The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean (Scandal & Scoundrel #1)

Synopsis:

23617709When she finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, Sophie Talbot does what she must to escape the city and its judgment—she flees on the back of a carriage, vowing never to return to London…or to society. But the carriage isn’t saving her from ruin. It’s filled with it.

Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, a quality that results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a furious summons home, and a long, boring trip to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the trip becomes anything but boring.

Review:

I love MacLean but her books can be hit or miss for me. When I love them I adore them, and when they don’t work I’m left mightily disappointed. The Rogue Not Taken started off fine but by the end I was no longer on board with the couple or the situation or the… anything.

The good:

  • Banter! Lovely banter.
  • There’s fun, believable crazy. The party that opens the book has a misguided theme that makes complete sense in the time period. The way she meets Eversley is also priceless. This is what got my hopes up.
  • A long carriage ride ends up being a bottle episode… a sexy bottle episode! Yum.
  • The headlines at the beginning of each chapter are kind of cute.

The not-so-good:

  • 20+ woman borrows uniform of tween footman and everyone thinks she’s a man, even after talking, drinking, and playing cards with her. Right. Props to the hero for pointing out how stupid everyone is for not noticing, but so many people don’t notice. And she pulls it off again later. Grah.
  • I was looking forward to a fun or at least interesting rapport among the five sisters, but when they come back together near the end I wanted to strangle three of them. Kleypas’ Wallflowers this is not. I’m not even excited about reading any of their stories.
  • In fact, most of the secondary characters feel underdeveloped. They exist to chide or yell at the hero or heroine, or maybe drive a coach. Oh yeah, one character was there to be saved. But that’s it.
  • A lot of the later plot echoes what happened in a previous relationship, so you can see exactly where things are going and how “unfun” they will be.
  • I couldn’t believe that whole scene in a front of a castle in Scotland. Really? You would do that to her, on semantics? Take away a woman’s agency, piss me off.

I get that other people will love this book, but it’s just not for me. Hoping for more from the next installment.

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