RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean


Title: No Good Duke Goes Unpunished
Author: Sarah MacLean
Publication Info: Avon November 2013
ISBN: 978-0062068545
Genre: Historical: European

Book No Good Duke Goes Unpunished. So much green on this cover. This RITA® Reader Challenge 2014 review was written by Eviltwinjen. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Historical Romance category.

The summary:

A rogue ruined . . .

He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of . . . absolution.

A lady returned . . .

Mara planned never to return to the world from which she’d run, but when her brother falls deep into debt at Temple’s exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple a trade that ends in her returning to society and proving to the world what only she knows . . . that he is no killer.

A scandal revealed . . .

It’s a fine trade, until Temple realizes that the lady—and her past—are more than they seem. It will take every bit of his strength to resist the pull of this mysterious, maddening woman who seems willing to risk everything for honor . . . and to keep from putting himself on the line for love.

And here is Eviltwinjen's review:

I've been binge-reading the Rule of Scoundrels series, and I've got to say first that she has the best book titles. One Good Earl Deserves a Lover was a delight. I struggled to assign a fair grade to this one though, because of the heroine–the title is a little too on point. Normally I'd side-eye anyone who said they found a heroine unlikeable because she was abrasive or made a lot of mistakes. Lord knows we've forgiven heroes their mistakes in many a book. In this case, I can't decide if I'm holding the heroine to an unfair double standard.

Twelve years ago, on the morning of his father's wedding to a very young new bride, our hero wakes up in bed covered in blood. Mara Lowe, the bride-to-be, is missing. Temple remembers flirting with a woman, perhaps taking her to bed, but nothing more. Ostracized by society and tormented by his own doubts, Temple ends up becoming a ferocious fighter and partner in the gambling hell The Fallen Angel. Then Mara Lowe appears at his door.

Mara desperately needs Temple's forgiveness–her brother has racked up huge gambling debts. She's in danger of losing everything. So you'd think she'd be anxious not to antagonize Temple any further now that she's revealed herself and admitted she accidentally framed him for her murder. Nope. It seems like every interaction ends with her drugging him, fleeing him, or withholding information–in a way that seems motivated less by character and more by the author's need to drag out the conflict. I can sympathize with Mara's fear, and her need to retain some control over her life, but girl–you FRAMED HIM FOR MURDER. Not that Temple's behavior is 100% sensible either. You can't really carry out a revenge plot on someone once you realize you want to snuggle them–did we learn nothing from the first book? Despite all this, MacLean's got a fascinating world in The Fallen Angel and a great cast of characters. The banter has plenty of snap, and the ladies kick ass. Also, if you haven't already heard, the final sentences reveal that MacLean's been punking us brilliantly.

Well played, Sarah. I'll totally be reading the next one.

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