Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart is the fourth book in the Summer of Sarah MacLean event. The event is hosted by Kelly Gallucci, bookish.kelly and Dana Cuadrado, To All the Nerdy Girls on Instagram. For more information about this amazing event, you can look at my review of our first book, The Season. It’s not too late to join us! This is where I currently stand with my Summer of Sarah MacLean Bingo Card:
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart is the third in Sarah MacLean’s Love by Numbers trilogy. I LOVE third books in trilogies! And this love story was worth the wait.
Our heroine, the lovely Juliana Fiori is the newly found sister of Gabriel St. John, Marquess of Ralston and Lord Nicholas St. John. She has a mind of her own and is unimpressed by the rules of English society. Sadly, whether her intention or not, Juliana tends to meet scandal. Until she met the Duke of Leighton, Simon Pearson, who is the opposite of scandal, and their attraction is immediate.
MacLean had her work cut out for her with the Duke of Leighton as her hero. The Duke was introduced in the first book of the trilogy, Nine Rules, where we learned Callie does not like him, strike one. Next, we saw his reaction to his sister running off to live with Lady Isabel Townsend. None of these glimpses into the Duke’s character gave me hope for this hero. It seemed Simon cared about his place in society, and he would not lower himself to be with those who don’t meet his standards. Truly an arrogant man, it seemed. I was not a fan of the Duke at the start of this book. I truly felt Juliana deserved better.
Time for Maclean to step in and work her magic! Convince me that Simon is the Duke for Juliana, and that she does! We get Simon’s backstory and meet his horrid mother, both of which really help explain why he is the way he is. I actually felt bad for him. What really showed me Simon’s heart and gave me hope were his interactions with his dog. Yes, his dog gave me hope. This man does have goodness, he was just hiding it REALLY well.
Don’t get me wrong, Juliana is not blind to Simon’s flaws, she is just attracted enough to him to be able to overlook them for periods of time 😉 It would be very hard for Juliana to not enjoy Simon’s kisses.
Simon further endears himself to me and Juliana by coming to her rescue in a truly life-saving way. Sigh, a true hero. Not that Juliana saw it that way. But it was due to his heroics that I finally understood Juliana’s attraction.
Going back to the title of this book Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart is perfect! Juliana really is a walking scandal. She does try to her best to avoid it, as to not damage her family’s reputation. The Duke’s desire to avoid scandal makes this all the more fun.
What I love most about Juliana is she knows who she is and does not need to apologize. She sees English society as wrong and not herself, and that was so refreshingly beautiful. I adore that her first language is Italian, it leads to Juliana frequently getting English euphemisms wrong in the most endearing ways. Really, it was pointless for Simon to even try to resist her.
Truthfully, I love how MacLean showed how much better Simon’s life is with Juliana in it. In the end, what truly won me over was Simon is a better man when he is around Juliana and she also better for being in his life.
Simon did try to do what he thought was right for his family by becoming engaged to Lady Penelope Marbury. Poor Penelope never stood a chance, Simon simply could not live without Juliana.
I greatly enjoyed getting to see all the characters from the previous two books interact. MacLean also threw in some surprise characters which was truly a delight! This really was a wonderful conclusion to the Love by Numbers trilogy. Some books make you want to sigh with joy – this is one of them!