Thursday, March 10

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

Book One of the Love by Numbers Series
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake was enchanting, from start to finish. I couldn’t put it down – and when I reached the end I started over again, to watch the love bloom once more. I can only hope Callie and Ralston will be mentioned again in the second and third books of Sarah Maclean’s Love by Numbers series. Maclean write beautifully, the characters are witty and realistic. I loved watching Ralston the Rake transform into Callie’s Ralston, without even knowing it. And I loved how he helped her follow her list and find herself. Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always lived to meet everyone else’s standards, and Gabriel St. John, Marquess of Ralston encourages her to live to meet her own. He assists her in completing her list of nine unladylike things. He helps her discover herself, and its beautiful and totally touching because as he helps her, he falls in love with the woman she is becoming – the woman who is true to herself. He never noticed her before, when she was abiding by all of society's rules, but now that she's following her hoplessly romantic heart, he can't help but follow her.
            The book revolves around Callie’s desire, as an aging spinster, to live her life the way she wants to, since living the way the ton requires hasn’t made her anything but lonely. She makes her list, and sets out to accomplish one of them – kiss someone, passionately – by visiting Ralston (the only man she’s ever had a crush on, since her coming out) in the middle of the night, in his quarters. Just as a side note - he plays piano, all alone in his room, and it so adorable! It shows his deep, passionate, restlessly emotional side that he pours into his music when all alone. *sigh* Anyways, he trades her his kisses in exchange for her help in introducing his Italian half-sister, Juliana (what a sweetie!!), to the ton, since Callie is so respectable. From there, Callie and Ralston continue to see each other in unexpected places – like taverns and a men’s fencing club (possibly my favorite scene in the entire book). I won’t tell you too much, because I loved this book and I want you to read it and discover how beautiful their love is for yourself.
            What was my favorite part of the book? You could really feel the love they had for each other. It is real and stems from who they are - from their past, from their dreams and goals and hopes and pains and sorrows and joys. It wasn’t just on-the-surface lust or something the author conjured up to make her readers happy. No, it grew from their encounters and from their characters. Maclean wrote the story to make her characters happy – and so blissfully happy they were. They were true to themselves while growing to love one another. They didn’t have to give up any part of their character to be together - in fact, especially in Callie's case, they freed themselves by loving one another. That's what love should be. Totally freeing. They naturally came together, like pieces of life’s puzzle that were meant to fall into place. It was… *sniff* stunning, just a story filled with stunning love and, overall, a stunning journey.
Some favorite quotes:

“You may admit it. I look rather too much like an apricot.” (Callie)
 This time, he laughed aloud. “An apt comparison. But I wonder, is there ever a point where one looks enough like an apricot?” (Ralston)

“You think I orchestrated these throngs to ensnare you?” (Ralston)
“I wouldn’t doubt it.” (Callie)

"Kisses should not leave you satisfied... They should leave you wanting."

“Sexy”ness rating: beautifully, sensually hot
Overall Rating: A to A+
Bottom Line: Read this book if you like beautiful, powerful true love stories. Actually, scratch that. Everyone should read this book. No conditions.

Pages: 393
Published: March 10, 2010
Genre: Historical
Other books in the series (click the link to view ):

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