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4 Stars / Historical / Review

The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

The first in Sarah MacLean’s sensational new Scandal & Scoundrels series… all the fun and guilty pleasure of celebrity gossip, with a Regency twist!

Lady Sophie’s Society Splash!
When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond, she shocks society and finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, leaving her no choice but to flee, vowing to start a new life far from London . Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin… it’s filled with it.

Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment!
Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, which results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring!

War? Or More?
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, making opposites altogether too attractive…

Title:The Rogue Not Taken
Author:Sarah MacLean
Series:Scandal & Scoundrel (Book 1)
Pages:419
Category / Genre(s):Historical
Trope(s):Close / Forced Proximity
Point of View:
Location:England & Scotland
Setting:Regency
HEA:✔️
Release Date:29th December, 2015
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Regency road trip romance

I am a fan of Sarah McLean‘s having especially enjoyed her first novel (‘Nine Rules to Break…’) and her most recent Rules of Scoundrels series. This is the start of a new series called Scandal & Scoundrels and it definitely looked like a similar kind of book to her previous offerings and one that I would very much enjoy.

I was a wee bit worried that I’d made a bit of a mistake, though, when I first started to read. It was a bit wordy – and flowery with it – and I’m definitely not a fan of cutesy little tropes liked ‘The Soiled S’s’ or the ‘Dangerous Daughters’. Rolls eyes.

But the pace was fast and the writing soon levelled out as the story took over. I really enjoyed Sophie – an honest person who knows what she wants and is prepared to get it – even knowing that it’s against society (and her family’s) wishes. She was fun, believable and I was really rooting for her almost as soon as she was introduced. She was a little innocent and naive but I liked that about her.

It took me longer to warm up to King, however. Sure, he was a realistic character but I still wanted to give him a slap at times for being needlessly rude, especially to Sophie. He did get better (and nicer) but I couldn’t help but be a little turned off by his attitude that it was okay to be mean to someone until you know them and like them. I did think the reasons for his altruistic ruination of women across London was a bit far fetched – as was his all consuming adoration for his first love, which after 15 years, he managed to get over in the space of about 30 seconds.

“The adventure was fun and amusing as King tried to keep Sophie from getting into scrape after scrape…”

But anyway, Sophie and King turned out to be a really good couple. I like a bit of arguing and sparring in my love stories and the fact that they were on an adventure together that neither of them had any real interest in being on, definitely produced some tension. The adventure was fun and amusing as King tried to keep Sophie from getting into scrape after scrape – usually caused (or at least not helped) by him. The book wasn’t overly sexy but there was just enough smooching and good times to keep me happy.

I would assume that the remainder of the series will be focusing on the remaining Talbot sisters although none of them seemed like very good heroine material from the snippets of them from this book. In fact, the whole Talbot family were very forced and one dimensional. I wonder why Sophie even liked them let alone how on earth she came to have her character and morals when coming from, and growing up beside, such a seemingly vapid and insipid bunch of people.

It’s been a few weeks since I read the book and while I did enjoy it, it hasn’t overly stuck in my head. I’m giving it 4 stars because it did hold my attention while I read it and I was happy for King and Sophie by the end of the book. If I’m honest, I’m not sure if I’ll pick up the next book in the series – ‘A Scot in the Dark’. It will all depend on whether the author will find it necessary to write ‘inna verra stewpit and nun too relistic Scottish accent, ye ken?’ (Free trips to Scotland if anyone wants to find out how we actually talk and that we actually have differing accents depending on where in the country you’re from! And breathe…) and which sister the story is about. For the time being, this story gets 4 stars from me.

And now, time for another rant…

Have a quick look at these:

Now, I may be in the minority, but I’ve always been a fan of the ‘traditional’ romance book cover. Bodice Rippers Anonymous! It’s sexy, seductive and just screams “I’m reading romance”. Perhaps that’s why the publishers decided to change the cover of this book (and many others) for the British audience. Perhaps we’re too tame and demure for low bodices, hunky men and torrid embraces. Oooh, Matron!

Well, (and I mean no offence to the very talented British cover artist) I just don’t like it. It looks like a whole other genre of book. One a lot more sedate and demure than its contents – a book my grandmother might pick up to read. She’d sure get a fright if she did and got to the sexy bits!

I so disliked the British cover that I decided to buy the book in from America.

And lo and behold – it was a third the price from America than it is from the UK. So not only do they dull over the cover but they hike up the price.

I don’t have the money that I used to and everyone’s being a bit more careful with their pennies these days. I can tell you it’s hell when you’re a book addict like me and want to get your favourite authors in paperback. But who in their right mind would spend £9 for a book when they could get the same book (with a more appropriate cover) for £3?
Okay, that’s my rant about the book covers over. Don’t worry – I’m not letting it influence the rating of the book. I just needed to get that off my chest as I’m a bit weird and have been holding that in for a while!

New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller Sarah MacLean is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. A romance columnist and co-host of the weekly romance novel podcast, Fated Mates, her work in support of romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com’s Sheroes list and led Entertainment Weekly to call her “the elegantly fuming, utterly intoxicating queen of historical romance.” Sarah is a graduate of Smith College & Harvard University. She lives in New York City

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Scandal & Scoundrel Series:

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