The Rogue Not Taken (Sarah Maclean)

December 14, 2015 Book Reviews 6 ★★★★½

The Rogue Not Taken (Sarah Maclean)The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #1
Published by Avon on Dec. 29, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: the publisher
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Also by this author: The Day of the Duchess, How the Dukes Stole Christmas


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 received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


I loved The Rogue Not Taken! At times, it had me laughing aloud; mere pages later, I’d find myself in tears. Complex characters, an improbable but highly entertaining runaway scenario, and realistic emotional interactions combine to make this one of my top historical romances of the year.

Sophie has strength, spirit, and a clear-eyed distaste for the hypocrisy of the ton; King is infuriating and sometimes obnoxious, but he’s not as uncaring or ungentlemanly as he seems; in fact, quite the opposite despite his words. They spar and argue even as they are each coming to like, to respect, and ultimately to care for the other.

The last quarter of the book feels like one of those classical music pieces with multiple finales. I kept thinking “This must be the final obstacle/misunderstanding; after this, everything will work out and they’ll get their happy ending” — but each time, it wasn’t quite worked out, and something else would arise to throw a monkey wrench into their relationship. In less-skilled hands, I would have found this annoying, but Maclean had made me care so much about Sophie and King, and wrote these scenes with such depth of feeling, that I simply couldn’t stop reading.

I think this is only the second Maclean romance I’ve ever read, and already she has joined my list of favorite historical romance writers. Brava, Ms. Maclean, for a brilliant start to what I hope will be a terrific series.




About Sarah MacLean

New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller Sarah MacLean is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical romance from the Romance Writers of America.

Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. She is the author of a monthly column celebrating the best of the genre for the Washington Post. Her work in support of romance and the women who read it earned her a place on’s Sheroes list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to call her “gracefully furious.” A graduate of Smith College & Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Historical Romance Reading Challenge 2015

6 Responses to “The Rogue Not Taken (Sarah Maclean)”

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I’m asking myself the same question. I read one of her earlier books and really enjoyed it, but never got around to any of the others. I have two or three on my Kindle, though, so I’ll probably indulge in them over the next few months, in between review books.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I’m impressed by how well she moves from humor to heartfelt emotion; it’s a very good balance. I’m looking forward to reading more of her books!