Series: Love By Numbers
Author: Sarah MacLean
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: March 30, 2010
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...
Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always known what was expected of her. Be proper, be well-behaved, ne a lady, get married, procreate...Unfortunately, all didn’t go according to plan. All her propriety and good, lady-like behavior has done for her is put her firmly on the shelf, turning her into a 28-year-old spinster. Bye-bye marriage, bye-bye procreation. And she can safely say she’s pretty content with her life...Until her younger sister gets engaged and Calpurnia overhears the betrothed couple saying she’s passive.
That does it. She would no longer be passive, she would grab the bull by the ba-eh-horns and live the life she’s always dreamed of living. First order of the business: burn the lace cap. Second order of the business: make a list of things needed to be done to find the real Callie. Third order of the business: start acting on the made list. And what better way to do that than to get kissed. Passionately. And for Callie, there’s only one man who can properly do the job, the man of her dreams, the one she’s been pining after for a decade, Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston, the biggest rake in London.
In the middle of February I, after a long time, again set foot in a bookstore. I didn’t have a goal in mind, I just wanted to browse. And browse I did, until I stumbled upon a book with a pretty long title for a romance novel. The cover was typical historical romance, the inside cover as well (*rawr*), but the title was funky and I loved the blurb. So, I bought the book (and the sequel). I’ve never been more happy about an impulse-buy than after reading this little gem.
Unlike many historical romances of late, this one was “pretty simple”. As in concentrating solely on the two leads, their story, and their relationship. There were no murders, no dark intrigue, no woman-scorned-deciding-to-off-her-ex-lover...Nothing but the amazing, slightly bitter-sweet, sensual, romantic, tender, touching story of Calpurnia (slight Amanda Quick influence in the weird name?) and Gabriel. A plain, plump spinster and a sexy-as-hell rake embarking on a joined voyage of self-discovery and love.
I adored these two together. They were intellectual equals, able to hold a conversation on different topics, and their banter was fun, spunky, and refreshing. The sparks literally flew and the attraction was palpable, and their mutual passion sensually hot.
There were times I wanted to slap them both upside the head, him for his stubbornness and ass-itude, her for being so blind to her own worth. All in all, they really needed each other, he her for teaching him what real love is, she him for teaching her she was worth everything and more. And I adored that aspect of this story, the learning and discovering oneself and each other part. It was well-written and flowed seamlessly with the romance, contributing to the overall story.
Reading back, I really think I made a mess of this review, but that’s because I don’t really know what to say without getting into a lengthy, spoiler-filled quasi-rant.
Let’s just say I loved it, I went to sleep late, because I had to finish it, I will re-read it, it will stay safely tucked on my keepers shelf, it was a great, lovely, romantic, sensual roller-coaster with a surprising little twist toward the end (that it wasn’t really that much of a surprise, but still worked marvelously), had a wonderful leading couple and great supporting cast, and once again, that I absolutely loved it. (And if I could give it more than 5 stars I would.)