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A spinster and a spitfire

A Duke Will Never Do by Darcy Burke Darcy Burke Publishing Romance Pub Date 19 May 2020 Book Cover A Duke Will Never Do by Darcy Burke Darcy Burke Publishing Romance Pub Date 19 May 2020

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Untouchables series comes your next Regency obsession: The Spitfire Society... Meet the smart, independent women who’ve decided they don’t need Society’s rules, their families’ expectations, or, most importantly, a husband. But just because they don’t need a man doesn’t mean they might not want one.

After failing on the Marriage Mart, Jane Pemberton has two choices: submit to her parents’ edict to marry their boring neighbor or become a self-declared spinster and take up residence in the official headquarters of the Spitfire Society. It’s really no choice at all, and Jane is eager to embrace her newfound independence. She soon finds an unconscious viscount on her doorstep and nurses him back to health. When he offers to compensate her, she requests payment in the form of private instruction of a scandalous and intimate kind.

Having spiraled into a self-destructive abyss following the murder of his parents, Anthony, Viscount Colton, physically recovers under the care of an alluring spitfire. But it is her charm and flirtatiousness that soothes his soul and arouses his desire—until an extortion scheme forces him to face the sins of his past. Now, to save the woman who’s given him everything he lost and more, he’ll have to pay the ultimate price: his heart.

So once upon a Regency period, when a young girl fails to attract a suitor in the marriage mart before she become an old maid – usually around 21 years of age – she has to become an unpaid servant somewhere. To her family – her elderly parents, an ancient aunt as a companion, an extra nanny to her siblings’ children or similar.

And if you had the money yourself, which was very unusual, you could set up home with a companion yourself.

But young girls of 21 or even older women, seldom had their own money and so were dependant on others. So if you hadn’t got a husband and didn’t want to become an unpaid servant, what were you to do?

Luckily, for our young heroine, she knew someone who not only had money but also a spare house she could lend her to live in, and enough to spare her some money to maintain it and buy the necessaries and some fripperies.

So Jane refuses to marry the ‘last resort’ husband of her parents’ choice and sets up home as a spinster in the HQ of what was now he Spitfires Society. A society for women who wanted more than what was customary for themselves.

Hey wanted independence of thought and action and not necessarily an husband.

Jane is a nice young lady, nicer than her reputation appears – a scandal had been attached to her about which she had no inkling. And she takes pity on a rake because of her niceness and starts his reformation – very rockily.  A nice story but not with quite the oomph that I expect of Darcy, and little that’s new in discussion of society and customs that

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Greed leads to downfalls

A Duke is Never Enough Book Cover A Duke is Never Enough
Spitfire Society
Darcy Burke
Historical Fiction , Romance
Darcy Burke Publishing
Pub Date 25 Feb 2020

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Untouchables series comes your next Regency obsession: The Spitfire Society... Meet the smart, independent women who’ve decided they don’t need Society’s rules, their families’ expectations, or, most importantly, a husband. But just because they don’t need a man doesn’t mean they might not want one.

Notorious rake Marcus Raleigh, Marquess of Ripley, is gracing the gossip pages for a new reason: the rumors he may have murdered his swindling cousin. His quest for answers regarding his cousin’s death leads him to an incomparable self-declared spinster, and he is—for the first time—beguiled beyond reason. Neither is what the other wants, and yet their intense mutual infatuation is inescapable.

After abandoning her philandering betrothed at the altar, Phoebe Lennox fled from London only to return an heiress who refuses to follow the ton’s rules. She won’t risk a relationship of any kind—until she meets the scandalous Marquess of Ripley. Swept into his seductive embrace, her resolve falters in the face of a pleasure she never anticipated. But when the truth about Marcus and the murder come to light, Phoebe could lose everything she holds dear, including a love for all time.

Darcy delivers another nice historical romance.
This book continues that sort of the fraud investment scheme from previous books in this series. Moving in the same social circles and meeting more people from this society we encounter Drobbit. Drobbit and his cousin in fact. Drobbit being the scoundrel who has been the front person who has persuaded a number of gentlemen to invest in a scheme that promises high returns. These gentlemen are either greedy or in need of funds and thus a scheme that promises high returns for their capital is enticing. Of course it is a pyramid scheme that only provides the high returns on the very first small tranche of investment that persuades them to invest the larger portion. Which is then lost of course. Drobbit has either spent it or given it elsewhere to repay his debts or perhaps was an early investor in this scheme himself?
And of course there is a romance.

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The Duke Smiles

Joy to the Duke Book Cover Joy to the Duke
(Love is All Around Book 3)
Darcy Burke
Historical Romance
Darcy Burke Publishing
Pub Date 12 Nov 2019

Denied the woman of his dreams by his father’s meddling, Calder Stafford, has spent the last decade proving himself to be self-sufficient, austere, and utterly uninterested in joy. Now that he is the Duke of Hartwell, he’ll enact his revenge by abolishing the holiday traditions his father loved so well. His sisters will not sway him and neither will the woman—newly returned to town—who was stolen from him.

