Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Rogue by Any Other Name

A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

Matthew, the Marquess of Bourne swore revenge against his former guardian, Lord Langford, when Langford bested him in a card game and took everything that was not entailed. Lady Penelope Marbury, Matthew, and Tom, Lord Langford's son, were childhood playmates and Tom and and Penelope both felt betrayed when Matthew dropped out of their lives after the death of his parents and once he was disgraced Penelope knew she would have to forget about Matthew. But when Langford loses Matthew's estate in a card game to Penelope's father, who subsequently attaches it to her dowry, Matthew makes a quick reappearance in her life, determined to gain back what belongs to him. He kidnaps Penelope in the dark of night and keeps her in his country house overnight until she is thoroughly ruined and her father has no choice but to agree to a marriage. He agrees to ensure no scandal attaches itself to Penelope's sisters because of their marriage in exchange for proof that Tom is illegitimate because he knows it would ruin Langford.

Penelope remembers the boy she used to be friends with and cannot understand how he has changed so much and why he is suddenly so willing to throw away the second chance he has been given and goes along with the marriage. Penelope and Matthew make a deal that he will not seduce her right away, and instead he will court her. She hopes that his scandalous behavior will rub off on her but she quickly realizes that Matthew is content to let her stay at home while he goes about his life exactly as he wants now that he has the estate he has longed for for so long. She takes matters into her own hands and follows him to the gambling establishment and he is horrified and yet intrigued by the wife who is nothing like he expected. She is bold and adventurous and he quite likes this side to her. However, he remains unwilling to give up his desire for revenge and this puts quite a strain on his relationship with Penelope, who believes his thirst for vengeance is poisoning him. They both must decide how much the past affects their future and how they can make a life for themselves.

This was the story of two people who had been in love with each other years ago but their age had prevented them from realizing it and they had to find each other again and get to know each other before they realized they had been there the whole time. Unfortunately that wasn't really fleshed out in the book and I didn't get a sense of true longing from afar that was just now coming to fruition and I also did not think that either Penelope or Matthew got to know the present person enough to realize they were in love. The two spent very little time together and for a majority of the book Matthew was downright rude, if not mean, to Penelope. I understood that he was supposed to be this big tortured hero who had dark motives because of his past but I wanted a lot more softness to him and perhaps a bigger transformation by the end of the book if I wanted to believe that he truly had changed and was a happy enough person to settle into a loving future.

Penelope was naive and kind of a wet blanket, unknowingly pining for a man she hadn't seen or spoken to in years and subconsciously sabotaging all of her potential relationships. Maybe if she had realized she loved Matthew it would have been better, but it made her came across as rather unintelligent. I also could not understand how she came to love Matthew after the way he treated her. There relationship just didn't inspire me and I wanted more happiness from them and more cheerfulness because they just seemed to be always worried about his desire to destroy his former friend. There was some pretty hot sex between them and I felt like that was one of the stronger elements of their romance. The plot to destroy his enemies was obviously well integrated into the story as it was really a central theme and served to bring them together. However, I was not a fan of it aside from how it brought them together and felt like it started to become an excuse to create a problem between them in order to keep the novel going.

Rating: This book was a fast read, but it wasn't precisely fun, and I felt like the relationship was rather gloomy even if it did improve as the book went on.

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