From USA Today bestselling author Darcy Burke, your next Regency obsession: The Pretenders! Set in Burke’s popular 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?
Anne Pemberton was one of the Season’s most popular young misses until her betrothed was arrested for extortion at their wedding. Now a social pariah, she can’t help but think back to the dashing gentleman she met before the Season started. Though they spent several afternoons exploring East London together, they never disclosed their names. They did, however, share a kiss, and Anne can’t forget it—or him.
Former thief Rafe Blackwell is now a respectable gentleman with one goal: to take down the man who murdered his parents. Reunited with Anne, their attraction still blazes strong, and he can’t let her get too close, for his heart is forever cold and his mission too desperate. But when Anne seeks to save him—both emotionally and physically—he’ll have to embrace the darkness or risk losing the only light he’s ever known.
Finally, Rafe’s book! Totally worth the wait 😉
Anne and Rafe are a thoroughly delightful couple. From their initial trips around London as Lord Protector and Mrs. Dazzling (don’t worry, it’ll make sense when you read it ;)) to the epilogue, I absolutely loved these two on the page! Neither one of them is quite what one expects them to be–Rafe is much more of a sweetheart than I ever expected (though one who might still get involved in a pick-up knife fight) and Anne is way more daring and assertive than might be expected for a woman whose first attempted marriage ended in such a spectacularly awful fashion. I almost LOLed every time she put Rafe in his place–she constantly surprised both of us, I think!
Since this series is called “The Pretenders,” you know from the word go that deception is going to be a major part of the plot–and that chances are a lack of communication or mis-communication will probably play a role. Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of the “could have been resolved with a single conversation!” type of conflict, but here it worked, for the most part. Yes, Rafe should have come clean to Anne sooner than he did–just as Selina should have to Harry and Betrix should have to Thomas–but with their backstory and secrets, it’s complicated, and it makes more sense here than it often does.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t shaking my head in Rafe’s direction more than once, mind you. Lucky for him, Anne is a very understanding woman. With a very healthy sex drive 😉
Anne and Rafe’s story had so many connections to other Darcy Burke books–Rafe is Selina ( A Secret Surrender ) and Betrix’s ( A Scandalous Bargain ) brother, and Anne is Jane’s ( A Duke Will Never Do ) sister–there are references to events in other books as well, and even a few Untouchables show up here too. For all that, though, it *could* be read as a standalone if it had to–but for those who have read any (or all!) of the other books? Get ready for soooooo many A ha! and hold on, isn’t that…! moments 😉
Bring on the next series, Ms Burke; I’m ready! <3
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.