One Good Earl Deserves a Lover

Written by Sarah MacLean
Review by Nanette Donohue

The “lady scientist” character is becoming a stock figure in 19th-century historical romance. She gives authors the opportunity to create a character who is identifiable to modern audiences, yet she fits within the appropriate historical context. Lady Philippa “Pippa” Marbury is one such character. She has a thirst for knowledge, she’s spirited, and she knows exactly what she wants out of life.

Engaged to marry the sweet-but-dull Castleton in two weeks, Pippa is unhappy at her lack of knowledge about the goings-on of the marital bed. Like a good scientist, she wants answers, and she approaches Cross, co-proprietor of the notable gaming hell The Fallen Angel and known ladies’ man, with the hopes that he will explain how the deed is done. Cross wants no part of Pippa’s ruination—until he can’t stop thinking about her. And Pippa keeps placing herself conveniently in Cross’s path, because she can’t stop thinking about him.

There’s a lot to love about this book, the second in MacLean’s Rule of Scoundrels series of late-Regency romances. The chemistry between Pippa and Cross is smoldering, and most of the novel is spent in an extended flirtation involving much witty banter. The love scenes are well-written, and they’re used somewhat sparingly, since Cross is trying his best to hold out. There’s a villain in the form of competing gaming hell owner Knight, but he doesn’t drive the plot—the love story does, and a marvelous love story it is.