I didn't know what to expect when I received this book as part of the Avon Addict program. I love historical romances, but I had never been introduced to Sarah MacLean in all my reading travels. Boy was I missing out. I LOVED this book!! So much so that I've deliberately not read the ending where a major plot reveal is made, mainly because I want to go and read the first two books in the series "Rogue By Any Other Name" and "One Good Earl Deserves a Lover." But enough about the series and onto "No Good Dukes Goes Unpunished."
I'm blown away with the writing of "No Good Dukes Goes Unpunished;" which I always am when an author can make me both love and hate the main characters. MacLean has a true talent for allowing her characters to be flawed in a manner that is easily relate-able and emotionally engaging. William Harrow, Temple as he is known in the book, was thoroughly ruined by the heroine Mara Lowe one night and has brutally made his way in the world the last twelve years. He turned his back on his heritage and went out and molded a new existence on the ruins of his past life; it is a brutal and violent existence; not typical for a fallen duke. What I found so engaging about Temple was his undukeness, he was a normal, everyday guy just intent on getting through one day at a time. In all my historical romance reads I can't think of another male lead character like him; which is why I found him so likeable.
Mara Lowe, on the other hand, had my instant dislike, for what she did to William that fateful night. When she goes to Temple to make a deal and his condition was to know what happened that night, I was right there with him. Mara is stubborn though and just would not tell him. I was sitting on the edge of my chair screaming at her to let us really know what happened that night and why it happened. However, as the story continues I found it hard pressed to continue to dislike Mara. She is a strong woman who also carved out a new existence for herself and I respected her for her choices.
What was intriguing were the parallels between the two characters once their lives were changed. Both managed to create new lives, a new existence and they were both much stronger for it. I shudder to think that there would have been no Temple if Mara had not done what she did. We would have been left with that spoiled fop of a boy William that never have developed into Temple and even Temple tells us that in the story. It was also ironic how the character that caused all the hurt and destruction was a woman; usually it is the male character doing the damage with the woman providing forgiveness in the end to heal the relationship. Very cool turnaround in "No Good Dukes Goes Unpunished" with the roles reversed.
"No Good Dukes Goes Unpunished" is one of my favorite reads of 2013! Even though it is a historical romance it did not have that historic romance feel to it; mainly because the story is focused on the relationship between Mara and Temple and doesn't involve the ton, estates, propriety as other historical due. So even if you are not a historical fan this may be one to add to your reading pile.