Review: The Rogue Not Taken

September 18, 2017

The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #1
Rating: ★★★★


The youngest of the infamous Talbot sisters scandalized society at the Liverpool Summer Soiree, striking her sister’s notoriously philandering husband and landing him backside-first in a goldfish pond. And we thought Sophie was the quiet one…

When she finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, Sophie Talbot does what she must to escape the city and its judgment—she flees on the back of a carriage, vowing never to return to London…or to society. But the carriage isn’t saving her from ruin. It’s filled with it.


The Marquess of Eversley was espied descending a rose trellis—escaping an irate Earl and his once-future countess. No lady is safe from Eversley’s Engagement Ending Escapades!

Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, a quality that results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a furious summons home, and a long, boring trip to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the trip becomes anything but boring.


He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, and suddenly opposites are altogether too attractive…

I’ve been meaning to read a Sarah MacLean book for a long time, but this is the first I’ve picked up. My history with Historical Romance is a bit of a rocky one. I’ve loved them, I’ve despaired of them. I eschewed them for a long time. But the need for simple, uncomplicated, fun drove me to pick one up again.

It’s odd that I can count on a Historical Romance to give me that – simple, uncomplicated fun. Because, knowing a great deal about the realities of history…well, there was nothing simple, or uncomplicated in that time. If I had been reading this for historical accuracy, I’d have ended sorely disappointed. That holds true for more Historical Romances, I think.

That’s not why I read them though. I read for the frothy romance. For the relationship that will go through all sorts of complications, and difficulties. The connection between the characters that comes out the other side stronger than everything that can be thrown at them.

This book, The Rogue Not Taken, thoroughly delivered. It’s a little ridiculous, and even acknowledges some of that in its pages, but it was a pure joy to read.

Despite being a bit of a charmed character, I love Sophie. She does some things that – while not wrong – are damaging. And she does them without really thinking about the consequences. Mostly because she can’t even fathom the consequences. I did have some trouble at the beginning believing that she was so naive to believe that there wouldn’t be any for her choices. I shrugged it all off because Sophie is charming, and her adventure was fun.

King, like most Historical Romance heroes, is deeply wounded by some moment in their past. Usually there’s someone to blame, but often it’s themselves. Despite himself, I think, I grew to love him, too. He’s a bit of an arse, for a long period of the book. However, when he forgets to remind himself that he needs to keep his distance through cruelty, he’s actually quite charming.

I’m not entirely sure I’d have been able to forgive him as quickly as Sophie did – but maybe I’m channeling A Kingdom of Heaven redemption a bit too much. You want to see someone grovel for some wrongs, that’s the book. There are a lot of wrongs, though. On both sides.

Anyway, back to The Rogue Not Taken.

If you’ve read any of my recent reviews you’ll know that I mostly skim, or skip entirely, the sex scenes in my books. Mostly. Here, though? Nope. I didn’t skip or skim at all. In fact, the scene in the carriage is so incredibly sexy. Apparently, I can’t say that I don’t like them at all. It just depends on the integration, character and/or scene development, and skill of the author.

So, despite some small niggles over how forgiving Sophie was – after all, she is in love and we all know how forgiving it tends to be – I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Sophie and King work together, I know that they’re going to go on making each other better long after I finished that final page.