The second book in Darcy Burke’s new Spitfire Society series is out on Tuesday, and it’s a great read for a cosy afternoon in!
Book: A Duke Is Never Enough by Darcy Burke
Read before: No
Ownership: E-ARC provided free of charge via NetGalley. All opinions my own.
Content warning: Previous sexual assault of the heroine, discussed in detail on page; she has been left with a fear of sex which is discussed and recovered from on page. Handled sensitively but not particularly in depth.
As with most historical romance series, the romance side of the plot can be read as a standalone, but there are links in the background and the side characters. The Spitfire Society books tie into Burke’s previous Untouchables series, but mostly very lightly, in that some of those characters are friends with some of these, so you definitely don’t need to have read them to enjoy this. However, I think I would recommend reading the first Spitfire Society book (Never Have I Ever With A Duke) before starting in on this, as the non-romance side of the plot more directly follows it – it’s not essential, but it adds more weight to the story if you know there’s a whole other book’s worth of stakes behind it!
So, our hero is Marcus, the Marquess of Ripley, a well-known rake with a less-well-known heart of gold. We meet him as he’s chasing down his ne’er-do-well cousin, who was the antagonist of the first book – the weirdly named Drobbit is a swindler who has stolen money from several of the ton, including the previous hero and heroine. When Marcus accosts Drobbit in Hyde Park, he is injured, and his wound is cleaned up by a mysterious lady who refuses to give him her name. Of course, this is our heroine! Phoebe Lennox is fiercely independent and has set herself up very successfully as a spinster, with her own house and money. She’s determined never to need a man, but when sparks fly between her and Marcus, it’s hard to ignore.
The connection between Marcus and Phoebe is clear, both in terms of sexual chemistry and also a genuine friendship. There’s some banter, but there’s a lot more actual conversation, which is a really nice cornerstone for their relationship. I don’t usually like a plot where the heroine has a fear of men/sex due to past trauma, but it’s all easily fixed by her passion for the hero, but this is really well averted here. Phoebe is able to let go of her fears not because she’s attracted to Marcus, but because she grows to trust him deeply. She’s the instigator of anything they do, and he is always kind, and sensitive, and very aware of needing to let her take control. It’s really well done – I love when a hero is able to put his own wishes aside and just be a safe space for the heroine. Consent is a crucial part of all their scenes, but it’s worked in so naturally that it never feels like a capital-M Moral; just a genuinely good relationship.
I also – unusually for me – enjoyed the mystery side of things! The hunt for Drobbit and his business man Osborne is kept in the background enough to let the relationship blossom on its own, rather than having Marcus and Phoebe chase about all over London looking for him. The resolution is very satisfying, especially (as I said above) if you have the weight of the first book behind it too. There were moments where I really didn’t know how everything was going to be resolved, as the stakes get higher than usual!
Darcy Burke is one of those authors who I know will always provide a great relationship and a fun read, and this book is no exception to the rule. There’s only one thing that didn’t quite work for me, and that’s the title – there’s not a single duke in this story, so what’s that about?! But anyway – five out of five cats!