Genre: historical romance
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 . . .
I’ve had some of Sarah MacLean’s books on my shelves for a while, and finally picked on up yesterday. The writing style and the engaging heroine immediately sucked me into the book, and I finished it today in almost one sitting. I very much enjoyed it, and it won’t be long before I will read the next one.
Lady Calpurnia Hartwell is not a great beauty, she is 28 and firmly on the shelf. O she could have married some kind of fortune hunter, or elderly gentleman, but she wants a love match. And now that her beautiful younger sister has found that, the yearning has grown stronger to do something about her own boring life. She probably won’t find her white knight any more, so she is ready for some adventure in her life, to discover what men do while women wait at home for them. And fortified by some extra sherry, she makes a list. And decides to pursue the one she wants most at once. To be kissed, passionately. She has been in love with the Marquess of Ralston for 10 years now, and the rake doesn’t even know she exists. And so, in the middle of the night, she sets out for his house, to ask for a kiss.
Gabriel St. John has just discovered he and his twin brother have a half sister, his mother apparently married an Italian merchant and had a daughter with him, before she left them behind, just like she did their father and them when they were about 5 years old. He will take care of Juliana, but her perhaps illegitimate birth will not make her very welcome in the ton. He will need to find someone of impeccable reputation to sponsor her into society. And both he and his brother will have to become less scandalous, and more discreet in their private lives as well. So when a young cloaked lady is shown into his bedroom by his butler, he thinks it is his former mistress, whom he just broke up with, begging for another chance. He could not be more surprised to find Callie there. But he agrees to give her a kiss, if she will aid him with his sister. What he does not expect, is the intensity of the kiss they share, he has never felt something like that before!
When he finds out that Callie is jeopardizing her own reputation, that she has a list of possibly scandalous things she wants to do, he needs to protect her. She will not drag his sister’s name down with her! And if he can steel a few more kisses, why not?
I loved this book. I loved Callie, who is not pretty or young, and decides she has had enough of playing by the rules. She finally wants to live a little, and try some of the things forbidden for ladies. Some are easy, some are not, but I enjoyed reading about her. She is not very courageous, so it is not easy for her to do it all, but she plans it as well as she can, and really enjoys her adventures. Even if they do go wrong and she needs to be rescued.
Callie is not brazen or bold, she is aware of her shortcomings in the beauty department, she is realistic, she just wants more out of life than being a spinster or to be an aunt to her sister’s future offspring. I admire her for that.
And then there is Gabriel. Sigh. He doesn’t believe in love, ever since he witnessed his father’s collapse when his mother left them. And he can’t believe he and his title and his wealth are not enough for Callie when he finally opens his eyes to what is in front of him.
I enjoyed the secondary characters a lot as well, both their families, and I am very much looking forward to the next books in this series, hoping they will be the main characters. And I am very happy that those books are on my shelves already.
Nine Rules to Break is a good historical romance. I liked the characters, and yes, I did cry along with Callie a few times, they are very well portrayed, and original. I do recommend this book to all historical romance lovers.
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian