ARC REVIEW: The Duke of Daring by Darcy Burke

Friday, July 15, 2016
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.

“You’re absolutely fearless, do you know that?”
Her gaze didn’t waver, nor did she flinch—confirming what he’d said. “I want what I want.”
He cupped the side of her face, his thumb moving over her flesh, soothing her. “And what’s that?”
“Freedom. Independence. Security.”

This starting off as quite a fun read for me, the heroine is a spinster at the ripe old age of 26 and enjoys shooting and gambling. The hero is a thrill seeker, from jumping into the Thames starkers, to flying in a hot air balloon to parachuting. When Andrew visits a gaming hell with his friends one night, he is surprised to realise that the slightly built young man he sees across the room is actually a woman. He immediately takes her under his wing, ensuring that Lucy who goes by Smitty is safe.

Lucy who doesn’t really trust any man is surprised when for the first time in her life a man treats her as an equal, knowing full well that she is a woman. Lucy and Andrew have one thing in common, they both do not wish to marry but when one meets like minded people one realizes that somethings aren’t as bad as they might have been when one has said like minded person around. Andrew comes up with the elaborate plan of having Lucy/Smitty accompany him and his friends around town as they gamble and take part in all manner of manly things. But the most important thing is that Lucy can make enough money so she and her Grandmama can retire to Bath in a respectable cottage. You see Lucy is rather penniless.

She simply needed to keep her focus. Maybe she ought to think of him as a brother. She nearly laughed out loud at that thought. Then she wanted to cringe. No, definitely not a brother.

There was a lot of longing in this book, Lucy longed to be free of society's constraints, Lucy longed to be independent, Lucy longed for happiness. And she longed for Andrew despite her better judgment. Andrew had just as any if not more heart wrenching longing and pain. He lost he's family when he was much younger. Just like that, a mother, a father, 2 sisters and a little brother. All lost within 1 week. So yes, Andrew is a broken man. But what I loved about him was while he might have been living a bit wrecklessly he didn't let his loss stop him from doing whatever he wanted except love someone that is.

While Lucy may have had the age old "I'm too ugly to be loved" syndrome, she wasn't a docile little creature who let people walk all over her. She was a strong woman who was loyal to her close family and friends. I really enjoyed this book, I probably enjoyed Lucy's escapades as a man the most. I'll definitely be reading other books in this series as I'm really intrigued about Ivy's story.

“Loving someone is accepting that you might lose them.”

ARC kindly provided by author in return for an honest review

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