Monday, December 30, 2013

REVIEW: "No Good Duke Goes Unpunished" by Sarah MacLean


No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (The Rules of Scoundrels, #3)
No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean
(Rules of Scoundrels #3)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Book Depository
Author Website

For Ages 18+
Historical Romance
Avon -- November 26, 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Alpha Hero, Tortured Hero, Reunited Couple

SUMMARY
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.


FIRST LINE
"He woke with a splitting head and a hard cock."

MY THOUGHTS
Another amazing story from one of my current favorite historical writers!  I have loved MacLean's books since her debut, Nine Rules To Break When Romancing a Rake, but I really think that she has taken a major step up with this series.  Her focus on the Fallen Angel club has provided some intriguing characters, plenty of drama, and social commentary which I always enjoy in historical romance.

I think her strongest skill is her characterization from the main ones to the side characters.  Everyone has a purpose in the overall story and they are all fully developed.  I feel like most of them could just hop off the page and walk around.  She really understands the human experience and creates characters whose personalities are so in sync with their lives.  I also love that she isn't afraid to push the envelope and provide readers with flawed people to root for.

The titular hero for No Good Duke Goes Unpunished is Temple, the muscle behind the Fallen Angel club.  He is a lord who was exiled from proper society after being accused of murdering his father's bride the day before the wedding.  What I found so interesting about Temple was the maturity that is shown from the flashbacks to the current day.  He was the typical wealthy heir who enjoyed the high life in London until his unfortunate fall from grace.  His reaction to the entire situation was interesting and I admired the fact that he was able to create a new life for himself.  I also thought it was interesting that he was never sure whether he was a murderer or not and he could never fully trust himself.

I found Mara to be a hard heroine to like at first.  The fact that she is the reason why Temple's life was changed so much doesn't endear her to most romance readers.  I knew that there had to be a good reason for what she did, but it seemed like it took a long time for the truth to come to light.  I did think that MacLean did a good job slowly revealing Mara's personality and how she used the boys's home to showcase her true goal in life.

The development of Mara and Temple's romance was slower than I usually find in historical romance, but it made sense for this type of story.  These are two people whose lives were drastically changed from a single moment in the past and they are both still trying to find a place to belong.  Neither of them are very trusting of others (Temple because of society's exile and Mara because of her family) so there are some definite issues that need to be resolved before true happiness can occur.  They primarily connect through their physical attraction to each other at first which makes sense when you think about how they met all those years ago.  But, they do start to slowly get to know more about one another and they figure out how much they actually do have in common.

As with most MacLean romances, I was blown away by the side characters and how much they made a mark on this story.  I continue to love the relationship between Temple and his fellow Fallen Angel owners (Bourne, Cross, and Chase.  Readers have already seen Bourne and Cross get their happy ending, but it was nice to see them have such a significant part in the overall story line.  Chase is the more mysterious of the three and readers learn even more in this book that make me excited for the next installment in the series. I also found Mara's assistant at the boys's home to be an intriguing character that I would like to see take center stage sometime in the future.

Overall, I really enjoyed No Good Duke Goes Unpunished with the well-developed main characters, slow-burning and satisfying romance, and the interesting side personalities.  The setting of the entire series continues to be something that stands out as well.  I definitely cannot wait until the next book comes out next year!

4 STARS

FAVORITE QUOTE
“I love your laugh. I want to hear it every day. I want to be through all this darkness and devastation. I want happiness now. I want our due. I want what we’ve deserved from the beginning.” He paused and stared deep into her eyes, willing her to understand how much he loved her. “I want you.”


BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. A Rogue By Any Other Name
2. One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
3. No Good Duke Goes Unpunished
4. Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover (Coming in 2014)

6 comments:

  1. I've been really enjoying historical romances lately, and I am excited to read more Sarah MacLean. I still need to finish the Love by the Numbers series, though. Also, I've been a bit nervous that I would have a difficult time liking Mara based on the book description. But I will totally read it sooner, rather than later.

    On Saturday I read Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare and oh my gosh, I loved it so much! It might be my favorite romance that I read this year. I need to read more Dare ASAP. Should I start with the Spindle Cove books?

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    1. I think you will end up liking Mara. I just wanted to warn potential readers not to give up on her so early. For Tessa Dare, I definitely would start with the SC series. Her early books are really good, but she really develops into an amazing author with this setting. I think I gave all of the full length novels in that series 5 stars...and I am stingy when it comes to stars especially in historicals. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. Great review! I also enjoyed this one. I have loved Sarah Maclean ever since her first book came out a while back. Great quote by the way, makes me want to read this one again.

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    1. That quote just grabbed my heart when Temple said it. I think it shows everything that is great about the couple in just a few lines. Thanks for visiting!

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  3. I listen to this book podcast called Bookrageous and one of the people on it is ALWAYS reccomending this series. After seeing this review and these comments I think I'm going to request it on the Overdrive.

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    1. It is an amazing series! I'll have to check out that podcast now. Thanks for visiting!

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