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 Marquess 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 . . .
Topics: England, London, Regency Era, First in a Series, Playful, Adventurous, Twins, Forbidden Love, Social Class, and Heiress
Be the first to review this title!
Gabriel, for his part, is perfectly dreamy and the tension between them is fantastic. She's so in love with him, and so deeply convinced that he could never reciprocate the emotion. It's another play on the idea of preconceived notions, which is so much a part of her list. And Gabriel falls into the same trap. He's head over heels in love with her before he realizes it, and has a hard time accepting the idea that he - handsome, desirable to many - wants Callie more than anyone else.
Heartfelt, lots of emotion, tugged on my heartstrings in just the right way. Huge fan of this book.
Lady Calpurnia is a lonely spinster who has harbored a crush for the gorgeous Marquess of Ralston since the time she was an 18 year old wallflower. As the novel opens, Calpurnia's family is celebrating the marriage of her younger sister and she becomes unbearably aware of the fact that her own opportunity for love and life has passed her by, leaving her to a life of spinsterhood and loneliness. Impulsively, she decides to take life by the horns and creates a list of the things she would want to do if she doesn't have to worry about society's restrictions and rules. And so, MacLean does a fantastic job of setting up the action of the story.
The first 100 pages or so are absolutely charming. Needless to say, Calpurnia's plan brings the Marquess into the mix with delicious results. There are many things which are quite enjoyable about the book. I like that MacLean creates a character who is lonely and truly vulnerable emotionally, a character who has a lot of personal development that needs to take place. I really enjoyed the dialogue because I thought it was well done and not too much. I loved the family dynamic, especially the amazing, supportive Benedick (the overbearing older brother is so overdone) and the loyal Anne (I could have done without the irritating Mariana.) I think the author did a great job of fleshing out the character of Calpurnia, who I found sweet and adorable.
There were some things in the novel, however, that I most definitely did NOT like. The novel tended to drag for me a little bit toward the end and I thought it could have been 50 pages shorter. I thought the Marquess was kind of an ass, honestly, and he doesn't seem that bright. Their verbal interactions were interesting because of Calpurnia's insights and passion, not because of his. He was hot, though, I'll give him that. I thought the whole "evil mother" premise sort of weak, and in my mind it didn't excuse his poor behavior. Furthermore, I felt like the pacing of the conflict was inconsistent. Calpurnia and Ralston would get into an argument, for instance, and both would flounce off, and the next time they meet, they start going at it, seemingly forgetting their previous fight. It got kind of old toward the end...
A last word: I thought it kind of cool that the author chose not to frame Ralston's mistress into evil Satan, just because she's hotter than the heroine and happened to be with him before her. I think it may be interesting if MacLean chose to write a book featuring Nastasia's story. And let's not forget adorable Benedick...more