Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean

May 15, 2011
Whew - what a read!
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart is the third in the Love by Numbers series; however, don't let the title fool you into thinking this is a light fluffy read - it isn't! This is an amazing, character-driven, tension filled love story and I had a hard time putting it down.

I liked the first book in the series, the second not so much, but with this one Sarah MacLean has struck gold. Some very good writing, Ms. MacLean! She has created quite an emotional roller coaster with two strong people at cross purposes who eventually find what they need in each other.

We have Simon, our Duke, the hero. His nickname is the Duke of Disdain, and boy is he. He's uptight, cold, condemning and proud. For him propriety and family are one - there never, ever must be a hint of scandal - nothing to embarrass his fine aristocratic family. He is a hard man. Enter Juliana - everything about her is opposite of his world. Her family is scandalous, her birth questionable, she doesn't fit in well with society, she creates scandal and havoc wherever she goes - and she is honest - at least as far as she perceives truth. Of course, these two are attracted to each other - and from that initial encounter it is a fascinating journey as they both struggle against the inevitable. (By the way, their first meeting was in the previous book.)

The secondary characters are well-rounded and do not distract from the story. There is a rather humorous moment when Ralston realizes Simon's going to be his brother-in-law. There are also no villains, unless you count the two horrible mothers. These two women make Mommie Dearest look like Mary Poppins - no filial affection from these two. The interesting thing about the mothers, I thought, was you could see a reflection of their children in them and what the probable future could have been for Simon and Juliana.

Now, there were times that I found Simon too hurtful, but that only made Juliana stronger. And Juliana's "I'm not good enough" routine was a little wearing. However, Miss MacLean has written a marvelous story and it's one you really don't want to miss!

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Warm

P.S. Ms. MacLean - I loved both Caroline and Benedick - hope to see them in future books - They deserve their HEA also!


Tracy said...

I just loved this book. I loved seeing Juliana and Simon together. Yes, he was too hurtful at times but I think it made his "downfall" that much better. :)

Great review!

Hannah said...

I love Caroline and Benedick also--Benedick is so sweet!

SidneyKay said...

Tracey, this is one of the best I've read this year.

Hannah, I'm hoping and Benedick is such a nice guy.

Melissa said...

I hated the whole theme that Juliana lives for passion, because it wasn't for passion, but to live by her own rules. Juliana is independent and shuns conformity. She has a passionate love for her newly discovered friends and family, though she tries to hide her vulnerability. The interaction with her siblings were heart warming, while she tried to deal with her feelings towards Simon. Now, Simon needed a set down after his behavior in the previous book and Juliana was the one to shake up his world and perspective. A thoroughly enjoyable read.