Rakes and rogues are generally not my favorite types of heroes, but Sarah MacLean is one of those authors where I know I’m going to like the book without even having to read the blurb. And again here, she doesn’t disappoint. King didn’t make me fall in love at first sight, but there is more to him than meets the eye. He’s not simply the debaucher his reputation implies. But it takes a special woman to get to the truth of him.
Sophie comes from new money and her family’s nobility is just as recently acquired. They walk on the fringe of society, somewhat accepted because of their titles and wealth, but equally scorned because of their wild ways and humble roots. Sophie is actually the quiet one, the one least likely to cause a scandal… until she catches her brother-in-law in a compromising position with someone other than her sister. Finally, she has had enough of the ton’s arrogance and double standards. She calls him out for his misdeeds and embarrasses him quite publicly, bringing about her own social ruin.
So what? She never wanted to be part of their world anyway. So she tries to escape. What better way than in King’s carriage as he escapes an assignation? Only, the wild Marquess has no interest in helping her. That’s when Sophie takes matters into her own hands, hiding out among his servants and hitching a ride out of town in his carriage. King is sure she is trying to trap him into marriage, but all Sophie wants is freedom. The story follows the two of them as their paths converge and their passionate dislike for one another turns into passion of another kind altogether.
It’s hard not to root for Sophie. She is a good person, with every reason to feel the way that she does. But as a woman of her time and station, she has few choices and virtually no power. She knows she is not beautiful, that she is no catch. And for much of the book, King doesn’t do her self-esteem any favors. Yet she refuses to give up on the possibility of more for her life. Some of her plans and actions were naive and half baked, but at least she was trying to stand up for herself. She would not be cowed. Which made her vulnerable moments even more poignant.
King, meanwhile, required a bit of evolution before becoming hero material. He was hurt by events in his past, but he acted like quite an ass for the first half of the book. He often did the right thing, but said the absolute wrong thing, especially when it came to Sophie. But she changes something in him. She helps him learn to love again, by showing him what it is to be loved. And that was good stuff.
I enjoyed the character development for both King and Sophie and I really loved their verbal sparring. There is a great fire between them and it was very satisfying to watch that go from animosity to attraction. And then love.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m so sorry I cannot be the man you wish me to be.”
Tears threatened again and she shook her head. No more of that. “It’s you who don’t see. I only ever wished you to be the man that you are.”
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Rogue Not Taken
by Sarah MacLean
Release Date: December 29, 2015