No Good Duke Goes Unpunished is by far the most divisive of the books read in the Summer of Sarah MacLean event. People have very strong feelings about Mara and Temple. Who could blame them? Mara did frame Temple as the Killer Duke for twelve years, that’s always a great place to start a romance 😉
The Summer of Sarah MacLean event hosts are Kelly Gallucci (bookish.kelly, Instagram) and Dana Cuadrado (To All the Nerdy Girls, 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:
First, I have to mention the true beauty of Sarah MacLean‘s third Book of Scoundrels cover and step back. The green is exquisite!
Okay, onto to Mara and Temple! I’m not going to lie, I struggled with both of these characters. Not to the point that I didn’t like the book. But I can understand the rage I read in some reviews.
Mara Lowe was due to marry the Duke of Lamont, Temple’s father when she was just a teen. For this reason and others explained in the book, she could not let this happen. She staged her escape leaving the world and Temple to believe that he had killed her. Only to resurface, to ask Temple to forgive her brother’s gambling debts twelve years later.
Mara is a strong heroine and fights for what she wants. She has many admirable traits but she also left Temple thinking he was a murder for twelve years! MacLean includes facts that make Mara a likeable character, including Lavender, but still, I struggled.
I completely understood and supported Mara escaping her marriage as a teen. But her decision wait twelve years and not telling Temple about the orphanage money never made sense to me.
We know Temple, the Duke of Lamont or Killer Duke from the previous Rule of Scoundrel novels, and I must admit I enjoyed him. His interactions with Pippa made me smile. But in this book, it was a harder sell.
Yes, I agree he had every right to be livid with Mara for framing him as a murderer. But I actually found him kind of scary and not in a good way. At one point, Temple chases Mara through the streets. Despite MacLean explicitly telling us that Mara was not afraid, I did not like it.
Temple also treated Mara disrespectfully on more than one occasion. Yes, he is mad, but it was all a bit much. At points, I found it difficult to root for the two of them to get together.
Now, there were others who ADORED this romance. So I do not want to dissuade people from reading, you may LOVE IT. But I do want people to know that this is very different then MacLean’s other books.
MacLean is the Queen of the grovel and in this book both characters needed to grovel. And grovel they did. But did they grovel enough for you to accept their happily ever after? In my opinion, yes – but we all have our own personal perspectives on what would be enough.
There is definitely an instant sexual attraction between Mara and Temple. In some ways, they do complement one another.
I greatly enjoyed seeing the characters from the other books interact with Mara. Especially as they showed their protectiveness for Temple.
So while I can’t claim to adore this book, I certainly don’t hate it as some GoodReads reviewers do. It’s still a Sarah MacLean book and I do adore the way she writes. Honestly, I don’t know of a single author where I adored all their books. This was a book of interesting characters, both main characters clearly living in the grey.