About the Book:
Author: Darcy Burke
Series: The Phoenix Club #2
Publication Date: Aug. 24, 2021
Publisher: Zealous Quill Press
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.
In nearly two years of marriage, Sabrina Westbrook has barely spoken to her husband and shared a bed even less. Both activities would require they actually live together. As it is, the Earl of Aldington attends to his seat in the House of Commons, while she and her crippling social anxiety tend to his country house and gardens.
Their arrangement is quite civilized, and their letters are painfully polite. Their twice-yearly visits are…awkward. But, if Sabrina can muster the necessary courage, all of that is about to change. Starting tonight.
Heir to a dukedom, Constantine Westbrook knows his duty: to country, to family, and to the shy, retiring wife whose beauty stole his breath the moment they met. Whose arousing, enticing body he’s never seen in the light of day. Or any light at all.
However, there’s something different about the woman who shows up in London unannounced. For the first time in their marriage, Sabrina has a request. No, a demand. But wanting and having are two different things. And to give Sabrina her heart’s desire, they’ll both need a few lessons in love…
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon, and I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through my links.
Impassioned is a lovely historical romance and the second book in The Phoenix Club series by Darcy Burke. This story is unique in that the main characters are already married. However, their relationship did not begin as a grand love affair. Theirs was an arranged marriage, and after two years, they are basically estranged. However, Sabrina wants a child and is desperate to connect with her husband, so she leaves their country home where she lives and comes unannounced to their home in the city where Constantine resides. There she demands that Constantine fulfill his husbandly duties and get her pregnant.
Constantine is shocked when Sabrina, his timid and shy wife, unexpectedly arrives, and he’s even more stunned when she demands sexual relations. Their encounters are always formal and awkward, and they are few and far between. What has accounted for the change in Sabrina? Can the couple get past their problems and find a happy future together?
Constantine and Sabrina are well-developed protagonists, and I enjoyed their love story. At the start of the story, Constantine is cool and aloof, and his dispassionate attitude is known by all. He is controlled and poised, and he rarely lets things get under his skin. He is a serious man involved in politics, and he bears a lot of responsibility. Throughout the story, he changes quite a bit as he realizes what he truly wants in life. Sabrina struggles with anxiety and has spent much of her time trying to blend in instead of standing out. Uncomfortable in social settings and in situations where she doesn’t know the other people involved, Sabrina has anxiety attacks and often retreats. However, throughout the story, she faces her struggles and tries to manage them. I like that the author introduced a smart, caring, and capable woman with a realistic issue that affects many people.
I love the romance between this married couple. They are both inexperienced and uncomfortable, yet it’s obvious that they both want the same things. Miscommunication, lies, anxiety, and family pose problems for Sabrina and Constantine, yet their chemistry is ever-present. Both Sabrina and Constantine have spent their lives doing what was expected of them. They are both very much defined by societal and familial expectations because they both yearned for approval and acceptance. However, Sabrina and Constantine both begin to act on their own needs and desires instead of the expectations of people who don’t really understand or know them. I love how they slowly get to know each other and fall in love despite the fact that they’ve been married for two years. Their attraction to each other is palpable, and their feelings are strong.
Constantine and Sabrina receive help from the owners of The Phoenix Club, one of which is Constantine’s brother. I love this club and its owners. They have such a desire to help others, and they work hard to provide and outlet for people who feel like they don’t belong. The Phoenix Club is the antithesis of the other social clubs in this town and is a great backdrop for some of the more spicy scenes in the story.
This is a wonderful addition to The Phoenix Club series, and I’m excited to see who will be the focus of the next story. There were hints of possible love connections in this story that I found particularly intriguing, and I’m hoping we’ll see more of these characters in future books. Though this is the second book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone. However, if you did read the first book, you’ll be delighted to know that many of the characters in it are also in this one. Thanks so much to NetGalley, Zealous Quill Press, and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
- The romance!
- The Phoenix Club
- The anxiety rep.
Want to learn more about the series? Check out my review of the first book, Improper!