Never Have I Ever With a Duke, by Darcy Burke

ezzasyuhada's review against another edition

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I quite enjoyed the book because I really liked the protagonist Arabella because she liked sex and she went and got her man without being shy about it. I can respect that.

The ending bothered me a bit because it was very convenient...

There were parts in the book where i felt the phrasing and the plot were repetitive but after the midpoint that stopped so thank God.

I wished the meeting between Graham and Tibbord was more climactic but i suppose it isnt meant for this book

Overall i quite enjoyed the book just the ending was a bit meh

rainnbooks's review against another edition

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Many thanks for a free copy of this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.

Never Have I Ever With A Duke, first of all, that title just got me laughing out loud, the kind of connotations that I could imagine with it, giggly, giggly…...

This book came at a very opportune moment, the covid crisis in our country has kind of zapped all the energy and positivity in our hearts leaving everyone scampering and worrying to death about AIR to breathe. Tensions and stress levels are rocket-high so the only escape is thru books and this one provided a much-needed break from the constant anxiety-riddled state that I have been in.

Darcy Burke begins a new series, The Spitfire Society with Never Have I Ever With A Duke and the beginning couldn’t have been any better. The protagonists of the story Arabella and Graham are both destitute and desperate to marry for the sake of financial status, Arabella to save her parents, and Graham to save the mansion that has been the pride of their family for ages.

Graham is an accidental duke and it shows in every single action of his, he’s kind and caring towards everyone and is still learning the ropes of the debt-ridden dukedom he has inherited. The interactions between Arabella and Graham had some fun moments especially the ones in the park where Graham takes it upon himself to be Arabella’s fencing tutor. Love that blossoms between the two of them could have been more in action, most of the realization occurs thru the monologues that Arabella and Graham seem to be having and it is in fact the desire that spurs the relationship forward. I loved Arabella’s characterization as someone who has no qualms about taking risks and who is willing to go the extra mile to be happy for the moment.

There are other characters in the story like Ripley and Colton and Arabella’s friends like Jane and Phoebe, the series continues with their adventures and I am looking forward to reading them soon.

Fun and light-hearted historical romance that makes one feel good, exactly what I wanted right now and for that, A Huge THANK YOU to Darcy Burke and Erica Ridley!

This review is published in my blog, Goodreads, Amazon India, Facebook, and Twitter.

beckymmoe's review

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Reviewed on my blog, Becky on Books, on 8/28/19.

Never Have I Ever With a Duke is the first in Ms. Burke's Spitfire Society series, a spinoff of her Untouchables books. It will work fine as a standalone as it nicely sets up a new group of characters for readers to love; for those who have read the original series, several favorite characters will make guest appearances here to make you smile.

I really liked both Arabella and Graham; Ms. Burke made them both very likable. She gave them as good a reason that they couldn't be together (poverty and impending ruin in society if it is discovered) as she did a compelling one that they should (solid chemistry, helped along with fencing lessons...and an excellent recipe for butter biscuits.) Even as I wanted them to be together, I despaired that they would find a way to be able to.

I loved how Ms. Burke had the two of them working together to try to bring the swindler who caused their mutual financial distress to task; it made for some fun reading. I hate to admit, though, that though I was thrilled that they did find an HEA (of course they did! It is romance, after all...) the way that they achieved it just didn't have the impact that I had been hoping for--it felt a bit flat. Still, an HEA is an HEA--and apparently, the secret to a happy life is "love, butter biscuits, and a dog" so--mission accomplished.

I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series, Ripley and Pheobe's story. Is it February yet? ;)

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

jillmlong's review

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I like the story but I felt that this book just fell flat for me. The main characters were good but I didn't feel the connection that they shared. I wanted more from them. Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for this ARC.

laffingkat's review

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This Regency romance is the first book in Darcy Burke’s new Spitfire Society series. Most of the characters were introduced in the related Untouchables series, and this book refers to events that occurred in that previous series. While all of these stories interconnect, each book focuses on one couple and can be enjoyed on its own. It is, however, fun to see all of the couples from the previous books make appearances in this book.

