Review – The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Posted May 7, 2018 by smutmatters in Historical, Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLeanThe Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #1
Published by Avon on December 29, 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 419
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Barnes & Noble
Apple Books


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 really wanted to rate this one a little higher than 3.5 stars, but I didn’t like King, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. He was such an unmitigated asshole for two-thirds of the book, and I don’t think Sarah MacLean left enough time for him to come around. And there definitely wasn’t enough groveling.

I looooved Sophie. She’s the youngest of the infamous Talbot sisters – infamous because their father won his title in a card game instead of inheriting it like a respectable member of the ton. The sisters have plenty of fun nicknames including The Spoiled S’s (all of their names begin with the letter S), and The Dangerous Daughters (apparently they’re all considered harlots). Sophie is the one least concerned with getting married or settling down. In fact, all she wants is to leave London and go back to the quiet country life they had before the card game that changed everything. When she inadvertently creates her family’s biggest scandal by tossing a duke ass-first into a goldfish pond, she’s had enough. She’s so pissed that she’s the one being scorned for throwing the duke into the pond, and the fact that she did it because she found the duke, who’s married to one of her sisters, screwing someone else in a garden shed at a party, doesn’t matter. She stows away on a carriage heading to the country and is determined to hide out until the scandal blows over, when she will open a bookshop and live the quiet life she craves. Sophie is pissed off about her specific place in 1833, and women’s place in 1833 in general. She’s straining against the bullshit restrictions placed on her and unsure how to get the life she wants. She’s smart, she’s funny, and she’s not here for anyone’s bullshit.

Unfortunately for Sophie, during her escape, she comes to the attention of the Marquess of Eversley (King). He’s a notorious rake, and she has no desire to be saddled with his company. The Marquess returns the sentiment, having no desire to travel with the youngest and most “unfun” (his word, not mine) member of the Spoiled S’s. I disliked King almost immediately, and it just got worse as the story went on. He’s one of those men I’ve bitched about before – “My high school girlfriend cheated on me, so I will never trust another woman again as long as I live.” Never mind that this same man is now in his 30s and has friends and family members all around him in completely happy relationships. Nope – one stupid teenage girl screwed up, so all women are untrustworthy.

King’s opinion of all women is based on the girl he decided he loved when he was 17 or 18. It turns out she was a social climber, only interested in him because of the title he could bestow. Ok – that sucks. For sure. Since then, though, he’s built a reputation appearing to “ruin” women in the ton who are being forced into marriages they don’t want. So as an adult, he’s helped dozens of women who wanted to marry for love instead of a title, but this one teenage girl’s mistake 20 years ago is what will guide his whole life? The mistake made by this one teenage girl means he can treat Sophie like garbage for the entire first two-thirds of this book because he assumes she’s a social climber? She has a title, no matter how she got it! And her family has more money than almost everyone else in the ton. She tells King what she wants and what she’s trying to get by leaving London, and he repeatedly calls her a liar, tells her that she’s boring and that no one will want her, and leaves her in situations he knows will be dangerous for her.

Sarah MacLean is one of my favorite historical writers, and this book won’t change that. It’s beautifully written, and I kept turning the pages because I wanted to see what Sophie was going to get into next and how she was going to get herself out of it. I was happy for Sophie that she ended up getting what she wanted,  I just really wish she hadn’t wanted King.


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.

A columnist for The Washington Post, Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. 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.