Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ten Ways to Be Adored by Sarah MacLean

Sarah MacLean is back with another romance novel for grownups, and it was so good it kept me up into the wee hours of the morning because I so wanted to finish it. Entitled Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord, this one follows the story of Sir Nicholas St. John, twin brother of Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston (who starred in her first adult outing, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake).

Ten Reasons I thought Ten Ways to Be Adored was adorable:

1. Girls in drag. Long-time readers know I'm a sucker for girls who cross-dress as boys (it's one of my favorite tropes EVER!), and this book has quite a lot of them. The female main character, Lady Isabel Townsend, runs her estate with the help of lots of cross-dressed women.

2. Lady Isabel runs a sort of halfway house for women who are escaping from abusive or oppressive situations (be it employment or marriage), which means she is breaking the law. That takes "feisty heroine" to a whole new level.

3. Lady Isabel's father, the Earl, is such a waste of breath that he is known as (wait for it) the "Wastrearl". Oh puns, how I love you.

4. Lady Isabel's father has actually wagered her hand in marriage in a card game. Many, many times.

5. Lady Isabel's younger brother James (who becomes the Earl after her father's death) is adorable with his jammy cheeks and earnestness.

6. Sir Nicholas has a savior complex - he loves to rescue damsels in distress. His first rescue is accomplished with smashing results. (I kill me - but if you read the book, you will appreciate my meagre efforts, I assure you.)

7. Sir Nicholas never, ever acts like a cad. This is one of the things I absolutely loved about Nine Rules as well - Sarah writes male main characters who might have colorful backgrounds (Gabriel was quite a rake and Nicholas appears to have been some sort of secret agent/tracker guy for England), but they do not behave badly toward the female lead, as sometimes occurs in other romance novels. I love this.

8. Sir Nicholas has a Turkish sidekick named Durukhan, a large, wonderful man who goes by the name of "Rock". I love him. For serious. He's an excellent foil for Nick and is just a truly lovely person. I wish he were real. So there.

9. Steamy kissing and sex scenes. Including small but swoonworthy descriptions, as when Isabel licked the scar next to Nick's eye. *fans self* And this time, I have not a single word of complaint about any of those scenes. (I had one minor quibble about the last book.)

10. Pearls and Pelisses. My hat is off to Sarah for the many laughs I got over the gossip rag she invents, which dubs Nick "London's Lord to Land". Many chapters open with an excerpt from the so-called ladies' magazine, which offers tips on what to do (or not do) in order to "catch" a landed, titled husband. Needless to say, Isabel doesn't always comply with the guidelines - and any time her conduct does fit the description in the magazine, it's pretty much accidental.

I wish I didn't have to wait until next summer for Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart! I also wish I knew if/when to expect a sequel to her YA title, The Season!

Edited to add: I just realized that the title of this post sounds like a "how to get Sarah MacLean to love you" piece instead of a book review. LOL!
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