Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean
Published October 26th 2010 by Avon
More at: Goodreads
Lord Nicholas St. John has always enjoyed a certain infamy amongst the ladies. As the just slightly younger twin brother to the rather notorious Marquess of Ralston, Nick's handsome face and unique occupation as a purveyor of pricey statuary has always supplied him with steady stream of attention. When the fashionable ladies' magazine Pearls and Pelisses labels Nick as one of "London's Lords to Land" and a "paragon of manhood" Nick finds himself running from the slew of ladies determined to catch London's newest, most eligible celebrity.
But Nicholas was once famous for something altogether different. In certain, more secretive circles, his reputation as a formidable procurer of missing fugitives has made him much sought after for his skills as a hunter. It is this mysterious occupation (and perhaps a desire to not be within sight of any unmarried woman in London) that sends him north in search of a missing lady of the peerage.
Lady Isabel Townsend, sister to the newly made earl of Reddich has a very unusual occupation as well. On her quickly crumbling family estate she secretly takes in troubled women in flight from the men who keep them. The Reddich estate has been left in such disrepair thanks to the late Earl's extravagant gambling habit that Isabel is in desperate need of funds to support her wayward female refugees. A fine collection of marble statuary still remains on the estate, the sale of which would surely save her household. A quick sale might be imminent, if Isabel is reckless enough to risk exposing the secrets of her house to the infamous Lord Nick, whose target it turns out, is its newest inhabitant.
As with everything MacLean has put pen to, her latest work is absolutely delightful. Since reading Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake I have been pining away for its sequel and it was everything I knew it would be. If you've read Nine Rules... you probably had a brief love affair with Lord Nicholas and you'll be happy to know that your affections weren't unwarranted in Ten Ways... where we discover just what a gem Nick really is.
Nicholas has a bad track record with rescuing ladies and just can't learn his lesson. His affinity for damsels in distress lands him right smack in the middle of a scandal that could tarnish the reputation of one of London's most prominent families and risk the love of the most remarkable, stubborn, confoundedly infuriating lady he has ever met.
I love that Nicholas is the good guy from start to finish and that the situation the story places him is one of having to choose between two actions that are both very much the right thing to do. It would seem to be a win-win situation but one right decision might just cost him his heart. In my romance reading I've met a lot of reformed bad guys, but Nicholas (and he would hate to hear it) can only be faulted with falling in love in impossible situations. An estate full of would-be scandal is just the sort romance he would find himself involved in.
Our fabulous heroine, Isabel, has a family history that has forced her to become a bit of a Jane-of-all-trades. On any given day, the running of her women's shelter might find her in the position of being forced to play the role of a man. To keep her home's secret, men simply cannot play a part in the management of the estate and the ladies must hitch up their trousers and tackle what needs doing- like roof repair, cleaning the stables, pretending to be footman to fool visiting London lords. Having grown accustom to the niceties of London high society it was funny to think of titled women mixing up their own roofing glue.
I read this book in just a few hours. You couldn't have made me put it down if you'd tried. It's charming and funny, with characters you hate having to part with.
Next spring, will bring Eleven Scandals to Start to Win A Duke's Heart where we'll find poor Leighton made miserable by love- and as Leighton seems a bit of a pompous ass, we are of course, going to need to see him naked. This usually improves a hero's disposition tenfold.
On a side note: Sarah MacLean is responsible for ruining the neatness and organization of my bookcases. I simply didn't have enough room to introduce a new genre to my library but because of her I've become a bit of a historical romance junkie. I have a growing collection of romance novels that have been haphazardly shoved into any available bookspace. Read her books so that you can blame her too.