Customer Reviews for

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love by Numbers Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Will make readers want to write their own list of adventures

It's Lady Calpurnia Hartwell's debut evening into the lion's den of high-muckety-muck English society. Calpurnia is a young woman who has played by the rules all her life; absolutely no one can find a single fault in her aristocratic frame. In fact, she reminds most peo...
It's Lady Calpurnia Hartwell's debut evening into the lion's den of high-muckety-muck English society. Calpurnia is a young woman who has played by the rules all her life; absolutely no one can find a single fault in her aristocratic frame. In fact, she reminds most people of the real Calpurnia - Empress of Rome - who turned out to be stronger and smarter than any of the men who surrounded her. So what would stop the young Calpurnia from being inundated with a mess of suitors? Unfortunately, she's a real woman, not a slender reed swaying in the wind. In addition, her mother, the Countess of Allendale, dresses her up in absolutely ridiculous clothing, and the only suitors who surround her are fortune hunters and old men with creepy looks on their faces.

At the debut, Calpurnia runs away from the vat of hopelessly improper suitors and races into the garden, where she finds herself in the company of the King of Rakes - Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston. From that moment in time, everything in Calpurnia's life begins to change. She's tired of being passive, especially when her younger sister Marianna - the Allendale Angel - announces her forthcoming marriage. Calpurnia is immediately thrust into the role of family spinster, and confides in her beloved brother, Benedick, that she wants much more out of life. Her brother loves her with all his heart, and tells her to throw out her lace cap and have some sort of adventure (within reason). Calpurnia takes things one step further and makes a list of all she wants to do including; fencing; attending a duel; firing a pistol; and, smoking a cheroot. However, the most important thing on her list is to kiss someone passionately. She's been a lady on the throne of propriety for far too long, and wants to see how the "other half" lives.

Ralston, for his part, is her intended "kissee;" and a deal is struck between them. If Ralston helps Calpurnia with her list than, in return, Calpurnia must teach his newly-arrived sister how to act and speak correctly in London society. As they work together to make Ralston's sister's debut a sparkling success, Ralston also works on aiding Calpurnia with her "list" of needs that could land the poor woman in the gutter. After all, Ralston is the biggest rake in town, so he should know all the "ins" and "outs" of getting around the rules of the ton.

For all readers, this is truly a book filled with fun and frivolity. Yes, the romance is extremely well-written and does Avon Historicals proud. But the witty conversations, and the ridiculous moments that Calpurnia finds herself wrapped up in, keep the story fast-paced and extremely fun to read.

Quill Says: To understand and love a rake.become one. Calpurnia's strong will and Ralston's protective nature will make readers run for pen and paper to start their very own list of adventures.

posted by FeatheredQuillBookReviews on April 20, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

entertaining but

Awkward writing ruined it for me

posted by 17543825 on May 10, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    entertaining but

    Awkward writing ruined it for me

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    Couldn't get through it.

    The characters are two-dimensional and their relaionship unconvincing. Their angst is not compelling, andI wasn't at all invested in the story. I skimmed through the last third and found nothing to entice me to go back. On top of that, it needed a better editor.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Weak and Superficial

    After having read MANY historical romance novels with a bit more substance and intriguing plot lines in the past, I found this book to be very lacking and am surprised at all of the positive reviews and/or lack of less than positive reviews. Honestly, the plot wasn't particularly interesting to me.

    A "plump and plain" 28-year-old spinster, Calpurnia Hartwell, hits midlife crisis and decides to rebel and live a little. She creates a list of 9 items to do:
    1. Kiss someone-passionately
    2. Smoke cheroot and drink scotch
    3. Ride astride
    4. Fence
    5. Attend a duel
    6. Fire a pistol
    7. Gamble (at a gentleman's club)
    8. Dance every dance at a ball
    9. Be considered beautiful. Just once.
    She gets the notorious rake, the Marquess of Ralston, a man she has had an infatuation with for 10 years, to complete #1. Ralston agrees to kiss her but only if she will (with her impeccable reputation) present to society, his recently-discovered half-sister. They strike a deal and the rest of the book is mostly about Ralston himself attracted to Calpurnia and Calpurnia going on one escapade to another to complete her list, as well as helping his half-sister make her debut to the ton.

    The minor plotlines were weak facades. It's very obvious that the whole book is centered on developing the romance between the two main characters. Although that's what romance novels are usually all about, I generally like to read books that actually have a real story and substance to them besides focusing on always getting the female and male leads together all the time. I think romance books like these are what give romance novels a bad name.

    Also, I'm not even going to mention how many times the author alludes to the main character's physical appearances. I highly respect books which can reveal the beauty of a person and get readers to like a character without constantly mentioning a their perfections and imperfections. Ironically, a main point in this book seems to be seeing beyond the cover of a book, but it's hard when the author keeps referencing the main character's "cover". I found it to be hypocritical and superficial. This was more of a pity-me book. And honestly, when most of the story is simply about poor-old-me-who-isn't-the-belle-of-the-ball-but-is-nice-generous-kind-and-perfect-in-every-way-so-why-shouldn't-I-deserve-a-hot-handsome-titled-rich-man, I get a little bored and my eyes will start rolling. It was just so clear that there really was no story to this except the plain, plump girl going on unusual escapades and getting the attention of the handsome marquess.

    Seriously, the whole facade of a story regarding launching the marquess's half-sister out into society is a bit weak considering he chose Calpurnia for her perfect reputation and throughout this, she is constantly doing things on her list to tarnish and endanger her reputation. AND the marquess catches her several times but just goes along with her plans. The author describes the marquess as a cynical, jaded, serious, stereotypical titled lord so this just doesn't make any sense. If he's like that, then he's dealt with a bunch of women who have smoked cheroots, drunk scotch, etc, etc. I didn't find anything interesting about Calpurnia.

    The writing style of this book isn't bad, but the author does throw in a few SAT words to make the book seem a lot more intellectual than it really is. No offense, Ms. MacLean, but I would recommend stickin

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    Posted July 4, 2011

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    Posted October 12, 2011

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    Posted April 25, 2010

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    Posted March 30, 2011

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