Book Review: Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake by Sarah MacLean

Book Review: Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake by Sarah MacLeanNine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love By Numbers #1
Published by Harper Collins on March 30th 2010
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, General
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780061987946

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 . . .

I never actively DNFed Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake by Sarah MacLean, I just couldn’t get into it, so I set it aside for several months. Around Christmastime I was in the mood for a romance novel, and thus made my second foray into the world of romance (the first was One Dance With A Duke) and picked this book back up.

I feel as though a world comprised of stomach butterflies and rakes has been opened up to me and the options are limitless. If you are not romance-biased, I assume you understand this feeling.

Callie is not your typical historical romance novel heroine. First, she’s not exactly lithe and definitely not a beauty. Second, she does not sit around waiting for life to happen to her, she takes charge. At first, Callie is an old maid, and viewed by other people as a paragon of virtue. One day though, she decides that she wants complete and utter freedom. She wants some of the experiences men have, as they don’t exactly lead their lives from the gilded cage. Callie then smokes cheroot (is that weed?), gambles, gets drunk, and kisses passionately – you know the usual college kid routine. Along the way she falls pretty hard for notorious rake Ralston St. John who takes it as his mission to help Callie complete her goals, so long as Callie helps his half sister enter society.

GUYS! GUYS! Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake is a book where I finished it and my cheeks hurt from smiling so hard. It is smart and witty and brimming with legit sexytimes. I mean, oh goodness, they don’t just fade to black! And it doesn’t feel awkward to read, although I will admit my eyes did dart around the empty room from time to time, just to make sure no one would walk in and start judging me. Seriously, if you don’t quite know where to begin but want to start reading romance and stop being prejudiced against awesome books, you should start with Nine Rules To Break.

I will definitely check out MacLean’s other books in her Love by The Numbers series when I need a romance fix.

A few passages that I dogeared:

“It’s a horrible name.”

“Nonsense. Calpurnia was Empress of Rome -strong and beautiful and smarter than the men who surrounded her. She saw the future and stood strong in the face of her husband’s assassination. She is a marvelous namesake.”

-pg. 5

Sah-wooooooooon. No wonder Callie wants to get it on with Ralston.

and this:

“She paused, changing tack. “Have you ever wondered what it is that women do behind closed doors at teas and after dinners? What we talk about, how we live without you?”


“Of course not. Because our lives are out in the open. We may be alone in a room, sequestered from men, but you own the houses in which we congregate, you’ve been in the rooms in which we cloister ourselves. There is always the possibility that you might enter, and so we set ourselves to needlepoint or idle gossip and never allow ourselves to say or do too much beyond the bounds of propriety, for fear that you might see.”

pg. 248

-I love a book with awareness of the times it’s set. I love when a romance book is intelligent.

Do you have any recommendations for great historical romance?

Disclosure: Purchased copy.

Other Reviews of Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake by Sarah MacLean:

Books By Their Cover
The Crooked Shelf
Today’s Adventure

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.


  1. I’m so excited to read this one now! I finally snagged a copy from PBS. Glad to hear that you liked it!
    Cialina recently posted..My Book Boyfriend- Jamie FraserMy Profile

  2. Catherine Rosa says:

    The Outlander

    Devil in Winter

    Kingdom Of Dreams
    – Enjoy


  1. […] by Sarah MacLean: Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake A Rogue By Any Other […]

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