Bj's Reviews > Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean
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it was amazing
bookshelves: arc, 5-stars, 2014, historical-romance

5 "Rulers of the Dark" Stars!

Wow! What an incredibly witty, engaging, and well written historical romance! Having not previously read the prior books in this series, I was not sure what to expect, but my curiosity was piqued by the book blurb. The idea of a ruined woman being freed to become the ruler of the underworld in order to exact her revenge on the same people who had ruled her demise, seemed counter-intuitively clever. By being free to clandestinely gain access to their deepest, darkest, seediest secrets, the heroine, in turn, controlled the ton's ruin in the process. Sheer brilliance, and such a unique story line! Moreover, I love that Ms. MacLean challenges the typical convention of historical romances that generally render the heroine powerless and the hero almighty. By creating a heroine that wields power that men can only dream of, Ms. MacLean challenges the standard "damsel in distress" convention.

Ruined at just sixteen, Georgiana's concept of love and faith in men would forever suffer from mistrust. Although she was born a daughter of a Duke and sister to one too, she abandoned all hope of ever overcoming her transgression, which yielded her greatest love ever--her daughter Caroline. Georgiana instead creates an alter-ego (Madam Anna) who is free to travel in society's most debauched circles gathering society's darkest secrets, purportedly on behalf of Chase, the creator of the Fallen Angel, London's most scandalous and popular gaming hall.

One of the men who greatly aided Georgiana in her efforts was Duncan West, the owner of a number of newspapers, including one of London's most well read gossip rags. However, for 10 years Duncan traded secrets with her, on behalf of Chase, without even realizing that Anna was Georgiana. Then shortly upon her timed reentry into society, in the hopes of landing respectability for her daughter via a titled marriage, Duncan makes the connection.

Duncan, however, knows only part of Georgiana's truth and has his own secrets. So instead of following his desires, desires which he soon finds are mutually shared, he alternatively endeavors to help Georgiana with her quest to land a titled husband in exchange for information from Chase. Duncan himself could never fulfill Georgiana's wishes as while he is financially loaded, he is untitled, and moreover suffers under the shackles of his own deep dark secrets.

As their mutually beneficial relationship flourishes, however, so does their passion and feelings for one another. Soon Duncan is unable to restrain his jealousy of Chase who he believes has ruined Georgiana in his own way. He wants to save her from Chase, but little does he know that no one can be saved from themselves. Perhaps even more devastatingly, however, in a world where knowledge is the greatest power, neither Georgiana nor Duncan can afford to reveal their secrets to the other. Can a HEA ever be possible under these circumstances?

Powerful, intriguing, passionate and addicting--there are no end of adjectives to describe this great read. Now I need to read the three prior books in The Rules of Scoundrels series!

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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