21 December 2015

The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean (Scandal & Scoundrel, #1)

Summary from Goodreads:

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.


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.


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…

There's a new Sarah MacLean novel!!  The Rogue Not Taken is coming out on December 29, 2015!!  (Go, go preorder, then come back.  No, really!)

OK, so, gossip columns, social climbing, secret identities, road trip, parental estrangement, and broken hearts?  Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Lady Sophie Talbot, the plainest, quietest of the scandalous Talbot sisters - scandalous because they are the newest of the new money and new titles and Society eats up gossip columns about them - achieves notoriety when she knocks her sister's philandering duke of a husband on his arse.  In a koi pond.  During a culturally tasteless garden party.  With the entirety of the ton watching.

Exeunt, stage right.  Sophie spies her chance to escape the party when the even more scandalous Marquess of Eversley - because he is infamous for ravishing young ladies, therefore causing their socially advantageous betrothals to be broken - comes climbing down a trellis in front of her.  King isn't an idiot.  He doesn't want to get married, much less be trapped into marriage with a Talbot sister, so he refuses to give Sophie a ride.  Sophie, however, bribes a footman, borrows the boy's livery, and hops on the back of King's carriage.  Only to find that 1) the carriage doesn't turn toward Mayfair, 2) it doesn't stop moving until nightfall when it is at an inn far away from London, and 3) King isn't in the carriage, it's full of wheels.  Nuts.  (King turns up a few minutes later as the winner of a curricle race.

Thus begins a trip to the north of England full of intrigue, tactics, highwaymen (gasp!), and dreams.  It's like a Georgette Heyer novel if Georgette Heyer didn't have to observe propriety in her fiction in the early twentieth-century.  I love Sophie - not quite as much as Pippa from One Good Earl Deserves a Lover because Pippa is my geeky homegirl and I lurve her - because she never stops wanting more for herself.  She doesn't think that pots of money should change a person or require them to live in the social whirl of London.  She doesn't just want to be the sister of women who court scandal simply for the sake of more inches in the gossip column.  She wants a happy marriage - certainly not her sister Sera's, speaking of which, I hope Sera gets her own book - with books and tarts and country air.

Sophie also manages to knock King on his own arse.  Metaphorically, since I don't recall her actually punching him.  And let's face it.  King needed it.  The weight of the chip on his shoulder from his history with his father is SO BIG it would crush him if it actually fell on him.  Sophie chips away at King's problems bit by bit and it's so, so wonderful.  Although I wanted to crawl into the book and punch King at least twice...why are men so pig-headed?  Oy.  Delicious, but oy.

So jump in at the beginning of a new series with Sarah MacLean!  (I want to know, really, really, if we get to see the Fallen Angel and any of the previous rogues in the coming books - we know it's the same world since we met Sophie in a scene during Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover).

Dear FTC: I received a DRC from the publisher via Edelweiss - and I have a copy on pre-order for my Nook because who doesn't love a new Sarah MacLean novel?

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