Series: Love by Numbers
Author: Sarah MacLean
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: October 26, 2010
Since being named “London’s Lord to Land” by a popular ladies’ magazine, Nicholas St. John has been relentlessly pursued by every matrimony-minded female in the ton. So when an opportunity to escape fashionable society presents itself, he eagerly jumps—only to land in the path of the most determined, damnably delicious woman he’s ever met!
The daughter of a titled wastrel, Lady Isabel Townsend has too many secrets and too little money. Though she is used to taking care of herself quite handily, her father’s recent passing has left Isabel at sea and in need of outside help to protect her young brother’s birthright. The sinfully handsome, eminently eligible Lord Nicholas could be the very salvation she seeks.
But the lady must be wary and not do anything reckless and foolish…like falling madly, passionately in love.
This is a perfect example of how an annoying heroine can ruin a story. Because after the (almost) perfection of Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake this story was rather a huge disappointment for me. It wasn’t the writing, style, pacing or narrative voice. Because those were to par with Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. It really was the heroine that ruined it all for me.
And here comes the obvious comparison with the first book in this trilogy. While Callie also had a few hang-ups and issues, she accepted them and really tried to move on, tried to change, tried to rise above what she herself and others expected from her. Isabel was completely different. She had a bit more issues and hang-ups than Callie, but did she try to change? Nope. She stubbornly clung to those issues like a mantle of protection against the world, against everything and everybody in fear of somehow turning into her mother and driving the man she loved away.
In the end she still accomplished that, she did drive the man she loved away, but not because she tried to change, but because she didn’t. And it still took her a day and a talk with Nick’s best friend for her to run after him and get him back. I guess she would’ve waited for him to make the first step – which he was about to – but I really would’ve hated her then.
I only really enjoyed this story when Isabel was absent or during the sex scenes, when she couldn’t talk much and let her mouth ruin everything.
I guess Ms. MacLean tried to make Isabel appear strong and resilient, but instead she came through as petulant, too-stubborn, a little selfish, and a whole lot annoying.
Another comparison comes to mind, this time between the hero of Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Nick’s twin brother and Nick. I guess the roles between hero and heroine were reversed when it came to this book.
While in Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake it was Callie who embraced her feelings first, tried to make Gabriel see reason, tried to change him a little, and ended up hurt toward the end, in Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord it was the hero, Nick, who said the L-word first, and ended up hurt toward the end.
While this was yet another great example of Ms. MacLean’s writing, I just couldn’t get past the heroine and her behavior. Thanks to Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, I came to expect a lot and was actually looking forward to Nick’s story, since Nick was supposed to be the “handsomer and more gentlemanly of the St. John twins”. I love him to bits, but I feel his story didn’t do him justice and he sure didn’t get what he deserved in the heroine department.