A Duke Will Never Do
In A Duke Will Never Do, Darcy Burke continues her Spitfire Society series with a story featuring Jane Pemberton and Anthony, Viscount Colton, both of whom appeared in the first two books in the series. But one need not read those before reading this one.
Anthony is perpetually drunk and has been since his parents’ murder by a highwayman. No one knows that their death was actually his fault and is the real reason he drinks. Jane Pemberton finds Anthony on her doorstep one morning, beaten and bruised. She takes him inside and begins helping him to heal.
Jane is a self-proclaimed spinster living in Phoebe Lennox’s house. Although she will never marry, Jane realizes that means she will also miss out on some of the pleasures to be had with a man. And boy, does she NOT want to miss out on those. She begins convincing (I use that word loosely) Anthony to show her what she’s missing out on by not having a husband. He is incredibly reluctant at first but eventually relents.
A few mysteries soon arise: a blackmailer for Anthony. Someone who spreads a vicious rumor during Jane’s first season that effectively ruined her. These mysteries make up the bulk of the plot and honestly saved the book from being a complete failure. I always love a good mystery and I found both of these to be enjoyable.
Aside from the blackmailer and the rumormonger plots, nothing much else happens. There’s a lot of insta-lust and the same thoughts being thought in different ways, which made for a very slow read.
I did like Anthony, for the most part, although his ‘woe is me’ attitude did wear on my nerves quickly. The way his drinking problem was dealt with was very different from that often seen in romances and seemed more realistic that way. And I did understand why he felt guilty for his parent’s murder. Aside from those things, though, he didn’t seem to have much of a personality. I can’t really tell you anything about him besides that he’s an alcoholic that feels guilty because that’s all I learned about him.
My absolute biggest issue with this story was Jane. I am not easily offended by any means, but neither am I a fan of one person relentlessly pursuing another despite the other person’s reservations. And that’s exactly what Jane does throughout this title; she wants to sleep with Anthony and continually pressures him throughout the story. There was even one scene that greatly bothered me where Anthony declined to have sex with her and she said something along the lines of, ‘but I thought you wanted me’ as if she was trying to make him feel guilty. Her advances were hard to stomach, especially since they began very early on and continued until she got her way. Imagine the outrage had the situation been reversed, and it had been Anthony pressuring Jane into sex.
A Duke Will Never Do started off quite promisingly, with an independent heroine and a hero in need of help. Unfortunately, insta-lust, a lack of plot, and an overly pushy heroine destroyed any momentum the book started with and made it a tedious read. And I never did work out why there’s the word “Duke” in the title when the hero is a mere viscount!
~ Jessica Grogan