eversley, is quite the dashing rogue. He isn't as roguish as most people would think, but he certainly has a reputation for sneaking out of ladies' bedrooms and getting caught. King is actually one of the noblest rogues I've "met" in historical romance novels. He's also one of the sweetest and most thoughtful, and he has a conscience that really bothers him when he realizes that he can't just leave Lady Sophie to find her own way to Mossbend (even if she did take his carriage wheels and money).
The two of them don't quite like each other at first - in fact, Sophie can't stand him, and he wants to be rid of her. But she needs him (he doesn't need her), no matter how tough she thinks she is. The two of them masquerading as husband and wife is soooo funny because literally all they do is quarrel and nearly kiss and quarrel some more. Their banter is great!
The chemistry between them is simmery, not necessarily smoking hot, but a slow-burn chemistry that burned for the entire novel. Honestly, I expected more from MacLean, but what do I know, this is my first novel by her. There weren't enough steamy scenes, but I did like the chemistry between King and Sophie.
King has a lot of secrets and a lot to deal with from his past. His father was not the nicest man, and King's love life seems to have ruined love for him forever. But Sophie gets under his armor and past his walls, and he'll find it in himself to love her like she grows to love him.
Overall, this was a great story, definitely a worthwhile historical romance novel to read. It's my first MacLean book, but I'll definitely be looking for the next book in this series (A Scot in the Dark) and more books by MacLean!
What I Did Not Like:
Two things - this book wasn't hot enough, and the drama in the last couple of scenes were too much. I really thought MacLean's romance novels were hotter? Did I get that wrong? The chemistry is totally there, but there is like, one sex scene. At the very end. Just an fyi.
And then in the last couple of scenes, the drama skyrockets. It's a lot of back-and-forth between Sophie and King. King keeps pushing her away, saying that he can't love her. Sophie pulls him back, but then SHE pushes HIM away. Then they come back together, and he pushes her away again... honestly I was getting whiplash, watching these two push and pull each other. When they finally settled, I was like, FINALLY!
Would I Recommend It:
If you're a MacLean fan, this book does not disappoint. Historical romance fans will love this one! It's a smart and clever and and sweet - there is so much humor and adorable romantic scenes in this book. I loved watching King and Sophie's emotional development and growing relationship.
3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. I'll be looking out for Warnick's book! Warnick is supposedly an even greater roguish rake than King - I can't wait to experience that!
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