by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love by Numbers #1
Published by Harper Collins, Avon on March 30th 2010
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View:Alternating Third Person
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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.
You guys, this freaking book.
One of my goals for this year is to write a review for every single book that I read from cover to cover, even re-reads and this was the first book that I re-read this year. It was last month’s book club discussion book but I also read it for my Totally Doable reading challenge and boy am I glad to have revisited these folks because seriously? This book was fantastic!
What a fun book this is. I laughed out loud, I swooned with delight, my heart broke a little bit and in the end, I rejoiced because gah…this book was just good swoony fun.
“I’ve spent twenty-eight years doing what everyone around me expected me to do…being what everyone around me has expected me to be. And it’s horrid to be someone else’s vision of yourself.”
Our Calpurnia, who is affectionately known as Callie is a fixture in the spinster seating section at every ball. She’s a wallflower that sits and watches other ladies dance the night away at the balls with other men. Her younger sister is engaged to a Duke and she was kind of resigned to her life as a spinster until she overhears her younger sisters conversation with her fiance’. Something about that conversation hurts Callie because it’s true? Between that conversation and one she had with her own brother, Callie yearns for adventure. She yearns to live. To be more than a spinster, so she makes a list. A list of adventures she wants to have.
The first item on her list? Kiss someone passionately. Of course, that leads her to the Marquess of Ralston’s home. Ralston is dealing with his own issues at the moment. He just found out that he’s got a long lost sister and the sister is under his care now. He has no idea what to do with this new sister, how to introduce her to society. How to get her ready to introduce her into society but the answer for all of that just showed up on his doorstep, asking for a kiss. Hmm.
Callie’s list cracked me up. From the very beginning, I was so on board with this list. Every single adventure she went on, every single time she got caught made me laugh and laugh and laugh because holy cow, Callie was brave. She was brave and she was determined and those are all things that I admire in a heroine. She put herself out there and she made memories, lived her life the way that she wanted without looking back. You have to admire that. Ralston did. On top of being brave and determined, Callie was extremely normal and incredibly witty. She was my very favorite part of this book and I was rooting for her at every turn. My heart hurt for her as she tried to brave her way through her feelings for Ralston. I just loved her so much.
Ralston was a grumpy hero who I saw great potential in from the very beginning. That scene where he makes a young Callie feel good about herself made me so thirsty to see the two of them fall in love. Don’t get me wrong, he was a cabbage-head from time to time but holy cow does he get right in the end. He won my heart over at the same time he won Callie over and I was rooting for him, too. Ralston was such a great fit for Callie because he didn’t want her to be anything aside from herself. He loved her and even when he was pissing me off by the things he would say and do, I still wanted him for Callie. I still adored him.
I loved the romance between Ralston and Callie because you saw the change in their relationship from friends to lovers. It was a gradual process that started with a bargain and ended with so much more. They were great a part but they were a force to be reckoned with together and I adored the two of them together so much. They were passionate, they were lively and they just worked. This is probably one of my favorite books by Sarah MacLean. It was true the first time I read it and all of these years later, it’s still true. If you haven’t read this book, you should definitely change that.
4.5 out of 5