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Monday, May 28, 2018

Review: The Duke of Lies by Darcy Burke

I had such a hard time writing this review! Not because I didn’t enjoy the book but because I didn’t want to spoil anything but I wanted to talk about what I loved about it! Lol.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Darcy Burke Publishing
Release Date: May 29, 2018

Verity Beaumont has suffered domineering men most of her life, first with her father and then with her husband. Free from both of them, she has finally found peace. Even meeting a kind and hard-working gentleman who just might be the perfect father her young son so desperately needs. But as she dares look to the future, her carefully ordered world is shattered when her dead husband returns.

After six years away, Rufus Beaumont, Duke of Blackburn, returns to claim his place and protect his family. Only, the life he finds is not the life he left, and he must convince his wife that their marriage is worth fighting for, that he’s not the man he was. When the truth about what happened to him leaks out, he must prove that not everything about him, especially his love for her, is a lie.

What’s it About? Verity, the Duchess of Blackburn has endured domineering and downright abusive men all of her life, her father and then her husband but when her husband disappears soon after they’re married Verity is relieved and feeling more free and at peace than she ever though possible. Until he returns six years later, a very different man that the one Verity married. Rufus Beaumont, Duke of Blackburn wants to claim his place and his family but he is determined not to be the man Verity remembers. Just as it seems that he may have the life he’s always wanted, the truth about him comes out and he finds he has to prove to Verity that not everything about them is a lie.

Overall reaction to the book? I do love the husband-thought-to-be-dead-but-suddenly-comes-back-different theme in romance because it can lead to one of two things: A bad man who has “seen the light” and is determined to fight an uphill battle to win back his wife, or a bad man who doesn’t come back and whose place is taken by an identical relative (twin, cousin, etc) for some reason or another and he ends up falling in love with said bad man’s wife.

The Duke of Lies takes it a bit further by weaving an interesting tale of greed, extortion, murder, and mystery into the romance between Verity and her not so dead husband. Darcy Burke was able to pull off both a mystery and romance in a way that had me up reading late into the night!

Poor Verity, I felt so bad for her at the moment she realized her husband was back from the dead and that her dreams of peace and freedom are going up in smoke. Though she doesn’t outright say it, she was abused by her husband early on in their marriage, verbally and I gather physically sometimes. She was treated little better than a broodmare and then abandoned when her husband decided he wanted to carry on his affairs and gamble and drink. Her relief at his disappearance had her battling some guilt over her thoughts but I liked that she didn’t try to act pious or saintly by feigning worry about the disappearance of a man who was definitely better off dead. Her honest reactions endeared her to me even as she tried to handle her situation with grace and dignity. I could literally feel her need to scream when her husband appeared again. I wouldn’t have blamed her if she had thrown herself on the floor and cried. She wasn’t a hysterical female though she sure had reason to be, and when several bombshells are dropped on her throughout the story, she soldiers onward without the slightest tantrum. I really liked her because of that and because she survived a husband who was a monster for sure.

And then he wasn’t a monster anymore. Yep, the dearly not so departed husband did a complete 360 from the cruel monster Verity remembered to an unsure, respectful, and dare I say caring man who wanted to claim the life that he should have had, and that includes winning over a frightened, and suspicious Verity. There aren’t any flashbacks to Verity’s early days with her husband but from the little hints the author gives, he was something else. This “new” version of him couldn’t be more different. He’s almost in awe of his life, his wife and their son. He is considerate of her needs for once and I really had nothing to compare this guy to because there is a lack of flashbacks and no prologue so it was like getting to know him for the first time.

Here’s the thing about The Duke of Lies though, that huge secret that the duke is carrying around? It’s revealed early on, heck, if you’re paying close enough attention you can guess what it is on your own. At first I was a little disappointed that that bombshell was revealed so early because I love a good intrigue BUT, in the end there was a reason it happened that way and I did see that it gave Verity and her duke time to adjust and build a new relationship that was based on mutual respect, affection, and friendship. Not to mention that these two had to be a strong united front for the crap storm that was coming their way. And it is a BIG crap storm. So big points to Darcy Burke for handling everything not only in a timely manner, but in a way that gave these two characters a chance to fall in love and face conflicts together instead of using it tear them apart and create unnecessary drama. The circumstances were dramatic enough!

Click It or Skip It? Click It. I obviously missed out on what sounds like a good series. I could kick myself because I REALLY want to read the previous books now. Don’t pass up The Duke of Lies though or else you’ll end up kicking yourself.

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