I received this book for free from Tasty Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Untouchables #2
Published by indie author on July 5, 2016
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
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Miss Lucinda Parnell is out of money, a dismal failure at the Marriage Mart, and she’d just as soon leave Society far behind. Desperate to earn funds to retire with her grandmother to the country, Lucy disguises herself as a man to gamble in London’s hells. But the Earl of Dartford, an Untouchable she never imagined speaking to let alone spending time with, is onto her in a trice. When he insists on joining her, Lucy fears her desire to remain an independent woman is destined to go up on flames.
As a boy, Andrew Wentworth, Earl of Dartford lost his family to illness, leaving him a hollow shell. Obsessed with conquering one adventure after another to fill the bitter holes inside of him, Andrew has set his sights on parachuting. Nothing will stop him from trying to achieve his goal—not the hazard of death and certainly not a woman who’s gotten far too close. Love is the one risk he doesn’t have the heart to dare.
After reading book 1 of Darcy Burke’s The Untouchables series, The Forbidden Duke, I was curious to see how succeeding books in the series would go, so when I got the chance to review The Duke of Daring, book 2, I took it.
I went into the read with some concern; in my review of the first book, I mentioned that I felt that the scene in which the heroines, present and future, labeled the rakish lords with various sobriquets felt too contrived. On this point, I was immediately put to rest, as the manner in which the Earl of Dartford’s nickname is brought into the story is much more natural and even amusing.
This may of course be because of the earl’s sense of humor and willingness to laugh at himself. Indeed, Andrew Wentworth, Earl or Dartford, is a man who doesn’t take himself very seriously, and it’s one of his more charming traits. Beyond that, he has a marked sense of honor, even if he won’t admit to it. But he lives like he’s got a death wish, thanks to the youthful trauma that leaves him unwilling to love or, indeed, to live his life to its full potential. At times, this stubborn refusal to see all he has to live for is a touch annoying, but I guess a hero has to have some flaws, and this is Andrew’s.
He meets Lucy, a notorious wallflower, when he discovers her ruse—she’s dressed as a man and playing cards at a gaming hell. Which says a lot about her character right there; she’s spunky and daring and willing to flout convention in order to achieve her goals. I had to admire her spirit, but again, if we’re going to name a fatal flaw, Lucy has one of her own: she doesn’t seem particularly savvy to the danger her charade puts her in, and she takes unnecessary risks just to prove she can handle herself. This would’ve been charming had she actually managed it, but as Dartford had to help her out of the situation, it came off as bravado.
Yet Lucy’s motivations go beyond swanning about London’s hells for the thrill of it. She’s doing it out of love of family and a desire to hold on to her independence, and she’s doing it because she refuses to settle into marrying anyone who’ll take her without a dowry. Dartford, on the other hand, lives up to his nickname because he refuses to plan out the rest of his life or, indeed, to commit to harboring affection for anyone, even a loyal servant—he hires and fires them like clockwork. Yet the difference in their situations and attitudes underscores what they can teach each other. Andrew learns to love and to really live again, while Lucy learns it’s all right to lean on another person once in a while.
This love story mightn’t be the most unique, but the chemistry and eventual commitment between the two main characters is definitely believable, and it should prove a diverting read for anyone into Regency romance.
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