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

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

     Published April 26th 2011 by Avon

     More at:

     First Line: In retrospect, there were four actions Miss
     Juliana Fiori should have reconsidered that evening.

**This is an adult romance novel and contains those naughty-bits we talked about yesterday**

     Respectable, well brought-up English ladies are not to call attention to themselves. They should be composed, presentable, restrained and modest at all times. There should never be a situation they can’t handle with a cool, calm head and above all, they should never display an abundance of emotion or feeling. They are expected to always be on their best behavior.
     Miss Juliana Fiori is NOT a well brought-up English lady- and you’ll please refrain from insulting her by calling her one, thank you very much! She would rather die than be considered amongst those stuck-up, cold, unfeeling, bores and she doesn’t need their approval. As the daughter of an Italian merchant and a wayward, fallen English ex-marchioness, Juliana’s parentage already has the ton’s collective noses turned up when Juliana’s brother, the Marquess of Ralston turns her loose on the unsuspecting English peerage. With a titled brother, a duchess for a sister-in-law and other assorted connections to members of the nobility, the ton can’t really afford to shut her out, but they don’t have to play fair. To her credit, neither does Juliana.
     Simon, Lord of Leighton, is an English gentleman. More over, he’s a Duke and expected to exemplify the ideal English aristocrat. With an ancestry and family name unblemished and well respected, he is always on his best behavior. He will behave properly, marry the proper girl, produce proper children and live a very proper, if somewhat boring, life. What he will NOT do, is take part in any of the ridiculous schemes that a certain feisty Italian seems hell bent on dragging him in to. They once, briefly, found themselves in a nearly compromising situation that left them on none to friendly terms. Now, with his future so cleanly laid out before him, the little devil has tried to convince him that his life lacks color, lacks passion and she’s somehow managed to trick him into agreeing to a little wager that could cost him not only his reputation, but his heart.

It’s no secret that I am a crazy Sarah MacLean fan girl. I absolutely adore her novels. At first this inadvertently shocked the hell out of me because they are romance novels and I’ve always equated them with being silly fluff, but now I’d like to go back and smack the past Me that thought that. Her books are fantastic. The writing is phenomenal, her characters so well crafted, the dialogue hysterically funny in parts and the whole shebang so very, very romantic. Eleven Scandals… is the third book in her Love by Numbers series, and it’s rumored to be the last. I’ve loved loved loved all three of them and I just don’t want to imagine a world in which the series comes to an end. You still have some stories to tell Miz MacLean! A certain brother hasn’t found love yet and you OWE him! But anyway, the series features a remarkably loveable cast of characters that will each endear his/herself to you almost as soon as you meet.

Juliana is another one of the series unconventional characters as each of her leading ladies tends to engage in activities that are not considered common place or really even sanctioned at the time. Callie from Nine Rules was determined to be admitted into the inner world of men that was denied to women at the time, Isabel from Ten Ways… runs a home for wayward women who find themselves in less than ideal situations and Juliana in this book flat out REFUSES to conform to the expected norms of society. Not the stereotypical, “wild, untameable” heroines you would generally think of in a romance novel, but gutsy, pig-headed rebels who just simply refuse to listen to reason. I’ve instantly rooted for each of them as they’ve squared off against their shared opponent- expectation.

Simon is a considerable challenge. He is so uptight and arrogant that I wanted to smack him from the moment he came on page. He was particularly man-stupid when he thought that he had a right to try to govern Juliana’s behavior and I’m glad she had the guts to continuously remind him of it. Although that isn’t a stretch for Juliana because I couldn’t imagine anything that she wouldn’t have the guts to do. Of all the series' leading ladies, if I were going to do something scandalous and get in trouble, I’d want Juliana as my partner in crime- Callie to plan it and Isabel to turn to when I get in over my head.

I’ve very much enjoyed my new found friendship with these three remarkable ladies and I’m going to hold out hope that a Twelve… will pop up one day in the future. If you haven’t started this series yet, even after the pages of posts I’ve devoted to singing Sarah MacLean’s praises, please do so now. You can email me a thank you card when you’re through.

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