Review: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean


Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sara MacLean
Publication Date: April 26th 2011
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Page Count: 367 pages
Summary: 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.

I decided to take a look through some old favorites and post a review! Might possibly make it a thing to occasion look back at past books I've read and do some reviews, maybe even reread to refresh my mind. It had been a while since I'd read any Historical Romances when I tried this one. I'd forgot how good they can be so I think I need to read more. Specifically, more from this author. Her writing was amazing when it comes to this genre and style.

The book starts with Juliana Fiori, the half sister to the Ralston twins, who are all marked by scandal in some form due to their mothers abandonment for another man and a more adventurous life. Because of this Juliana struggles with fitting in with the ton and acting the way they approve of. She's failing every step of the way in their eyes, especially since they believe she'll turn out to be just like her mom. So she decides to stop trying. The way she deals with the stuffy and snobby characters of English society makes me love her even more. She doesn't hold back for anyone. She's got spunk, she's witty and sassy and oh so lovable. I don't usually fall for the female characters of Historical romances the way I did with this one! I'd definitely want her as my friend.

The hero of the story, Simon Pearson, The Duke of Leighton, is one of the people who have the most disdain for scandal and impropriety so from the start it seems like he can't stand Juliana or her family and what they represent. He doesn't waste a chance to turn his nose up at her and her careless behavior. But he desires her and he has passion for her like he's never had for anything in life and of course he's equally confused and frustrated over this fact. Because of this, he lashes out at Juliana in result. Simon was very stiff and polite in a regal manner in the beginning, but there was still something intriguing about him even then. His confusion over his interest in her and the evolution of his character was done so smoothly, not choppy or extreme at all. 

The tension and chemistry between the two characters is off the charts from the very beginning. Usually when characters are bickering back and forth it can often become more annoying than sizzling but MacLean does a tremendous job at keeping away from crossing that line. When it came to Simon, Juliana was challenging and fierce; a perfect opponent against Leighton's sharp tongue. At every moment I read I was saying to myself, just kiss already! MacLean also gives us a very nice growth in their relationship outside of the steamy tension. The love scenes, of course, were sensual and magnificent and another thing done very well considering the genre. Most Historical Romances can get a little too flowery and overdone!

Juliana is the perfect person to make the stiff Simon a little wild, two opposites couldn't be more perfect for each other. The evolution of his feelings and his beliefs (as well as hers) in the face of their changing relationship was one of the best things about the book, outside the characters themselves. This is the first book I've read from Sarah MacLean and it definitely won't be the last, and it will be the reason I go back into this genre in search for nice little gems to read.

This one definitely deserves five stars.