LibraryReads is a national program in the United States. Public library staff recommend books that they have read and loved (just like our staff recommend books for the “Top Picks” display in the library). For LibraryReads, the ten most frequently recommended titles are calculated monthly and the top one is published. The recommendation for the month of December is a romance – Sarah MacLean’s third book in a trilogy: “No Good Duke Goes Unpunished” (Library Journal, December, 2013).
The Story: William Harrow appears briefly in the first two books of Sarah MacLean’s “Rule of Scoundrels” series. But in the third book, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, he strides to the fore as Temple, the Duke accused of murdering 16-year-old Mara Lowe before her wedding to his father twelve years ago. Shockingly, it soon appears that Mara has actually staged her death and is very much alive. She decides to reappear and unmask herself in order to redeem Temple’s good name. The resulting tale of revenge and honour can be profoundly unsettling. Yet, the author says it is the compelling nature of the conflict which creates the best romances.
“Part of the joy of a really good romance is wondering: how are these two ever going to get together?” explained MacLean in a phone interview with Library Journal. “You know there will be a happily ever after, but the journey can be so emotionally frustrating and challenging.”
The author acknowledges that No Good Duke Goes Unpunished is her darkest book yet. With the most tortured of characters, it still attempts to answer that age-old question: what do women really want in a relationship? Is it sex? Security? A bad boy with a heart of gold? Actually, as the character Mara demonstrates in her most heated exchange with Temple, women want “control” — not dominance, but rather balance and equality. “Creating a lively give-and-take is very important to Mara”, says author MacLean.
Concluding the interview, MacLean adds: “Why is romance so popular with women? I think it is because it gives us permission to make serious demands in our relationships…. and it goes without saying that it works best with a hint of danger”.
Have you read a good Romance lately? This series by MacLean may be an appealing way to help you temporarily “decompress” during the hectic Holiday season.
Rule of Scoundrels Series:
Book 1: A Rogue by any other Name Fic M 163515
Book 2: One Good Earl deserves a Lover Fic M 163515
Book 3: No Good Duke Goes Unpunished Fic M 163515
Other Recommended Romance Titles:
Balogh, Mary. The Arrangement. Dell. (Survivors’ Club, Bk. 2). HISTORICAL. Funny, heartwarming, and beautifully written.
Carr, Robyn. The Wanderer. Mira: Harlequin. (Thunder Point, Bk. 1). CONTEMPORARY. This beautifully set story focuses on real problems and features a dash of mystery
Dare, Tessa. Any Duchess Will Do. Avon. (Spindle Cove, Bk. 4). HISTORICAL. A funny, delightfully unexpected tale.
Gracie, Anne. The Autumn Bride. Berkley Sensation. (Chance Sisters, Bk.1). HISTORICAL. An intrepid governess falls victim to the charms of her benefactor’s dashing nephew.
Higgins, Kristan. The Best Man (A Blue Heron Novel). CONTEMPORARY. A sassy, upbeat romance with humor and heart.
McMaster, Bec. Heart of Iron. Sourcebooks Casablanca. (London Steampunk, Bk. 2). PARANORMAL. A taut romance steeped in danger, violence, and political intrigue.