Book Review: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

Title: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love by Numbers #1)
Author: Sarah MacLean
Year: 2010
Pages: 423
Dates Read: May 29 – June 1, 2017
Format: Kindle
Genres: HR
Rating: ★★★★★
Summary: A lady does not smoke cheroot.  She does not ride astride.  She does not fence or attend duels.  She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen’s club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied.  And so she’s vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she’s been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner.  Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking.  Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she’s not careful, she’ll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love. (Goodreads)

I adored this one!  I identified with Callie so much while reading this.  She’s not the biggest beauty, she’s bookish, and she’s more comfortable sitting in the corner during a party.  I cried more than I expected to while reading this.

She think’s she’s plain and boring and sets out to have an adventure.  She makes a list of nine things to accmplish to make her feel like she’s really living.  And of course #1 involves a certain marquess…who then happens to involve himself in the rest of the list.  What I really love about Callie is that she just goes for everything in this list with gusto, and I couldn’t help but root for her.

And I loved how much Gabriel rooted for her and looked after her.  He has a skewed view of love, but he learns through Callie (and his newfound half-sister) the proper way to love.

Everyone should read this book.  It’s lovely, heartwarming, and funny.  I’ll definitely reread it at least once.

Favorite Quotes:

  • “Remember, you are an empress. Behave as one, and they will have no choice but to see you as such. I already do…” He paused, and she held her breath, waiting for his words. “Your Highness (6).”
  • “In Callie’s opinion, a good book required an enduring love story…and Homer delivered.  Oh, Odysseus, she thought soulfully, turning a yellowed page in the leather-bound book and wiping away a stray tear.  Twenty years later, back in the arms of your love.  A well-deserved reunion if ever I’ve read one.
    She paused in her reading, leaning her head back on the high padded chair and breathing deeply, inhaling the rich scent of long-loved and well-oiled books and imagining herself the heroine of this particular story—the loving wife, the object of an heroic quest to return home, the woman who, through love, inspired her wonderfully flawed husband to fight the Cyclops, to resist the Sirens, to conquer all for a single goal—to resume his place by her side.  What would it be like to be such a woman?  One whose unparalleled beauty was rewarded with the love of the greatest hero of his time?  What would it be like to welcome such a man into one’s heart?  Into one’s life?  Into one’s bed?  A smile played across Callie’s lips as the wicked thought flashed through her mind.  Oh, Odysseus indeed (22).”
  • “It didn’t matter the quality of the writing—Callie’s fantasies about her fictional heroes were entirely democratic (23).”
  • “What if she could live a life other than the staid, boring mockery of one that she currently lived?  What if she could do all the things that she would never dream of doing?  What was to keep her from taking such a leap (38)?”
  • “She did not want to be that woman—the one of whom they spoke.  She had never planned to be that woman.  Somehow, it had happened, however…somehow, she had lost her way and, without realizing it, she had she chosen this staid, boring life instead of a different, more adventurous one (45).”
  • “All she had to do was take the risk. And why not do so (67)?”
  • “It was that, for the first time in her life, she had been filled with an undeniable strength—as though she could do anything.  As though the adventure she craved was hers for the taking (111).”
  • “I would not go so far as to believe that love is as perfect as those poets would like us to believe, but I believe in love matches (127).”
  • “She paused, frozen in midmovement, and considered her options for escape. Not many, and, if one eliminated the idea of leaving the house and never returning, none whatsoever (133).”
  • “The adventure is well worth the disappointing experience (141).”
  • “Stretching toward her, he took her mouth with a dark intensity that she did not recognize; the kiss felt more brand than caress (240).”
  • “I find that people see what they expect, my lord, as opposed to what is there (276).”
  • “I think it’s high time that women have the chance to sow some oats of their own (287).”
  • “I’m never going to get a chance to experience life from up there.  All that is up there is dust and unwanted apologies.  The same cage as hers”—she indicated the woman outside—“merely a different gilt (289).”
  • “She was his pianoforte; he played her body and her mind with his warm hands and wicked words (299).”
  • You’ll never love me.  You never could.  I am too plain.  Too boring.  Nothing like what you deserve.  The words whispered through her mind, but she remained silent, instead shaking her head (320).”
  • “Marriages borne of regret and mistakes did not make for appropriately happy ever afters (321).”
  • “Lady Calpurnia Hartwell is a thousand times better than you. You don’t deserve to breathe her air (328).”
    • “BOOM! Marquess out! *drops mic*
  • “If Callie is half as distraught as you appear to be right now, she is in the library (366).”
  • “Never doubt how beautiful you are, Callie.  For your beauty has quite ruined me for all others (384).”
  • “I most certainly shall not!  I am no longer meek and biddable!”
    “You labor under the misconception that you were ever meek and biddable (406)!”
  • “Oh, Oxford, no one cares (413).”

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