Wednesday, April 1, 2020

BLOG TOUR - Duke Darcy's Castle


Lance Granville, the Tenth Duke of Darcy, was none too happy to give up his career in the Royal Navy to inherit the family title, complete with an ancient castle he needs to renovate. When an architect arrives on his doorstep, Darcy is astonished to discover that she’s a woman.

Kathryn Atherton has one goal: to become the first woman architect in Britain. Marriage doesn’t figure in her plans. Despite the odds, her schooling is behind her. Now she needs experience. When she’s sent to a small tidal island in Cornwall to remodel a castle, the last thing Kathryn wants is to be attracted to its roguishly handsome owner.

Kathryn is determined to keep things professional, but the sizzling attraction between her and the duke quickly blazes out of control. When Darcy learns that Kathryn is an heiress whose fortune would save St. Gabriel’s Mount, he wages the most important battle of his life: to woo and win the woman who’s captured his heart. But (in an homage to Austen), the Duke’s first proposal is so Darcyesque, he is refused. In any case, duchesses can’t be architects. And Kathryn has worked too long and too hard to give up her career for anyone ….



Three American heiresses defy their family’s wishes, and social convention, to strike out and find their own happiness in late Victorian Cornwall.

Runaway Heiress: A Dare to Defy Novel (Book 1)

Brainy and college-educated, American heiress Alexandra Atherton will do anything to avoid marriage to the English peer her mother has chosen for her—even abandon the life of privilege she’s always known. But as her escape goes horribly wrong, Alexandra must invent a new identity to gain the help of a handsome stranger.



Summer of Scandal: A Dare to Defy Novel (Book 2)

An American heiress and an English earl fight against the conventions of society -- and their attraction to each other -- in the second book in the Dare to Defy series by USA Today bestselling author Syrie James.



Title:   Duke Darcy's Castle
Author:  Syrie James
Series:  Dare to Defy #3
Publisher:  Avon Impulse
Genre:   Historical Fiction
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   384
Date of Publication:   March 24, 2020
My Rating:   4 Stars

Lance Granville has inherited the title of the Tenth Duke of Darcy and has had to leave the Royal Navy. Lance is in need of a bride. Part of this means that he must renovate his castle. However, the castle is falling apart and needs many changes, so the renovation needed is hardly a simple task. He hires an architect to complete the task, but imagine his shock when the architect is a woman, Kathryn Atherton.

Kathryn has fulfilled her dream of being an architect. She is an American heiress but that really means nothing to her. She is striving to create a career in a man's world. Having finished schooling and seeking a license, she intends on making a name for herself. Her work on her current task in Cornwall might open doors for her.

There is a problem that makes itself apparent from almost the moment she walks into the castle. Sparks fly between her and the Duke. Kathryn struggles to keep things professional. Lance has no intent on letting that happen. In addition to a passion that cannot be denied between them, Lance has a problem. He has a huge debt and marrying for money just might solve his problems. Can the two align their individual goals and keep their hearts intact?

Duke Darcy's Castle is the final book in the Dare to Defy trilogy and it is an enjoyable book, especially when the heart, with explosive passion, is at war with logic and goals. It was wonderful to see how Kathryn and Lance found their way to a happy ever after. I did read the second book in this series, The Summer of Scandal, which I also enjoyed, but each book does fine as a standalone novel. One thing I loved by both books that I have read is that these women are strong, articulate and independent. I love seeing women of that ilk in historical romances. 

Many thanks to Avon Impulse and to Edelweiss for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy the following excerpt:

The moment Kathryn entered the drawing room, her eyes were drawn to the duke like a magnet. He was standing by a window, sipping sherry from a crystal goblet. He had changed into formal wear—a gorgeous black dinner jacket with waistcoat and bow tie—and, if possible, looked even more handsome than he had at their earlier meeting.

At the sight of him, the now-familiar sparks started zinging again through Kathryn’s body. Her heart raced while her mind warned: Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

“Ah, Miss Atherton. We were just speaking about you.” The duke gestured to the tiny, elegantly dressed woman who sat on a wingback chair nearby, her snowy hair swept up in a becoming, old-fashioned style.

“Grandmother, may I present Miss Kathryn Atherton? Miss Atherton, this is my grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Darcy, Honora Granville.”

