The Forbidden Duke
Book 1, The Untouchables
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To avoid spending her future living off the kindness of relatives, spinster Miss Eleanor Lockhart must secure a position as a paid companion. Ruined after succumbing to a scoundrel’s excessive charm nearly a decade ago, she’s lucky to obtain employment and committed to behaving with the utmost propriety. She definitely shouldn’t be in the arms of a man capable of utterly destroying what little remains of her reputation...
Titus St. John, Duke of Kendal, is known as the Forbidden Duke, a mysterious, intimidating figure who enters Society just once each year at his stepmother’s ball. A decade ago, he was a devil-may-care rake until his idle roguery brought about the ruin of Eleanor Lockhart—and his resulting self-imposed isolation. Now she’s back, and she needs his help. But by “saving” her, he may just ruin her life all over again.
Great Start to a New Series
After everything that has happened since her very disgraceful exit from Society, Miss Eleanor “Nora” Lockhart now finds that she is penniless and homeless. What is a lady with no marriage prospects to do? Get a job as a paid companion, of course. Upon her first interview with Lady Satterfield, Nora’s life gets swept up in a maelstrom of the unexpected with a second chance of happiness.
The Duke of Kendal, Titus St. John, is the Forbidden Duke, a moniker that he has garnered through his solitary lifestyle since the unexpected and tragic events of nine years ago. Since then, he has made every attempt to rectify and pay penance for the wrongs committed in his youth.
One of these wrongs includes Miss Eleanor Lockhart’s exile to the country. Imagine his surprise when he finds her working as a paid companion for her stepmother, Lady Satterfield. His stepmother embraces Nora and offers to sponsor her next Season. To assuage his guilt, Titus helps Nora in her goals of finding a husband. As they spend more time together, things start to heat up and lines become blurred. Can they save each other or will this end up in another scandal?
It’s been a while since Darcy Burke last released a historical romance but the wait has been worthwhile. The first installment to The Untouchables Series is The Forbidden Duke and it was breathtaking. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about when I could get back to reading it. The story of Miss Eleanor Lockhart and Titus St. John is like a fairytale of second chances, with Lady Satterfield playing the Fairy Godmother. I only wish this was longer (it is about half the length of her previous historical romances). There is much to look forward to, mainly The Duke of Daring.
A wonderful introduction to the series.
The first I’ve read of Darcy Burke’s historical romances, I found that my anticipation was met and exceeded on my enjoyment scale. I adored the characters of Eleanor and Titus, and Lady Satterfield was an utter gem, perfectly suited to the title of fairy godmother.
See, years ago Eleanor was a young innocent: starry eyed and full of romantic ideals and believing that everything told her was the truth. Unfortunately she was surrounded by society and their harsh judgments, and the notorious rake that had settled his eyes on her spoke all the words the young girl could want to hear. More unfortunate still, this man was after little more than yet another notch, and left her ruined and shamed, to flee from London with hopes of marriage and a good match thrown to the wind.
Titus St. John, Duke of Kendal has been floundering for the past few years, searching for something. More recently, the emptiness of his life and being ‘the rake’s rake’ among his group of peers had worn thin. Without a clue how to proceed, he’s retreated from all social engagements spare one, his stepmother’s ball, but that is where his nod to convention ends.
With the death of Eleanor’s father and the new awareness of just how impoverished she is, Eleanor must find shelter: her sister and her husband the vicar are not an option because of her scandalous past. Biting the bullet, she decides a position as companion would be suitable, if she finds the right dowager who can overlook the noise.
Enter Lady Satterfield, Titus’ stepmother and fairy godmother extraordinaire. Not unaware of the harsh double standards in judgments passed by the ton on everyone, she also is convinced that Eleanor’s misstep of years ago was due to her innocence and naiveté, and not a character flaw. So, she has decided to hire Eleanor, and provide her with a second chance… because it will give her stepson what he needs.
Approachable and convincing, the characters fairly breathe in the corners as you get to know them, feeling the weight of Eleanor’s shame at the scandal, Titus’ restraint and later guilt at knowing he ruined this young woman, not directly but by encouraging others for sport. Above all, the glue is Lady Satterfield: kind and generous, old enough to see the truth around her and the arrogance with which the ton passes proclamations, yet sensitive enough to see the true intentions and hearts of those she cares for. A wonderful introduction to the series.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the author via tour organizer for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.