Welcome to my stop of the blog tour for Sarah MacLean's No Good Duke Goes Unpunished!
*Avon is hosting a TOUR WIDE Rafflecopter Giveaway for a Copy of A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME and ONE GOOD EARL DESERVES A LOVER.
No Good Duke Goes Unpunished
The Third Rule of Scoundrels
By: Sarah MacLean
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 appear. 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
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What an amazing book. Sarah MacLean’s eloquent, powerful language reverberated within my heart; it transformed sympathy to empathy, thoughts and feelings to a canvas of emotions, and even when I hated the heroine in the beginning, I understood her perfectly. It takes an astounding raw talent to center a hero who had been hurt so much by the heroine, inspiring in the readers a dislike for the heroine, yet make her just as lovable as he in the end, a wonderfully moving ending of a perfectly matched couple.
William Harrow, heir to the Duke of Lamont, had awoken naked in a bed of blood on the wedding date of his father’s fourth marriage. His stepmother-to-be, heiress Mara Lowe, had disappeared without a trace, and he was presumed to be her killer. From that day onward, he became The Killer Duke, and soon, Temple. Temple was the champion gladiator, the guardian at the Fallen Angel, a gambling club formed by four fallen gentlemen to fleece the greedy of their wealth, the losers’ last chance at redemption of winning back their debts. And through blood and sweat, he never lost for twelve years, because in his bones he believed in redemption least of all. He did not look down on others’ weakness, but that thing called hope which caused them to challenge him again and again, to only be crushed down because Temple symbolized violence in its truest form – elemental, focused, and holiness in its purity of heart. It was all that he had left of himself after that fateful day, the manifestation of unmitigated self-misery. Fate overtook his world that day, when he was accused of taking a life, and now he works through taking men’s livelihoods.
On the eve of her wedding, Mara planned a reckless escape and never looked back. She took on the role of Mrs. MacIntyre, widowed proprietress of an orphanage. But when her brother gambled away their funds, she needed to reclaim her money for the orphanage. To resurface in twelve years, she sought the only person with whom she can bargain – Temple. Her truth for canceling her brother’s debt. But Temple is looking for more than that; he wants retribution.
“He hadn’t killed her
The realization remained a shock.
He hadn’t known. All those years – he’d lived with the idea that he might have been a killer. All those years
She’d stolen them from him”
To live with the idea that one is a killer is a frightening thing, and to do so for years is even more. Mara did not give a thought to Temple during her foolish “escape.” She claims to feel no remorse due to her self-interest. Her selfishness made me question whether I can like her for causing Temple so much misery, or appreciate that she did what she believed was right, because she is imperfect, as are all of us. Her conviction and determination are admirable, but are they worthy of praise when they have ruined another? I could not understand how given her compassion for the poor and needy that she did not care as a happy lord was relegated into a fighter of the underworld. It is true that Mara chose the path that benefited her, which trapped an innocent man in the darkness. However, the pieces of her puzzle slowly merges together to reveal the depth of complexity of her character - that of someone so perfectly imperfect who, armed with immature confidence, had simply made a vast mistake. That was when I realized this tale, while focusing on Temple, has a deeper layer of intricacy centered on Mara's redemption.
As Mara strove to keep her secrets, she was caught between remorse and fear, fear of letting anyone in, of knowing her heart. Her independence and steely determination drew Temple in. Even when he planned for retribution, Temple fell in love with her, and sacrificed himself yet again; He unknowingly protected her once, and knowingly did so again; yet his inward gentleness only caused himself more grief as Mara’s secrets and untrusting heart endangered him. This is where the book has been neatly juxtaposed; while Temple had only been the victim in the first half, his sacrifice for Mara awakened in her a protectiveness towards him, which turned her into his protector in the second half. This seamlessly balanced reversal of roles carried with it a viseral, heartwrenching love that blossomed between Temple and Mara, two of the most unlikeliest characters you'll ever meet (because of what Mara did), and there is no word but beautiful to describe their connection.
By the end of the book, Sarah MacLean proved to be a true storyteller as Temple’s faith was restored, along with Mara’s trust. The belief that fighting for a purpose was strength, not a weakness. Hope was no longer a danger, nor was trust. Instead, both were strands that unified his claim on love, and solidified Mara’s need for him in her life. The gentle giant was protected by the very same woman who sent him to hell. On that journey, Temple realized that inwardly, a part of him was "fallen" to begin with, and through Mara's reflective journey, she came to see atonement as doing her best to love the man who, in spite of all odds, fell in love with her. Is there anything to be said of this book other than that Sarah MacLean's skillful pen brilliantly perfected a love story to rival the ages? I think not. But if you do doubt, pick this up and be warned that you'll be immersed in the story for hours.
Beginning from the first book in the series, Sarah MacLean had started to leave subtle clues regarding the founder of the Fallen Angel, Chase. By this book, the clues have become more obvious to the more discriminating readers. But only in the epilogue is Chase's identity revealed...which is, without a doubt, a revelation. I was left plagued by questions, which will finally be answered in the 2014, with the highly anticipated release of Chase's book that will explain how everything came together.
*Review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.
Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers. Please visit her at www.macleanspace.com
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