Of course, I was aware of Sarah MacLean prior to this year's RWA Conference in Atlanta. She writes sassy Regency romances, which I devour daily. But when she sat at the table with three of my chapter mates at the Awards presentation, they were entertained by her wit and charm. And when she capped off the night by winning the RITA for best historical, I decided it was time to get to know her again.
A Rogue By Any Other Name is a perfect place to begin getting reacquainted. It's the first of the Scoundrels books (and you know I love a good scoundrel). Michael Bourne gambled away his lands when he was barely old enough to enter a gambling hell. Faced with such a devastating loss, he decided to never gamble again, but to open a business where he would benefit from others' weaknesses. He and his partners formed the most famous gambling hell in all of England. He's a rogue and a scoundrel and proud of it.
Penelope was his best friend when they were children. Now she's a spinster with attitude. She hates Michael for leaving her, first when he went off to college, then when his fortunes fell from his grasp. Now, he's back and wants to marry her. She's not buying it.
This is a great read, with a spirited heroine who defies convention and doesn't marry just so she can save face among her peers. She's holding out for the real thing. How can a writer of historical romances not be inspired by a RITA winning book?