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Home » Authors, Doll Noa, Reviewers, Reviews, Sarah Maclean

Review: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

Submitted by on July 16, 2011 – 5:37 am5 Comments

Author: Sarah MacLean
Book: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
Release: March 30, 2010
Series: Love By Numbers 1
Reviewer: Noa
Source: Book Expo America
Purchase: Book Depository
A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen’s club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she’s vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she’s been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquis of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she’s not careful, she’ll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love . . .

It might be important to disclose that the last couple of months have not been kind to me when it comes to paranormal/historic/regency/ romances – I find myself rolling my eyes a little too often and reading the back cover again and again looking for the place where it says “farce” only to find out it isn’t “a satiric look at the classic regency romance” rather stories that would fit in with things I really don’t like about romances.

So when I tell you I was beyond pleasantly surprised when I read Sarah MacLean’s Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, you know how big a step forward that is.

In Nine Rules we meet Lady Calpurnia (Callie) Hartwell and Gabriel St. John Marquis of Ralston – she’s been on the shelf for years, he’s been raking around London for years…but Callie and Gabriel have a history – one that Gabriel seems to have completely forgotten and Callie seems to treasure. Once when this wallflower debutante hid away from the crush of a London ball, Ralston spotted her as he was en route to an important rendezvous and made her feel less like a wallflower and more like the goddess she was named for. His kind words were something she has kept with her for years while she sat among the capped dowagers.

A few years later Callie is now 28 and her little sister is engaged – a love match to a duke. When Callie overhears her sister and soon-to-be brother in law wishing she could find someone to love but calling her “passive” she decided it’s time to take action and live a little! Callie comprises a list of things she has always wished to do – from very small things to a few that are quite scandalous. First on her list? Being kissed passionately. Which brings us back to Gabriel…

From that point on what Ms. MacLean has managed to create is a lovely well spun love story that kept me hooked. Callie and Gabriel are both winning characters and thankfully there were no “grand misunderstandings” that left the couple huffing and puffing at each other for most of the book. Yes, there were one or two “oh no he didn’t” moments but they just fit in with the characters – and this book is very much about the characters.

From smart intelligent Callie who just doesn’t feel like she fits in but still follows society’s rules, to Gabriel whose life is turned upside-down by the actions of his runaway mother. The thing I loved most about this couple is their maturity (for the most part;)) in dealing with each other.

Nine Rules to break was a lovely romance and one that I may revisit in the future. My only issue – I don’t think the author ever mentioned how old Gabriel was – this was seriously distracting! I kept trying to figure it out but to no avail! Help! :P Sarah MacLean was a great find and I fully intend to pick up the other books in this series (books two and three – both already published)

Happy Reading!

Also Reviewed By: Smexy BooksMedieval BookwormThe Romance Dish

Noa first fell in love with books when she discovered 100 acre wood and its inhabitants. To this day, the last pages of “The House at Pooh Corner” make her cry. In a good way. From“Calvin and Hobbes” to “The Iliad and the Odyssey” and lets not forget “Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes”. Biographies, mysteries, history books and romances all have a place on her bookshelves. Who needs furniture? This 29 year old singleton’s dream is to invent the zero-calorie chocolate. But until that day arrives, she tries to create sweet confections with whatever chocolate she can find. An MA in conflict studies (need a mediator?) means Noa loves a good debate, especially when she wins. If she were in charge, books would be free for everyone.
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  • *Really* want to read this book! Have all three sittin pretteh on my self with sad faces. Hopefully sooner, rather than later.

    Great review, Noa!

  • Mona Leigh says:

    I simply loved this book!!! It was so refreshing to see the mischief Callie got up to once she decided to carry out her bucket list.

    In fact, I really like all of Sarah MacLean’s “number” books. She has a great imagination!

  • Doll Noa says:

    Kitt- read it!!!!!! :D

    Mona – she really is refreshing – oh, and I already read one book from your box of fun – Kresley Cole whose books I love!

  • [...] is the third installment in her Love by Numbers series, but Sarah MacLean had me at the first one. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake focuses on Gabriel St. John, Marquess of Ralston. Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord [...]

    • Nelson says:

      I am ok with whatever you ddicee. In my past life years ago I played with doll making and it certainly is as much sewing as making a purse or anything from fabric. I no longer do the dolls or quilts as my daughters are adults,don’t want them, and the grands so far are boys. That does not mean that I do not enjoy seeing these items that others make. My needs presently are for some better fitting garments than I can find or afford so I have stopped playing with my embroidery machines all the time,stitching cute things for others, and am working on getting some basic patterns fitted. Some of the more wearable muslins are even in the wardrobe prior to making the final fine tuned version. Blogs like yours help so much-I cannot believe all the sewing assistance with fitting that the computer offers. This was all totally unavailable when my children were small and I sewed everyday that I could. Thank you for whatever you post in the way of sewing advice. I enjoy it all whether one blog or two.

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