Both of the main characters in this story are awkward yet amiable. Graham and Arabella had good chemistry with each other, and it was also fun to watch them interacting with their friends. I loved the idea of the Spitfire Society, although I’m currently more curious about Ripley and Colton than the spitfires. Fortunately, we’ll see more of all these characters in future books in this series.

This is a light read with humorous moments and a sweet ending for our featured couple, although the characters do have to make some sacrifices to reach that happy ending. I thought the fencing lessons seemed unrealistic and the ending felt a little rushed, but otherwise this was a fun read.

Note that this book includes explicit scenes of premarital sex.

I received an ARC of this book from the author and volunteered to provide an honest review.

viktoria5c481's review

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When I requested this, I really swore I had read Darcy Burke before. Ironically, I may have dnf-ed the sort of companion book to this? But didn't get far enough to bother marking it?

Whatever the case, I'm glad I assumed otherwise and requested this.

Pros: the characterizations, hands down, and an enjoyable play against the usual the tropes (but not in the stereotypical "she's not like all the other girls" and "he's a rebel gentleman" way" you usually see). They're both pragmatic and practical about it, even if they waver between various feelings of guilt and embarrassment and acceptance about. For Arabella, marrying for wealth is the only way to rescue her family, even if she'd rather have an option for love or independence; it's the only option left. Graham's searching for another way for the money, but he knows marriage is the best way and he has to marry eventually anyway, right?

Spoiler-y pros:
Spoiler {Spoiler} I really appreciated that Arabella had been in love before and had no regrets or apologies about it, only a wistful remembrance about what might've been (and I was super surprised that he never did a surprise return for a conflict during the book considering he left England to make his fortune. Maybe he'll eventually be a character in a sequel?) and that Graham struggled with ~emotions and feelings~ before Arabella ever did. Also, I'm so happy that Arabella gave zero cares about St. Ives and had no bitterness, even when Graham felt awkward about his bff's role in her life. {/spoilers}

Cons: A few of the motifs felt forced, or at least placed for future series set-up. The plot meandered a bit and felt a little flat, especially considering it has one of my favorite things (a con man/scheme). However... it also ended on a really good set-up that's going to make me search out the second book. (Even if I'm not sure how much I like the proposed pairing.)

tl;dr: This a was a solid, unconventionally fun 3.5 series starter that not only enticed me to look for book #2, but also convinced me I need to go look for more of Darcy Burke's stuff.

Disclaimer: Thanks Netgalley & publisher for the free ARC, with no incentive or coercion on your parts!

sarahsbooklife's review

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When I first began reading this story I wasn't sure if I would end up liking it or not. At first I thought that Arabella would end up with the Duke, Graham, because he had money and because he'd promise to help her and her family. That it'd be a relationship begun through convenience that would change to love over the course of the story. Or at least that was the impression that the blurb gave me. And I'll be honest and say that I'm pretty glad that that wasn't what happened. I think that that would have been a little bit too cliche. I really loved the romance between Arabella and Graham. How their first meeting was purely by accident, and how they both believed that the other would be the answer to their problems. But they weren't. Which I thought was great. I liked that the challenge to reclaim their money wasn't straightforward and that they both had to help each other to do so. I really like it when a romance has elements of action and some other plot that changes and challenges the characters. I thought that this was a really fun, exciting, gripping, easy to read romance that I thoroughly enjoyed.

accidentalrambler's review

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3.5 stars.

This was lovely, if a tad short. But overall I really liked both Arabella and Graham as characters and as couple.

The story didn't do without some cliches, but it also had some very refreshing elements (like Arabella not being a virgin and not being oblivious when it comes to sex).

All in all, I am SO curious about Ripley's book!