Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart
Love By Numbers, Book 3
By Sarah MacLean
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Fans of Sarah MacLean's books will rejoice that Juliana Fiori's book is finally here. I was so pleased that Juliana finally got her happily-ever-after, although it was not easily won. But it was most definitely worth the wait.
Juliana Fiori, half sister of Gabriel, Marquess of Ralston and Nicholas St. John, is used to being at the center of scandal. Daughter of a disgraced marchioness and an Italian merchant, Juliana grew up in Italy, abandoned by her mother and raised by her father. She was not schooled in the ways of high society, so when she is sent to England upon the death of her father, it's no wonder she feels out of place in the ton. Not only does she have the scandalous reputation of her mother to overcome, but Juliana is passionate and outspoken, traits that "proper" women of society don't show. Just the type of lady that Simon Pearson makes a point of avoiding.
Simon Pearson, Duke of Leighton, is often referred to as the "Duke of Disdain" for his penchant for looking down on everyone he feels does not measure up to his idea of respectability. To Simon, reputation, honor and respectability are what matters most. Without a doubt he finds Juliana attractive and fascinating, but Simon knows that relationship between them is out of the question. He must find a respectable, biddable, society miss to marry; he refuses to subject his family to scandal. But Juliana is determined to make this cold, proper duke burn with passion. Will Simon choose passion over reputation or will Juliana be fighting a losing battle.
Oh, how I love Sarah MacLean's books and Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart is as entertaining and delicious as the first two books in the Love By Numbers series. Juliana captivated my attention when she first appeared in Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, and her story was a delight. She's full of passion, or as my grandma would have called "piss and vinegar", and you just can't help but love her. I also ached for every slight and slur that Juliana endured from the priggish peers of the ton. She is not scandalous for any reason other than her selfish and outrageous mother. Simon, of course, doesn't see it this way to begin with, and there were a few times I would have liked to have slapped him for being such a pompous ass. But when he finally fell for Juliana, he fell hard. Seeing him brought to his knees by his love for her made it all worthwhile. There is a scene when he realizes the truth behind the scandal in Juliana's life that speaks volumes.
But as he stood in this darkened stable, watching her brush her enormous horse, dressed in a devastatingly beautiful gown and desperate for some way to escape the events of the evening, Simon was overcome with a single realization.
Scandal was not her choice.
It was her burden.
Her bold words and brave face were not borne out of pleasure but out of self-preservation.
She was as much a victim of circumstance as he was.
The awareness hit him like a fist to the gut.
Full of humor, tenderness and heart-pounding, scorching love scenes, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart is the perfect escape-for-a-day book. It is the third book in the series, and while it can stand alone, I recommend reading the books in order so you can "meet" Juliana from the start: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, and Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart. If you haven't read a Sarah MacLean book yet, get thee to a book store and prepare to fall in love.
Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins/Avon for providing an advance copy of Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart for review.
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