Returning to Hartwell to care for her mother, widow Felicity Garland is delighted to be back home, especially for the holidays. However, the jolly festivities she expects are nowhere to be found. When she goes to the source of the problem—the duke—she’s astonished to see how much the young man she once loved has hardened. It’s up to her to break through the impenetrable fortress around his heart—not just to save Christmas, but to save him.

As always a nice read from Darcy. We follow up Mr Grump from the previous novels and his love life and what happened with him and his father.

The storyline continues with orphans and women who need homes due to missing husbands for whatever reason and we have a type of Dickens Xmas novel without the ghosts of Christmas Past but lots of Actions of Father’s Past to replace it.

This book really just rounds up the story lines from the previous novels in the series without any more social commentary of the era – except a side of doctors bleeding people when they are very ill which really did no good at all. Doctors were basically, mostly, incompetent and a transmitter of diseases.

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Gifts keep coming

The Gift of the Marquess Book Cover The Gift of the Marquess
by Darcy Burke
Romance Historical
Darcy Burke Publishing
Pub Date 15 Oct 2019

The Marchioness of Darlington wants nothing more than a houseful of children, but after three years of marriage Poppy has given up hope. When she learns her husband doesn’t share her sense of loss, Poppy tries to soothe her aching heart by helping at a local institution for single women and mothers. But the arrival of an expectant mother only reignites her longing, driving the wedge between her and Gabriel deeper. After losing his mother and sister in childbirth, Gabriel, the Marquess of Darlington, is secretly glad his wife hasn’t been able to conceive. He can’t bear the thought of losing her, not even to achieve their dream of having a family. Desperate to prove his love, Gabriel makes a shocking proposition. It’s a risk, but if he can overcome Poppy’s fears and hesitation, he can give her what she wants most for Christmas. From the USA Today bestselling author of The Untouchables comes a Christmas Regency series! Don't miss these holiday classics retold with love, passion, and heart. Book One: The Red Hot Earl Book Two: The Gift of the Marquess Book Three: Joy to the Duke

As always Darcy has managed to add in a social commentary to her Historical Romance series of novels.

In this book we consider the issues of illegitimacy; rape by aristocracy of housemaids and the inability of the maids to bring them to justice; poor laws and the dreadful houses for single women with children that separated them and failed to provide a means to earning a living; sterility when you need an heir and spare for the title; and finally childbirth and the dreadful rates of deaths in childbirth and of babies.

There were 3 main causes of childbirth death up till the 20th century.

1. Puerperal fever or Pyrexia – which was carried by doctors and midwives on their hands and clothes from one patient to anther due to lack of washing, disinfecting etc.

2. Placenta previa or separation of the placenta and thus haemorrhages.  If the uterus failed to contract after birth or there was some trauma, all of these could cause blood loss which they were unable to stop and of course, there were o transfusions then.

3. Eclampsia or pre-eclampsia.

In all, there were up to 25 deaths in childbirth for every 1000. And still births were not recorded so we have no knowledge of just how many babies were born and not named. It was the custom for many families not to name the child until it had lived for a week or even a month. And thus a death would not be officially recorded.

It was no wonder then, that people feared childbirth… I know I would have died in childbirth if I had lived then and so would my son.

All the above not withstanding, it was a well crafted story with a nice romance and good story-telling. I enjoy her books and they do tend to make me think about the social inequalities and other social issues, which is a good thing, and makes these stories just that little bit more.

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Social commentary and Romance

The Red Hot Earl Book Cover The Red Hot Earl
Love is All Around Book #1
by Darcy Burke
Romance, Historical
Darcy Burke Publishing
Pub Date 24 Sep 2019

The Earl of Buckleigh was once an untitled misfit, tormented at Oxford. Now, he’s overcome his challenges and is eager for the future, especially when his oldest and dearest friend, Bianca, needs help to save the annual holiday party. Ash has a plan to rescue the event, but when the bullies from his youth are up to their old tricks, he must risk everything to put the past behind him and find true love. Furious when her brother refuses to host the St. Stephen’s Day party, Lady Bianca Stafford is committed to giving the villagers their celebration. In Ash, she sees salvation for their local tradition, and perhaps a future she never expected. But her brother has other plans for her—a Season and marriage, and not to Ash. When disaster strikes, everything she cares about is threatened and it will take a miracle—or a hero—to save the day. The Red Hot Earl is inspired by the song and story, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The thing I like about Darcy Burke is that in each book she explores an aspect of society apart from the whole historical romance and women’s lib in the 1800s.

This book looks at the problem of people having Tourette’s when it wasn’t realised to be a medical syndrome.

Tourettes is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. The disorder is named for Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, the pioneering French neurologist who in 1885 first described the condition.

Before  this time it was thought to be a ‘problem that could be cured by [harsh] treatment and was voluntary on the part of the sufferer. Of course, the more people tied to ‘cure’ it, the worse the syndrome became as stress aggravates, as with stuttering and so on.

So we found here in the Earl in question.

The problem he also had was, although he didn’t know it, but suspected, he had a 50% chance of passing the syndrome on to his children. So add that to a nice Regency romance and you get a book worth reading.

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