My review cross-posted from Joyfully Reviewed
All of London knows Temple to be the Killer Duke – the man who killed his father’s young bride the night before her wedding twelve years earlier. Temple’s world came crashing down around him that fateful night and – worse of all – he cannot remember what happened. Now he rules the underworld, powerful, frightening, and one of the four owners of The Fallen Angel. Temple’s life is nothing like the one he was raised to live, but he’s (mostly) accepting of his fate. Then Mara Lowe, the woman who he supposedly killed, shows up at his club, offering him redemption in exchange for his help. Temple is furious, but now he has his chance for vengeance. He just never expected to fall for the woman who ruined his life…
No Good Duke Goes Unpunished is a bit difficult for me to review. I was so excited to start Temple and Mara’s story and expected a passionate, exciting romance the likes of which I know a talented author like Sarah MacLean can deliver. To the book’s credit, there is passion, and a satisfying ending for the romance, but… this book was a bit of a miss for me. Temple is out for blood when he learns that Mara deceived him and left him – and society – believing Temple to be a murderer. He wants vengeance, which is understandable, but his plan to achieve it is poorly conceived and, quite frankly, illogical. Rather than go the direct route and unmask Mara, he comes up with an overly complicated plan that can only be justified by the fact that this would be a very short story if everyone were straightforward. As for Mara, I was somewhat disappointed in her as a heroine. She had so much potential, but was frustratingly secretive for absolutely no logical reason. I understood her actions of twelve years ago; they weren’t right, but they made sense when you take into account that she was a frightened teenager. Ms. MacLean goes a bit overboard trying to redeem Mara, throwing everything in the story from orphans to a deranged brother to a pet pig. Mara does develop a guilt complex, but I would have more respect for a heroine who doesn’t keep secrets arbitrarily and gives honest, straightforward apologies.
Even though I have a number of issues with Mara and Temple and was a bit frustrated at the lack of honest communication that made little sense (other than to further the plot), No Good Duke Goes Unpunished has its good moments. Ms. MacLean’s prose is smooth and the story moves at an excellent pace. When they are open and honest with one another, Temple and Mara make a great couple. There are enough moments in the book that I enjoyed that the story isn’t a total loss for me. And, as I previously mentioned, the ending of the story satisfied my romance-loving heart. The Rules of Scoundrels series has had its ups and downs, but I finished Mara and Temple’s book looking forward to the final installment of the series, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover.