One Good Earl Deserves A Lover (Rules of Scoundrels)

Image of One Good Earl Deserves A Lover
Release Date: 
November 12, 2013
Piatkus Books
Reviewed by: 

“Sarah MacLean has crafted a very funny, very sexy romp through mid 19th century England . . .”

In an era when women are expected to be fragile, innocent blossoms, Lady Philippa Marbury (Pippa, to her friends) is not a complete success.

Bespectacled and intelligent, she values science over the ballroom and has no qualms with challenging the dictates of society, much to the dismay of her aristocratic family.

She is innocent, however, of men. As her wedding approaches, she’d determined to face the bedroom with the same level of knowledge she gives to every other part of her life. To that end, she proposes to hire notorious London gaming club owner and rumored rake, Cross, to be her research partner in “ruination.”

In One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, Sarah MacLean has crafted a very funny, very sexy romp through mid 19th century England, filled with humorous scenes, witty dialogue, and interesting main characters.

Pippa is as sharp and funny as any Austen character, brainy and strong. Her curiosity about sex is driven by an understandable fear of the unknown; her solution to that fear would perhaps shock her contemporaries. The modern reader will laugh at her innocent questions and suppositions, perhaps nodding in fond remembrance of their own adolescence.

For his part, Cross is as dashing and dangerous as any romance buff could desire. His hidden past will probably not be a big surprise to anyone who reads these types of novels, but the reveal is deftly handled.

Surprisingly, and quite pleasingly, he does not fit the buff-and-blond stereotype of many romance novels; on the contrary, he’s a tall, lanky, ginger haired hero. What he lacks in glamour, he makes up for in the lessons he teaches the increasingly knowledgeable Pippa.

Make no mistake. This book is concerns the “ruination” of the Lady, and it does so quite thoroughly. Ms. MacLean does not shy from fairly graphic sexual description. It occurs early and often (which makes sense, given the premise of the novel).

What sets One Good Earl Deserves a Lover apart from the pack of other wildly popular erotic romances is that the sex is actually erotic. Ms. MacLean writes a great sex scene. Her descriptions are just enough to be sexy without being clinical or silly, and that’s an art not many novelists master. She seems to understand that connection between the characters is necessary for the reader to be really invested in the couple coupling.

There could be quibbles about the speed with which the hero finds the heroine irresistible, and there are repeated, almost requisite purple “romance novelistic” descriptions of her “huge blue eyes” and “wonderful softness,” but they would be just that: quibbles.

Ms. MacLean has created a coupling where it is easy to buy in to the romance. The characters actually get to know each other, spend time talking, and seem to genuinely like one another—that’s unusual.

And the sex is actually sexy—wow!

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is an engaging, erotic novel by a talented writer.

Good for you, Ms. MacLean!