A Rogue by Any Other Name is the first in the Rule of Scoundrels series, with each book focusing on a different owner of the scandalous Fallen Angel gambling hall. I thought the characters seemed familiar so I checked Goodreads half way through and realised I had already read the second book in the series… I did love the second book though, so I decided to keep reading even though I knew how most of the story lines worked out. This one focuses on Bourne, a disgraced Marquess who lost his family home and fortune gambling as a young man. Now he has more money than his family ever had, but all he wants is to reclaim his family home and get revenge on the man who stole everything from him. It seems like he’ll never get the chance, until the home gets included in his childhood friend Penelope’s dowry. Determined to get his home back at any costs, he literally steals Penelope in the middle of the night and threatens her with ruination unless she’ll marry him. If you’ve read any of my posts you’ll know that the thought of an irritating alpha male forcing a woman to marry him so he can get revenge is enough to give me a rage stroke, but it shows how great a writer Sarah MacLean is, because I loved this book.
It alternates between Penelope and Bourne’s POV which I really liked. I loved Penelope, she was funny, smart and her commitment to looking after her sisters was the best. I thought I was going to hate Bourne, but I have to confess, he did win me over. Normally books with alpha males treating the women terribly always completely excuse their behaviour and treat it almost like a running joke, but Bourne’s awful behaviour was called out repeatedly which I appreciated.
Like most of historical romance books, there wasn’t much plot outside of the central romance, but I really enjoyed the insight into The Fallen Angel. I especially loved that the club has an area for Ladies as well, where they can gamble, drink and cheat just like the men without judgement.
I loved the romance in the book, the fact that Penelope and Bourne had a history made it feel more realistic, rather than just insta love. It made you understand why Penelope would stick by Bourne, even when he was at the height of his man baby ways. This is a ‘bodice buster’ (that makes me sound like an old lady), so some of the chapters may not be appropriate for younger or more sensitive readers. Those chapters were really well written though, and actually added to the story rather than being there just for the sake of it.
Even though I knew how a lot of things worked out, it didn’t ruin the book at all for me. If you can only get your hands on one of the books, don’t worry, they can be read as a standalone. If you’re a fan of romance then I’d definately recommend this series. I’m desperate to read more of the authors books now!
Do you like historical romance, and if so, who’s your favourite author in the genre?