by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love by Numbers #3
Genres: Historical Romance
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She lives for passion Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society’s rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London’s most practiced gossips…and precisely the kind of woman the Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.
He swears by reputation. Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening–risking everything he holds dear–he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety. She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion.
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart is the final book in the Love by Numbers trilogy by author Sarah MacLean. After devouring the first two books (you can click on links to those reviews at the end of this post) I was excited to begin this one. McLean didn’t disappoint me, as she delivered another humorous romance with a headstrong heroine. I quickly consumed this while on vacation and found it to be delightful.
Juliana Fiori is the Italian half-sister of Gabriel St. John, the Marques of Ralston whom we met in Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake. She has been introduced to London society but they whisper about her. She feels like a fish out of water trying to live by the rules of the ton. When she is accosted, she hits the man and narrowly escapes by hiding in a carriage. This particular carriage turns out to belong to Simon Pearson, the Duke of Leighton. (otherwise known as the Duke of Disdain.) The tango these two dance, is delicious and the tale kept me completely immersed. I laughed, cried and cheered these misfits on.
Juliana and Simon could not be more different. He is all prim and proper; strictly adhering to all the rules of society. She can be bold and outspoken. The two have previously met and were immediately attracted to each other. When Simon discovered her identity, he was outraged. (for not disclosing this information immediately) Simon needs a prim and proper wife and discovers he must do something immediately to protect his reputation before a scandalous secret is discovered. He sets his eyes on the tons darling; Lady Penelope Marbury. Juliana has other plans and I truly adored her. She is refreshing and I loved how she could turn Simon upside down and inside out. She is exactly what this stiff, controlled, smexy Duke needs. I loved Simon, despite the fact that several times I wanted to slap him across the face and shout, “What are you doing? You blundering idiot! “ What a thrill watching Juliana peel back Simon’s layers to reveal the steamy, passionate man within.
MacLean’s tales are captivating. I became invested in the characters throughout the series. Reading this novel has been both exciting and depressing. I truly did not want this series to end. While this is a historical fiction and the characters are trapped within the structures of the period; the author breathes such life into them that they became real. I love when an author makes this happen. MacLean weaves drama, suspense and humor into the tale making it a real page-turner. I read this in a single day, and I am sure my family was very aware I was spellbound. The romance was wonderful and dripping with sexual tension. The interactions between Juliana and Simon sent my emotions on a rollercoaster ride.
I highly recommend Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart and the entire Love by Numbers trilogy to fans of historical romance, humor, and strong female heroines. Sarah MacLean has made my favorite authors list, and I am excited to be bringing you a review of her latest novel A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels #1) next week.