Choosing love over revenge
Sarah MacLean has a new series of books about fallen angels. These four aristocrats whose scandals have exiled them from society are now princes of the underworld. Lords Bourne, Temple, Chase, and Cross have become the powerful owners of the gaming club The Fallen Angel. This first book, A Rogue by Any Other Name: The First Rule of Scoundrels, is the story of Michael Lawler, the Marquess of Bourne who learns that love is more powerful than revenge.
In 1821 Bourne was just out of school when he caught the gambling bug. With one card he lost everything but his title to his guardian, Viscount Langford. This action cast him out of society, out of his home, and into poverty. In the underworld he worked tirelessly to gain the funds to restore his inheritance. He became a ruthless partner in a gambling club, The Fallen Angel. Ten years later his opportunity for revenge presents itself. He not only has a shot at regaining his ancestral home, Falconwell, but also taking revenge on Viscount Langford.
Bourne is willing to do whatever it takes, even marrying to gain Falconwell. The Marquess of Needham & Dolby has sweetened the dowry of his oldest daughter, Penelope Marbury. Penny has been always been the good daughter. In fact, she has been in love with her childhood friend, Michael, but did not have the courage to defy her parents and society when Michael was disgraced. She was supposed to marry the Duke of Leighton, but he threw her over to marry for love. Since then, she hasn't had many prospects. And adding Falconwell to the pot will certainly entice a man to marry a twenty-eight-year-old with a broken engagement in her past.
After being compromised by Michael, Penny realizes that she is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Bourne is not the Michael she remembers. So she makes the best of a bad situation. She agrees to marry Bourne on the condition that the scandal of their marriage doesn't affect her sisters, that he reenter society, and that he find suitable husbands for her two unmarried sisters. Penelope gambles that she can give Bourne a happy and good marriage, that the Michael she knew and loved as a child has not died. However, that involves getting Michael to give up his plan of revenge and to chose a life with her.
This was novel filled with adventure and romance. I learned a bit more about the seedier side of London, plus I liked these two childhood friends. Their "love match" starts out as a lie and turns into something each character deserves--a loving and happy partnership. Penny grows more courageous and adventurous and Michael discovers that revenge is not worth the possibilitly of losing the love of one's life.
According to her web site MacLean is at work on the next book in the series: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover. I look forward to reading another fallen angel's love story.