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New Release Review! A SECRET SURRENDER by Darcy Burke (The Pretenders #1)

A Secret Surrender cover

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.

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Review:

A new series from Darcy Burke; yessssssss!

Set in the world of The Untouchables, The Pretenders follows a trio of siblings (well, two siblings and a pseudo-sibling) who aren’t exactly on the right side of the law at all times. One might even say they’re pretending to be something they’re not, quite often. Hence, the title of the series 😉 And I am here for it!

I really enjoyed Harry and Selina’s story, even though I spent about 2/3 of it urging her to just tell him the truth already. I honestly didn’t blame her for not having done so, really–he is quite the stickler for truth and justice after all, essentially the Captain America of the Untouchables universe (minus the shield and switch the phrase to “Regency England’s @ss”) but I still wanted her to ‘fess all to him. I knew he’d forgive her…eventually. I felt major amounts of sympathetic guilt in the meantime, though, and it was killing me!

I liked the dash of suspense here–it added an extra layer to the plot, and I honestly didn’t guess who the villain was until the big reveal. I also loved the role families played here, both Selina’s and Harry’s. I always enjoy sibling-based series, so I’m really looking forward to the next two books (write fast, Ms Burke! ;)) and OMG, Harry’s family was a hoot. Dare I hope that his older (twin) brother will get a book as well? Fingers crossed!

Rating: 4 stars / A-

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