Release Date: May 19, 2020
Series: The Spitfire Society
Heat Level: Hot
A Duke Will Never Do is the third in the Spitfire Society series from Darcy Burke. Jane Pemberton has decided to declare herself a spinster and shake off the shackles of society. She’s moved out on her own and intends to start living her life for her own pleasures. When Anthony, Viscount Colton, turns up on her doorstep beaten and incapacitated she brings him in to nurse him back to health. The two form a friendship that blossoms in to more, but can the secrets of Anthony’s past be put to rest for the couple to have their happily ever after?
I came into this series with the second book, A Duke is Never Enough, so I was excited to see Phoebe’s friend Jane get her story told. Jane is a sweet and unassuming woman who has spent her life pleasing others. She longs for something more than a life lived pleasing others, and she’s finally gotten the courage to grab that life for herself. I wasn’t sure how I’d like Jane as a heroine of her own story, because she’s a bit timid in the other book, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much inner strength and fortitude she had in her own book. I loved that Jane was carrying on with the Spitfire ideals and trying to do good in the world with charity projects as well as enjoying freedoms previously denied to her.
Anthony was a bit of a rouge in the previous book and I didn’t have high expectations for his character to win me over. In the previous book he’s prone to drinking, fights, and sleeping with sex workers. However, I do usually love a reformed rake, so I shouldn’t have been suspicious that Burke could turn Anthony into a proper romance hero in this book. I loved the raw vulnerability we get to see in Anthony’s character as he mourns the loss of his parents and his guilt over their passing. His wastrel ways are a direct reflection of his need to numb the soul crushing grief, and his ability to share that grief with Jane was one of my favorite parts of this book.
This book isn’t all about regrets and secrets, Burke also give us a wonderful and passionate affair between these two characters. Her ability to write the chemistry between Jane and Anthony is precisely the kind of “show don’t tell” style of writing I want in a novel. I love when an author is skilled enough to give me a love story that feels visceral, because I want to feel the highs and the lows with equal amounts of depth. Burke does this in spades with this book, and it was one of the most satisfying reads I’ve had this year.
I enjoyed this book so much, that I only found one miner issue in the entire novel. For me, the resolution between Jane and Anthony felt a bit rushed for my taste. I won’t give anything away, but you know that moment when the hero has been a bit of a jerk and must grovel his way back into the heroine’s good graces? Well, we get those scenes in this book, but call me a masochist, I wanted Jane to make Anthony squirm a bit more. I know he was having a hard time already, but I think Jane deserved a bit more and the grovel didn’t quite fit the crime for my taste.
Overall, I’m giving this book a 4 only marking down for the small issue I had with the ending. I loved these characters and the plot was intriguing enough to keep me very engaged. Lately, I’ve been struggling to enjoy historical romances, and I’m pleased to say that this book and its predecessor have helped to pull me out of that funk. Darcy Burke is a new to me author and I’m excited to read more from her. If you’re a fan of Sarah MacLean, Tessa Dare, or Sophie Jordan and you’ve never heard of Darcy Burke do yourself a favor and pick up this series today.