ARC Review: Improper by Darcy Burke

About the Book:

Title: Improper

Author: Darcy Burke

Series: The Phoenix Club

Page Length: 326

Publication Date: May 25, 2021

Publisher: Darcy Burke Publishing

Synopsis: Society’s most exclusive invitation…

Welcome to the Phoenix Club, where London’s most audacious, disreputable, and intriguing ladies and gentlemen find scandal, redemption, and second chances.

Dissolute rogue Tobias Powell, Earl of Overton, has just inherited a sheltered, proper young ward for whom he must find a husband. And that is only the start of his problems. His father’s will demands Tobias marry within the next six weeks, or he’ll lose his mother’s house, a treasure so dear that Tobias can’t consider defeat. Surely he can rehabilitate his scandalous reputation, secure a match for his ward, and find the sophisticated woman of his dreams before it’s too late. Except his ward is a hellion who cannot behave. She can, however, make him laugh.

Provincial Miss Fiona Wingate is eager to swap her boring small town for an exciting London Season. Until she realizes her new guardian, a dashing earl, plans for her to wed with the utmost haste. Fiona has no interest in marriage—she’s only just been liberated from her lifelong isolation! But when she causes a near scandal and Tobias comes to the rescue, an unexpected attraction sparks between them. Except romance between a guardian and his ward would be most improper… 

LINKS:     Goodreads    |      Amazon   

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My Review:

Tobias Powell, Earl of Overton has a short time to find a wife, or he risks losing the one thing that is dear to him. When he takes Fiona Wingate on as his ward and must present her to society so she can attain her own marriage, his life becomes even more complicated. How can he arrange a marriage for his ward when his feelings for her become improper?

Fiona isn’t interested in marriage but knows she doesn’t have much choice. She never expects to fall in love, especially with her guardian. But as they get to know each other, their growing attraction becomes irritable.

Fiona has a fantastic personality, and I love her sense of humor. She doesn’t take herself, or the silly societal rules, too seriously, which is refreshing. As she is from the country, she lacks the polish and refinement of most of the other characters in the story. This does contribute to her problems and highlights the differences between Fiona and some of her new acquaintances.

Tobias is a rake that is desperate for a wife. He has a lot of baggage, especially in relation to his feelings about his father. Theirs was a complicated and seemingly loveless relationship, and it causes problems for Tobias throughout the story. I like that Tobias finds some resolution in regard to his father. I also like how liberal-minded Tobias is. His feelings about women, spinsterhood, and various other topics are very forward-thinking and show that Tobias is a great match for Fiona, who shares his opinions.

The romance is slow-building and forbidden, which leads to a bit of angst and a lot of sexual tension. Fiona and Tobias have great chemistry, and they get along so well. She is interested in maps, and he does everything he can to support her interest. However, he is so distracted by the pressure to find a wife that he doesn’t see the wonderful woman in front of him for much of the story. Fiona, in turn, does not want to rush into marriage and instead craves the freedom that she’s never had. Because of their stubbornness, their relationship doesn’t even begin to develop until about halfway through the book.

There are several parts of the story that I wish were explored more. For example, I wanted to know more about The Phoenix Club and those who run it. I felt like the club and many of the characters had so much potential but were a bit underdeveloped. That being said, there are other parts that are laugh-out-loud delightful, which made up for some of the slower parts. Also, I have a feeling these characters will be the protagonists in future books, which I’m excited about.

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Darcy Burke for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance.
  • The humor. Fiona is very funny, and I enjoyed her wit.


I think that readers who enjoy slow-building historical romance might appreciate this new series.

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