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Joint Review: A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah Maclean

Publisher: Avon
Where did you get the book: e-ARC
Release date: Out now

A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.
A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.Bourne may be a prince of London’s underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them . . . even her heart.

*blurb taken from author’s official website*

For this joint review, it’s done in the format of a group review.

[box type=”info” border=”full”]Thoughts on Hero?[/box]

Lou — I really liked Bourne, and even though he was sometimes quite hurtful, it wasn’t cold and calculating. I really believed in Bourne’s chemistry with Pen, and I was quite sad that he kept her at such a distance through most of the book because I really wanted to see glimpses of that boy we saw from Penelope’s letters. Bourne’s interactions between the other members and partners of The Angel, the gaming club, were funny and I’m glad that he had friendship to get him through these years after he lost everything that he loved.

Has — I felt the same way about Bourne, I loved that he was sardonic and I am a huge fan of anti-heroes like him who has remade themselves and not sticking to society’s rules. I also liked the cool determination to get his revenge on the man who took his birthright and lands. But it didn’t make him unlikeable or cynical. I also liked the dynamics he shared with Pen and his partners. But I definitely agree with you about the distance he placed between him and Pen, although I can understand why felt like that.

[box type=”info” border=”full”]Thoughts on Heroine?[/box]

Lou — I loved Penelope so much and her quips to Bourne at the beginning were great. She didn’t let him get away with what he did, and she had a smart mouth on her. I was surprised though that her family were still hung up on the fact about her broken engagement from the hero of the last book. It was eight years after, and it still seemed to affect not just the family, but Penelope’s also. Pen was smart, witty, and I liked that she didn’t marry anyone over the eight years just so it would look good on the family.

Has — I loved Pen! I think the aspect with her family being hung up on missing out from being a Duchess is all about the expectations being placed upon her. She never really wanted that, and it was all about society and the role that she had to play which was catching a good match in marriage. I loved that she never succumbed to that after that incident in the previous book, and like Bourne, has managed to forge her own identity by sticking to her scruples for not settling down for a societal marriage. I liked how she saw through the superficiality and didn’t want that for herself.

[box type=”info” border=”full”]Thoughts on the friendship to lovers theme, and what did you think about Michael’s treatment on Penelope even though they were dear childhood friends?[/box]

Lou — It made me sad because everytime Penelope reached out towards him, he kept his emotions so close to his chest, and at the beginning of the book when they first meet again it was quite heartbreaking. I really felt the loss and grief Penelope felt when Bourne wouldn’t acknowledge their childhood friendship, and for me towards the end of the book when Bourne finally realised that revenge wasn’t important, it was a little too late for my liking. I wanted more of an emotional connection from Bourne’s side.

Has — This is one of my favourite tropes, and I think Sarah Maclean tackled this really well on how she approached their relationship. I loved how she juxtaposes the childhood letters that Pen wrote towards Bourne as a child/teen – which later hinted at the reason why Bourne distanced himself from Pen. That reunion scene was definitely heart-breaking; it showed so much mixed emotions which was bittersweet and I have to say that although I am not a huge fan of forced compromising plots, it worked well with this book. And I adored the morning after which had a hilarious confrontation with Pen’s father. However I do agree about the distance that Bourne had with Pen. It had way too much time in the book and it was starting to feel like forced angst.

[box type=”info” border=”full”]Favourite Scene?[/box]

Lou — My favourite scene has to be when he kidnaps Penelope because he reminded me a little of Sebastian from The Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas. The dialogue between them both really sparked and then afterwards it was quite an emotional scene between them.

Has — That was my favourite scene too! And the aftermath with Pen’s father with the shotgun and them bickering about it 😀 – But the ending is what saved the book for me which was starting all angsty with the self imposed emotional separation that Borne had towards Pen. Spoiler below.

[spoiler]When he realised that revenge wasn’t important and he placed his trust and admitted his love to her – and how Pen responded back and how that affected his revenge on the man who stole from him was just beyond awesome![/spoiler]

 

I loved how she took control and it was her choice and decisions that mattered and that for me showed that their love will have a strong basis which really made the romance sparkled for me.

[box type=”info” border=”full”]Dislike about book?[/box]

Lou — How Bourne kept Penelope at such a distance for most of the book. Again, I wanted to see that connection they had when they were youngsters, but nothing of it showed. I also felt that the book lagged in the middle and nothing seemed to be driving the story forward. It was too much of the same with Bourne holding back, Penelope being sad and angry about, and then they argue.

Has — I totally agree with you! It really did bog down the book. I was actually beginning to think I should DNF because there was no development at all. The letters, the Angel partners, and side characters is what kept me reading, and I am glad that I did because it certainly picked up, and the ending…*sigh

[box type=”info” border=”full”]Any other misc. thoughts along with grade[/box]

Lou — Overall, I enjoyed the book because the romance had good chemistry and I very much enjoyed the characters, especially Pen. The letters were added the closeness that was missing. I can’t wait to learn more about the other partners from the gaming club, and I loved Pen’s sister. I give A Rogue by Any Other Name a B.

Has — I love heroes who have had a dark past which makes them a bit of a bad boy, whose demeanour cracks when they fall in love. I wished there was less angst in the story but despite this flaws – this had one of the best endings ever! A Rogue by Any Other name is a fun and witty romance with a bad boy hero and a heroine who certainly didn’t put up with any crap, The romance is filled with real depth and emotions and Sarah Maclean’s trademark wit and humour, I definitely am looking forward to more books in this series! I give A Rogue by Any Other Name a B.

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By Lou

One thing that Lou loves most is her HEA in romances.

3 replies on “Joint Review: A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah Maclean”

I agree the supporting characters were a highlight of the story. I liked this one – but I’m a sucker for a cold hero 🙂 Pen was a great heroine. I srsly can’t wait for the next hero.

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