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Tempt who?

One Night of Temptation Book Cover One Night of Temptation
Wicked Dukes Club
by Darcy Burke
historical romance,
Darcy Burke Publishing
Pub Date: 25 Jun 2019

Faced with a marriage she can’t abide, Lady Penelope Wakefield takes drastic measures to preserve her freedom. Her brilliant plan is foolproof until a sexy but imperious rector “rescues” her.

Rector Hugh Tarleton has no patience for the Society philanthropists who seek to bestow their pity—and not much else—on his oppressed flock in one of London’s worst neighborhoods. When the daughter of a marquess is kidnapped and brought to the rookery, he vows to protect her, but the temptation to surrender to their mutual desire will certainly ruin them both.

For me this story lacked oomph. The heroine was rather weak and lacked personality and anything much to recommend her.  Thus there was little to the story – she didn’t want to marry the nasty piece of lecher her parents had picked out for her. So she attempted to get herself kidnapped. And that was it. She met a nice rector and….

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And the scandal was the price of bread..

One Night of Scandal Book Cover One Night of Scandal
Wicked Dukes Club
Darcy Burke
historical fiction, Regency, romance
Darcy Burke Publishing
28 May 2019

Jack Barrett is an ambitious member of parliament with no time or desire for a wife. When he catches the Duke of Eastleigh’s sister sneaking inside one of London’s private gentlemen’s clubs, he’s shocked—and dangerously charmed—and assumes the role of protector, only to discover she has the means to destroy him. Social pariah Lady Viola Fairfax masquerades as a man to pen a column in a popular women’s magazine. When she stumbles upon a brewing scandal that implicates a prominent MP, she seizes the chance to establish herself as a real journalist. However, the infuriating and intoxicating man may not be the radical he’s purported to be, and the more time they spend together, the more she risks the one thing she’s sworn never to do: fall in love.

Whilst this is a typical Regency romance in the normal trope – there is an extra fillip to this novel that I particularly liked. It made the central storyline relate to the political unrest at this time.

This was a time of rebellions on the Continent and also minor rebellions and lots of unrest at home in the UK.

The story talks about the lack of female and universal suffrage and the people who were agitating for the latter – the former had not yet crossed the men’s minds.. nor that on marriage a woman lost all right to property and money, not to mention her body.

On 28 January, 1817: Henry Bankes records that the Prince Regent’s coach was attacked as he returned after opening a new session of Parliament [https://dcc.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/bankes-archive/attack-on-the-prince-regent/]. It was never clear whether it was a bullet or bullets shot, or stones that were thrown at the coach, but it certainly worried the Govt of the time. This was period when the Tories were in power (as opposed to the Whigs) and who were predominately made up of  the aristocracy and those who were more right wing in political leanings – Whig was a term applied to horse thieves and, later, to Scottish Presbyterians; it connoted nonconformity and rebellion, whereas Tory was an Irish term suggesting a papist outlaw – so both were originally terms of abuse, that were later taken on board as ways of defining political leanings. [https://www.britannica.com/topic/Whig-Party-England]. Some politicians had hereditary boroughs to represent whereby one family held the seat for many years, some MPs represented what were known as Rotten Boroughs as they were in the ‘gift’ of a peer and rarely had many voters, and thus the MP had little to no work but still received his pay.

It was during this time that there was a great deal of unrest caused by poverty for instance the Bread Riots of 1800 and 1801 caused by a lack of bread for the poorer classes; lack of universal suffrage; and of course a number of philosophers – or writers of political treatises were being printed and widely circulated. Tom Paine was one such writer and his book, the Rights of Man was considered highly treasonable. [https://spartacus-educational.com/PRspencean.htm]

In response, the Govt decided that Habeas Corpus – ‘bring me the body’ – that was a Common law writ used when it was thought that a prisoner had been unlawfully imprisoned without trial and sentence, and which was generally used to require the prisoner to be brought to trial, was suspended in 1794.  Of course, if you don’t have any real evidence but just suspicions that this person is a rebel or is undertaking treasonable acts, then you don’t want to have to produce him.

By the early 1800s Thomas Spence had established himself as the unofficial leader of those Radicals who advocated revolution and similarly to current revolutionary cells, there was no central organisation, merely local groups which were autonomous. There was an argument that “if all the land in Britain was shared out equally, there would be enough to give every man, woman and child seven acres each”. The group of people who followed Thomas Spence were known as Spenceans. Whilst many who advocated reform at this time were peaceful, others were not and by 1820 a number of violent events had been planned – all were foiled by the use of police spies.

All this political unrest and the use of Govt spies provides a nice ‘spindle’ from which this story can be spun.

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Night-time is when you…..

One Night of Surrender Book Cover One Night of Surrender
(Wicked Dukes Club Book 2)
Darcy Burke
historical romance, Regency
Darcy Burke Publishing
30 Apr 2019

After one passionate night a decade ago, Valentine Fairfax, Duke of Eastleigh, never forgot Isabelle, the intelligent, witty and forbidden daughter of a head of college at Oxford. However, since suffering a disastrous marriage to an unfaithful wife, the duke has vowed never to succumb to temptation again. Until the day he discovers his friend’s governess is the one woman who still haunts his dreams.

Once penniless, Isabelle Cortland has finally saved enough money to finance a school for impoverished girls. But when a chance encounter rekindles buried desires, Isabelle knows she can’t be a duke’s mistress and a headmistress at the same time. No longer a naïve girl, Isabelle won’t repeat the past. Not even for one night of surrender...

A series in conjunction with Erica Ridley (an author I have read extensively, and thus was comparing) about certain ‘Wicked’ Dukes, their friends, and their romances.

An enjoyable tale, written competently but I found it too short for me. It could easily have been several pages longer in my opinion and then a more complex story could have been told. Whilst following the usual trope of ups and downs of a romance that we expect I was not sure that this book has quite the story-telling sophistication that for me is needed when re-telling Regency romances for the modern day. However, I’m more than happy to try another novel by this author. It is often awkward when joining in a series written by another author.

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