Blog Tour: Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover Tasty Virtual Book Tour

Note: Don’t read this review if you haven’t finished reading Book 3 in the Rules of Scoundrels Series. You’ve been warned, kiddos!

Let’s be real, y’all: I would have given this book 5 brilliant stars if it had been nothing but Chase, Bourne, Cross, and Temple sitting around playing cards, drinking, and reminiscing about their love lives for 384 pages. I am a ridiculous Fallen Angel fangirl who has read A Rogue by Any Other Name three times in the last year and a half. Pippa has a special heroine place in my heart, and the love scenes between Temple and Mara are some of the most amazing I’ve read in historical romance. I was OBSESSED with figuring out Chase’s identity and squealed shamelessly when her gender was revealed at the end of No Good Duke Goes Unpunished. Needless to say, this series is one of my favorites.

I was lucky enough to get an e-galley of Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover in exchange for hosting a stop on the Tasty Book Tour for this novel’s upcoming release, thus saving me much angst, hand-wringing, and general nervous anticipation about getting a copy of this book.  After all the waiting and hype, I was desperately hoping that this book would be amazing.

AND IT WAS. SO. FREAKING. AMAZING.

As you learn from the book description (so I’m not giving anything away that’s not already made its way across the internets, kids), Lady Georgiana is the ruined sister of the Duke of Leighton, unwed mother, AND the mysterious owner of London’s most notorious gaming hell, the Fallen Angel. SHE’S CHASE!!! LADY GEORGIANA IS CHASE, Y’ALL!!!

(Ok, I got that out my system. No more fangirl outbursts, I promise.)

Ten years after her “ruination,” Georgiana has reentered society in hopes of snagging a titled husband–not for her own sake, of course, but for the protections such a name and status would bring to her daughter. Instead of immediately catching a husband, Georgiana’s crusade brings her closer to London’s most successful newspaper mogul, the brilliant, handsome, and of course, painfully sexy, Duncan West.Their cat-and-mouse love story is unconventional to say the least, but it works. West is completely in the dark about the Chase-Georgiana dual identity, so much so that at times you’re left wondering how such a brilliant investigative journalist could be such an amazing human-shaped pile of duh. It’s great fodder for dramatic irony and apparently therapy-level jealousy, as West becomes OBSESSED with tearing Georgiana away from what he thinks is a clinically unhealthy relationship with Chase.

Both Georgiana and West are strong-willed, stubborn, and forceful, but whereas West is aloof and outwardly cool, Georgiana radiates a quiet but powerful heat that makes every scene they appear in together a nail-biter.  The book would not be complete without repeated cameos from the Fallen Angel boys, particularly Temple, whose genuine concern for Chase almost makes you wish Mara were out of the picture. Throw in mentions of the Love by Numbers crew (shout out to Ralston and Callie!) and the hottest pool scene you will ever read, and I don’t know how anyone can not be satisfied with this lovely ending to a fabulous series.

Rating: A+ (Buy it. Read it. Love it. Cry when it’s over. Go back and start it all over again.)

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo


Never Judge a Lady by Her CoverExcerpt

When she looked back on the events of her twenty-seventh year of life, Georgiana Pearson would point to the cartoon as the thing that started it all.

The damn cartoon.

Had it been placed in The Scandal Sheet a year earlier, or five years earlier, or a half dozen years later, she might not have cared. But it had run in London’s most famous gossip rag on March the fifteenth.

Beware the Ides, indeed.

Of course, the cartoon was the result of another date entirely. Two months to the day earlier— January the fifteenth. The day that Georgiana, utterly ruined, unwed mother, walking scandal, and sister to the Duke of Leighton, had decided to take matters in hand and return to Society.
And so she stood here, in the corner of the Worthington ballroom, on the cusp of her reentry into Society, keenly aware of the eyes of all London upon her.

Judging her.

It was not the first ball she’d attended since she was ruined, but it was the first at which she was noticed—the first at which she was not masked, either with fabric or paint. The first at which she was Georgiana Pearson, born a diamond of the first water, devolved into a scandal.

The first at which she was present for her public shaming.

To be clear, Georgiana did not mind her ruination. Indeed, she was a proponent of the state for any number of reasons, not the least of which was this: Once ruined, a lady was no longer expected to stand on ceremony.


Sarah MacLeanAbout the Author

Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.

Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads


The Giveaway

Enter to win a $50 giftcard to Choice Book Seller and print copies of books 1-3 in the Rules of Scoundrels series.

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A Love Letter to the “Ruined” Woman

The Governess Affair by Courtney MilanIt’s no secret that I’m reading my way through Courtney Milan’s backlist. I’m just that kind of reader. I may not read a series in any order resembling sequential, but I will eventually download every novella and pick up every book when I’m feeling the author-reader-simpático vibes.

In more than one story Milan tackles romance for “the ruined woman”–deflowered, possibly pregnant, and always completely unfit to mingle with good society (see A Kiss for MidwinterThe Governess Affair, Unclaimed). It’s a heroine I’m drawn to for fairly obvious reasons. As a 21st century feminist reader who loves to read historical romance, rollingCover of What a Wallflower Wants within the confines of gender expectations in Regency and Victorian England isn’t easy. Most of the romance novels I read are wonderfully subversive (a la What a Wallflower Wants) and fully embrace the spirit–if not the exact letter–of modern feminist ideology. Yet naive virgins continue to find their well-worn space on the romance shelf, and will always do so until someone decides to take their DeLorean back to the 19th century and completely change women’s history.

Let me be clear: I don’t mind these kinds of heroines. In fact, I downright love stories about wallflowers, spinsters, and bluestockings. But to me, these women who’ve never been kissed have less in common with perfect white-frocked debs than they do with ruined ladies. Like their “fallen” counterparts they aren’t expected to play by conventional society’s rules, which provides ample opportunity for adventure, romance, empowerment, and an all around good time.

A Kiss for Midwinter by Courtney MilanThe ruined woman in particular is presented in modern historical romance not as a warning but as a commentary on the unequal gender norms of the time. She’s not dying of consumption in a back-alley; she’s running a gaming hell, demanding retribution from a Duke, calling out sexual predators, planning for a better future, and generally living her life in a time when virginity loss was essentially a loss of self.

One aspect of these stories that’s often a sticking point for me is the woman’s path to ruin. It’s usually paved in rape or coercion, and if freely taken, is often tinged with regret. Is it too much to ask of historical romance to want a sexually adventurous never-been-married heroine with no regrets? Probably. For that storyline we’ll just have to stick to merry widowsUnclaimed by Courtney Milan, who have some measure of independence and no longer have their sexuality commodified. That being said, if there’s a ruined woman in a historical romance novel, I will read it. I will cheer her on in her journey to love, empowerment and acceptance in the arms of the person of her dreams. In the end I love a HEA as much as the next romance-reader, and when it happens to this particular type of heroine it’s just that much more satisfying.