Saturday, May 14, 2016

#20 [2016/CBR8] "The Rogue Not Taken" by Sarah MacLean

The Rogue Not Taken (2015) is the first book I've read by Sarah MacLean. Each chapter begins with an alliterative sentence torn right from the gossip rags. The gossip always surrounds the "dangerous daughters" of a scandalous, socially climbing family. The eldest daughter is known for "tricking" a Duke into marriage, while all of her sisters are outrageous in their own ways. All except for the youngest, Sophie, who is known as the "boring and plain" daughter. Being boring doesn't stop Sophie from pushing the unfaithful douchebag that is her sister's husband into a fishpond in front of the ton. After that debacle, Sophie decides that she can't stay in London any longer.

And this is where it gets a little weird. As Sophie is running away from the party, trying to be alone, she runs into the Marquess of Eversley ducking out of a woman's window. She begs for a ride away from the party, but he refuses. So, she pays his footman for his clothes and jumps on Eversley's carriage in disguise. The carriage unexpectedly heads North before stopping at a hotel where Eversley first sees her. For some reason, he is the only one who can tell Sophie is a woman in disguise, even though she is wearing women's slippers. He continues to refuse to help her, and so she continues to pretend to be his footman. There is a lot of bickering and fighting between the two that I did not find romantic.

The next morning, Eversley awakes to find that Sophie has sold his extra carriage wheels and used the money for a stagecoach ticket to her hometown. He chases after her to get back at her, half-rescues her from some bad men, and they continue to fight and bicker with some make-out scenes thrown in. Once they finally decide that they like each other, it's kind of unclear what's keeping them apart. He can't get over his past love, she has some other ideal in mind. Then they're variously angry with each other.

As you can probably already tell, I didn't love this one. I am always more partial to couples that work together than couples that fight (although I always appreciate quality badinage). The Duke was kind of a dick. He treated Sophie badly because of her family's reputation, refusing to help her, and then blatantly using her to get back at his father. In addition, the plot felt too convoluted for me to focus on the feelings of our protagonists. I couldn't even keep all of the sisters apart. The only part I could relate to was Sophie's not being happy in London and yearning to find a place where she belonged--although her actions often defied logic. In the end, it kept my attention and wasn't too hard to finish, but it wasn't a favorite.

No comments: