Review: Duke Darcy’s Castle (Dare to Defy #3) by Syrie James

I have recently had a lot of luck with historical/Regency romances and when this book came along I was excited to see if my luck would hold!

Admittedly though, this cover didn’t speak to me in any way. In fact it was a little confusing. The pose is a little awkward and a pose of that nature is usually reserved for more saucy romances but in this one, the characters are fully clothed and it made me think more clean romance.

But either way, I thought the summary sounded fun and I especially liked the crumbling castle element so I was excited to check it out and see if it was something that I could fall in love with!


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 ….


While this book might have appeared to be more of a sweet romance, there was plenty of chemistry and heat between Lance and Kathryn to keep me satisfied with the story and invested in their romance. In my opinion the intimate bits had a more moderate heat than I expected based on the cover, which just goes to show that you can’t indeed judge a book by its cover.

The characters were slightly less developed than I anticipated but I still found Kathryn fun and charming while Lance was sexy and attractive. Though I will say that the inner dialogue from the characters was a little redundant and at times the pace of the story was a little slow, but overall I enjoyed this book and found what I was looking for—a Victorian romance to get lost in for a few days. One thing that I especially loved about this book was that Kathryn wanted to be an architect. I thought it was an interesting way to bring the two characters together and I thought it provided a new approach to the ‘meet cute’ of traditional historical romances.

This book is part of a series, but it easily read as a standalone novel. I picked it up no problem. I know that other reviewers pointed out that the first book in the series in the best, and I would like to go back and read that one as I did enjoy this one quite a bit.

Book Info and Rating

Kindle Edition
Published February 25th 2020 by Avon Impulse
Free review copy provided by publisher, Avon Impulse, in partnership with Austen Prose blog tour, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genre: romance, historical romance



About the Author

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.



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.



International bestselling author Syrie James tours the blogosphere February 24 through April 24, 2020 to share her new historical romance, Duke Darcy’s Castle: A Dare to Defy Novel (Book 3). Twenty-three popular book bloggers specializing in historical romance and Austenesque fiction will feature, spotlights, exclusive excerpts and book reviews of this acclaimed Victorian romance novel featuring a strong, independent heroine and complex, swoon-worthy hero.

February 24                Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)

February 25                Laura Lu’s Reviews (Review)

February 26                Scuffed Slippers Wormy Books (Review)

March 02                     Unabridged Chick (Review)

March 04                     Drunk Austen (Review)

March 06                     Austenesque Reviews (Review)

March 09                     From the TBR Pile (Review)

March 23                     Half Agony, Half Hope (Review)

March 16                     Romance Junkies (Excerpt and giveaway)

March 20                     Courtney Reads Romance (Review)

March 23                     My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt and giveaway)

March 26                     Laura’s Reviews (Review)

March 30                     Chicks, Rogues and Scandals (Review)

April 01                        Robin Loves Reading (Review)

April 06                        Frost Magazine (Review)

April 07                        Frolic Media (Review)

April 13                        Let Them Read Books (Excerpt and giveaway)

April 15                        Dena Garson (Spotlight)

April 17                        Romantically Inclined Reviews (Review)

April 20                        Book Rat (Review)

April 23                        Unwrapping Romance (Review)

April 23                        Delighted Reader (Review)

April 24                        The Lit Bitch (Review)



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