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Monday, April 9, 2018

Book Review: The Duke of Ruin by Darcy Burke

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The Duke of Ruin by Darcy Burke
Book 8 in The Untouchables series
ARC, e-Book; 304 pages
Darcy Burke Publishing
March 27th, 2018
★★★★ ½☆

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Genre: Historical Romance

Source: Received from publicist for review

With her betrothal to a duke in tatters and scandal imminent, Diana Kingman has two choices: live in certain ignominy or flee into obscurity. Diana wants solitude. She never wished to wed in the first place. However, her father will stop at nothing to betroth her to one of the finest titles in the realm...no matter how loathsome the bearer. Escape is Diana’s only option, and she’ll pay any price to achieve freedom.

Universally blamed for the death of his wife and unborn child, Simon Hastings doesn’t dispute his guilt over an accident he cannot even remember. He hasn’t had a drink since, nor a moment’s peace. Determined to be a better man, Simon rescues a young woman in need—only to be accused of kidnapping. They must marry to save him from prison. But how can a man haunted by the love he lost and a woman afraid to get too close find happiness together?

I have now read 5 of the 8 books in this series and I can comfortably say that this is among the strongest in the bunch. In a series of this length (with more on the horizon) it can be easy to fall into the belief that all of the books need to fit nicely together in some ways, and I felt like some of the earlier books in the series relied on this convention FAR too heavy handedly. ALL the ladies from prior books popped in and out and we had a conversational recap of pretty much everything that came before, which I felt entirely unnecessary. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think that The Duke of Ruin absolutely should be read after The Duke of Ice as it essentially picks up there the predecessor left off, but these two books are connected to the series MUCH more loosely and without all the added baggage of the prior novels. There is a sense of freedom when reading this book, especially if you have read others in the series. I didn’t sense like I knew what was going to happen at any given time. The majority of the characters are fresh and new and I was happy to continue turning the pages on this one.

As I stated, while this is technically a standalone novel within the series, I highly recommend reading The Duke of Ice first. While you are given the necessary details to start of this book and set the scene, that would be the one part of the book that I would describe as slightly clumsy. I have often struggled with how the books in the series interconnect or how much is told to the reader, and while it was still not quite on the mark here, it was must more successfully executed than in earlier novels. Simon and Diana were secondary characters if The Duke of Ice, however with significant roles, and I was happy to see them back in this novel as I enjoyed them both immensely in the prior book, even in their separate spheres. The characters motives will make much more sense to you if you read these books in order as you will have a complete sense of what led them to the point they are at upon the opening of the book.

In a sense I feel like this book is almost like a “bottle episode” of a sitcom – where the majority of it takes place between very few characters (Simon and Diana in this case) and within tight settings (mostly in a coach or at coaching inns). This setup, much like its television counterpart, really sets you up for a character driven narrative that can just build and build. Simon and Diana do not know much about each other as the novel opens, but that changes as their journey both literally and figuratively progresses.

One interesting aspect of the romance factor here was the “lesson” style, at least in the first instance, but it was one that I felt was done right. As with many historical romances, it is usually the first time for the heroine, but the hero has been well experienced in his past; that is no different here. When was most successful here is the authors use of “show vs. tell”, both for the reader as well as the characters. Nothing has been more awkward than to read a first encounter scene where it reads like a textbook and you walk away feeling grossly voyeuristic. That was NOT the case here and while it was a little surprising how it arose between the two characters, it was well handled in my opinion.

I look forward to reading more in this series and hope that they continue to follow in the style of The Duke of Ruin.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book:
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Also by Darcy Burke:

forbidden duke
The Forbidden Duke
(Book 1)

duke of daring
The Duke of Daring
(Book 2)

duke of deception
The Duke of Deception
(Book 3)
[My Review]

duke of desire
The Duke of Desire
(Book 4)
[My Review]

duke of defiance
The Duke of Defiance (Book 5)
[My Review]

duke of danger
The Duke of Danger
(Book 6)

duke of ice
The Duke of Ice
(Book 7)
[My Review]

Find Darcy Burke:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


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