Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Review: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

Pages: 422
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Pub. Date: March 30, 2010
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."
Lady Calpurnia, or Callie, is only twenty eight years old, but according to Regency England's expectations  that puts her in full blown spinsterhood status.  For years, she has admired Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston, from afar and has never acted on her crush as he is known as a notorious womanizer or rake.  Frustrated with her life, she makes a list of things that she would like to do that break the conventions of society, like gamble in a men's club, attend a duel, and go to a bar. One night she finds herself at Gabriel St. John's door throwing herself at him.  He, of course, finds her amusing and thinks that they can have an agreement between them as Callie might be a good chaperone for his half-sister who is entering society soon.  As they spend more and more time together, the two form an undeniable connection.  But could this libertine actually fall for a wallflower?  Sarah MacLean's Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is hilarious, escapist, sexy and a deliciously fun read.

Before reading Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, I had never read a historical romance in my life. Actually, I was sort of a book snob and judged romance novels as being super creepy and pure smut.  I always imagined older women reading these types of books by the pool on vacation and manipulating the paperback in order to hide the embarrassing covers from their children. I mean look at some of the covers; can you blame them?  However, many bloggers that I trust rated this book highly and I thought, why not? I like historical fiction (Regency England!) and I like romance, so I tried it with an open mind.  I am so glad I did! 

Lady Calpurnia is a seriously fun heroine. Essentially, she has given up on herself and succumbed to spinsterhood. She doesn't even really try anymore and just admires her crush, Gabriel St. John or Ralston, from afar.  When she finds herself chaperoning his wild-child half-sister, Callie finds herself in close quarters with him.  Sparks ignite between the couple and I absolutely adored their witty banter, hilarious antics, laugh out loud situations, and of course, the steamy sexytimes.

Gabriel St. John was like a brooding and naughty Mr. Darcy in Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. I was definitely a fan of him and although he made some frustrating decisions throughout the novel, I felt that it only added to his bad-boy persona.  

Yes, there were some cheesy moments in Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake and some too-good-to-be-true situations, but I expected that in a romance novel; after all, we can trust that the characters get together, right? I read this novel with an open mind and with the sole purpose of having fun, so I let those minor irritations fall to the wayside.

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is a fantastic book to read if you need something fun and light.  Sometimes you just want to escape the daily grind and where better to do that than in Regency England following Callie's adventures.  Also, if you were like me and you never read a historical romance, I highly recommend Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake as your first.  


  1. I haven't read all that much romance as of late, but it definitely sounds like something I should probably consider reading more of! This sounds like such a good, solid story on all accounts. Colour me intrigued! Great review, Christina!

    1. Thanks, Melissa. This really isn't my "thing," but I am glad I stepped outside of my comfort zone to try it out. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Ooo, I am so glad you liked this and gave historical romance a try. I do agree, the covers are usually horrendous. And the titles always make me laugh (but usually not in a good way). But I do love historical romance. I recently read this one, too, and really enjoyed it. I read the second in the series too, and loved it as well. I can't wait to read the third.

    I mentioned this before, but if you want to try another regency writer, you should try Julia Quinn. She's amazing! I think you would love the Bridgerton series, especially Romancing Mr. Bridgerton.

    1. I can't wait to read the second book in the series. Thanks for letting me know it's enjoyable. I will have to pick up a copy. I will definitely add Julia Quinn to my TBR list and the Bridgerton series. I will look it up today. Thanks for the recommendation, Quinn, and thanks for dropping by.

  3. I have this one waiting patiently on my Kindle, so I'm glad to see that it's a fun and light read (even if it does have a few cheesy moments). Great review!

    1. I was pleasantly surprised. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it. Thanks for visiting, Lea!

  4. I still haven't read this though I did read her teen Regency fiction novel, The Season, and really enjoyed it. I need to pick up a copy!

    I also suggest that you try Julia Quinn if you liked this one. She is one of my favorite historical fiction writers. I recommend What Happens in London or The Bridgerton series (starting with The Duke and I). I like humorous historical romance when I'm in the mood for something light.

    1. I am hoping to read The Season in 2014. It's been sitting on my shelf FOREVER! Quinn recommended the same series, so I will definitely have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation and thanks for dropping by, Christina.


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