Burke, Darcy. A Secret Surrender. Beaverton, OR: Darcy Burke Publishing, 2020.
ISBN-13: 978-1944576868 | $4.99 USD | 294 pages | Regency Romance
Set in the world of The Untouchables, indulge in the saga of a trio of siblings who excel at being something they’re not. Can a dauntless Bow Street Runner, a devastated viscount, and a disillusioned Society miss unravel their secrets?
A survivor of the mean streets of London’s East End, Selina Blackwell has learned to be a chameleon, and in her current iteration as a fortune-teller, she’s able to provide a Season for her sister. Only, Madame Sybila can’t be a chaperone, so Selina takes on another identity as the proper Lady Gresham. But when a Bow Street Runner takes too much of an interest in her business, it seems the crimes of her past will finally come to light.
Determined to prove that Madame Sybila is a fraud bent on fleecing London’s elite, Harry Sheffield enlists the help of the alluring Lady Gresham in exchange for introducing her to Society’s best. With his busy career and aspirations for the future, Harry has no time for marriage, but an affair is just right—until he discovers the lady’s disarming secret. Whatever his feelings for her, he can’t ignore who she is and who she’s been. And when she holds the key to the one case he couldn’t solve, he must choose justice or love.
I received an ARC from the author through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
A Secret Surrender is the first in Darcy Burke’s new series, The Pretenders. And while there are some connections to previous series, particularly those in her expanded “Untouchables” world, it can be read as a stand-alone, which I can attest to, having read only a few of the previous books in that world.
While the premise has been a bit hit-or-miss for me, I was glad to see it was another new book that had the law-abiding hero falls for a heroine involved in slightly nefarious activities. And I admired Selina for doing what she had to do to ensure Beatrix had a good future and didn’t have to resort to the same wheeling-and-dealing she did after a hard life on the streets, even though I knew it was only a matter of time before her house of cards fell.
I also liked Harry and his strong sense of justice, and how it comes into question when he falls for Selina in one of her guises and eventually finds out her game, admittedly much later than I would have liked. While I do feel like both came from a similar place of wanting to do good, even if they pursued this in different ways, I wanted more from the ending, as I’ve found myself wondering how people can trust each other again so quickly after such a massive betrayal.
I still found this book fairly solid, and I can’t wait for the next one for Beatrix’s story. I recommend this to all historical romance lovers.
Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Join her Reader Club at http://www.darcyburke.com/readerclub.
A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, two Bengal cats and a third cat named after a fruit. In her “spare” time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say “no,” but she keeps having to start over. Her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.