Publisher - Piatkus Publication Date - 29th January 2013 Paperback - 384 pages Genre - Historical Romance
Source - Received from publisher for review
Rating - 4.5 out of 5: I really liked it
Reviewed by - Chrissie
Book Info - Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant daughter of a marquess cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. About to become engaged to Lord Castleton, before she marries she wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she's never seen. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of the Fallen Angel. London's most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross.
Pippa's done her research and Cross's reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion - the experience of ruination without the repercussions. Who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? And when this unusual female propositions Cross, it's more than tempting... and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts - and giving the lady precisely what she wants.
My Thoughts - This is the second book that I have read by Sarah MacLean. A while ago I read Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, the first book in her other series, and I absolutely loved it. But I think that I may actually have loved this one even more. I will certainly be getting my hands on more of MacLean's work some time in the very near future.
I loved reading about Cross and pretty much fell in love with him from page one. He has an interesting back story that kept me turning the pages as I wanted to find out so much more about him and, despite the fact that he runs a gaming hell and thinks of himself as a scoundrel, he's got a protective streak a mile wide and will do anything to protect the honour of the women around him. The only thing I found slightly frustrating about him was how he always believed he knew what was best for the women closest to him (his sister and Pippa) despite not discussing with them what they wanted or needed from the situation. But then, hey, he is a man :P
Pippa is possibly one of my favourite female characters ever! She is incredibly smart and always says exactly what she is thinking, leading to some embarrassing moments where I couldn't help but laugh out loud no matter where I was or who else was around. Some of the things she comes out with were shocking for a woman living in her time, yet she says them with an innocence that just makes her so endearing. Although, for me, Pippa doesn't start to really come into her own until she starts falling in love with Cross. Before this, Pippa lacks emotion as she sees everything as a scientist. But once she realises that things that can't be scientifically proven (eg. emotions) do exist, she becomes a much more loveable and three-dimensional character.
The romance between Cross and Pippa is sweet, hot and completely believable. Despite all the obstacles that stand in their way it is instantly obvious to the reader that these two belong together. He loves her for exactly who she is, for all of her oddities and lack of social graces. And she is the woman who allows him to feel again after everything that he has been through in the last six years. And the chemistry between them just sizzles off the page. I honestly could not put this book down as I just had to find out how everything would work out for these two characters.
Summary - A perfect historical romance, with loveable characters, sizzling chemistry and a great plot. I can't wait to get my hands on more books by this author... she is fast becoming one of my favourites.
Other books in this series:
1. A Rogue by Any Other Name
2. One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
3. No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (released November 2013)