The dowager duchess turned in her seat, her pale blue eyes gleaming with interest as she studied Kathryn. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Miss Atherton.”

“The pleasure is mine, Duchess,” Kathryn replied with a curtsy. It occurred to her that the duke’s grandmother might be his only close living relative—he’d said his parents had died years ago, and now his only sibling was gone. How sad, she thought, that both of these people were so alone in the world.

< The dowager duchess’s brow furrowed as she looked up at her. “Atherton,” she murmured, letting go of Kathryn’s hand. “I feel as though I have heard that name before.”

Kathryn froze. If the duchess realized that Kathryn was an Atherton heiress, it could change everything. The duke might only see her as a woman with a fortune, instead of an architect. He’d think it nonsensical that she was bothering with a career. Every conversation would come back to that; it almost always did. He might even end their association.

Desperate to redirect the conversation, Kathryn glanced around the room. It was a good-sized chamber with elegant architectural details, but the blue silk wallpaper was faded and the furnishings were in need of refurbishing. “The ceiling and crown moldings in this room are lovely,” she commented abruptly. “They are Wedgwood, I believe?”

“Indeed they are,” the dowager duchess replied with a proud smile. “One of Wedgwood’s earlier commissions. The fifth duke had them installed in 1774. The room itself dates back to the time that St. Gabriel’s was a monastery in the tenth century.”

“The tenth century!” Relieved to have successfully changed the subject, Kathryn accepted a glass of sherry from the footman and took a sip. It was of fine quality and truly delicious. “In America, we think a place ancient if it’s a hundred years old.”

The duke laughed. It was a deep, hearty, gloriously masculine sound, and it seemed to resonate through Kathryn’s entire being. Their gazes caught and held for a moment. The interest in his sent another shiver up her spine. Look away. Look away.

“I understand you are here from London to make alterations to St. Gabriel’s Mount, Miss Atherton?” the dowager duchess commented. “Something my grandson Hayward set in motion?”

“Yes,” Kathryn replied, grateful for the distraction. “That is my hope.”

Her eyes suddenly grew misty. “He was such a lovely man, our Hayward. I miss him dearly.”

“I am very sorry for your loss, Duchess,” Kathryn replied with sympathy.

“Thank you.” Composing her features, the dowager duchess went on, “How marvelous that your firm sent you, my dear. It is high time women were given a chance to show what they are capable of in the professions.”

“Thank you, Your Grace.” It was unusual, Kathryn had discovered, for anyone, man or woman, to be so open-minded about such things—most people still clung to the old ways of thinking. She found it refreshing and pleasant to have an ally.

“I admit, I had no idea Hayward was contemplating anything of this nature,” the duchess added.

“Perhaps he intended to surprise you,” Kathryn ventured.

The duke’s features hardened at her statement, and he downed a long swig of sherry. Kathryn wondered what was behind his reaction, but had no time to contemplate it, for his grandmother went on:

“Lord knows, something needs to be done with this place. The last time any alterations were made was in 1832, not long after I married the seventh duke and came to live here.” Turning to her grandson, she added, “I do hope, Lancelot, that I will finally get new carpets in my room.”

Lancelot? That’s his first name?

The duke’s face reddened at the appellation—but Kathryn smiled to herself. In some ways, he did resemble a knight in shining armor. He had hired her, after all, seemingly against his better judgment—and she had a sneaking suspicion he’d done so not just because he’d liked her drawing of the study, but because he liked her.

(From Chapter Three, pg 49 - on)


SYRIE JAMES is the USA TODAY and Amazon bestselling author of thirteen novels of historical, contemporary, and young adult fiction and romance. Her books have hit many Best of the Year lists, been designated as Library Journal Editor’s Picks, and won numerous accolades and awards, including Best New Fiction by Regency World Magazine (the international bestseller “The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen”), and the national Audiobook Audie for Romance (“The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte”, also named a Great Group Read by the Women’s National Book Association). Los Angeles Magazine dubbed Syrie the “queen of nineteenth century re-imaginings,” and her books have been published in twenty languages. A member of the Writer’s Guild of America, Syrie is also an established screenwriter and playwright who makes her home in Los Angeles. An admitted Anglophile, Syrie has addressed audiences across the U.S., Canada, and the British Isles.

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