Book Review: Intolerable by Darcy Burke

About the Book:

Title: Intolerable

Author: Darcy Burke

Series: The Phoenix Club #3

Publication Date: Oct. 19, 2021

Publisher: Zealous Quill Press

Synopsis: Every three years, like clockwork, Ruark Hannigan, Earl of Wexford loses his heart. Alas, he promised his father he wouldn’t marry until the age of thirty so that he’d be certain in his choice. When his best friend’s sister needs him to pose as a potential suitor to garner attention on the Marriage Mart, he’s the perfect candidate—if only he hadn’t kissed her in secret.

Lady Cassandra Westbrook can’t forget the incident between her and Wexford, and she’s having a devil of a time focusing on finding a husband. The fact that her father intimidates every gentleman has made her quest intolerable, and her two brothers who could help are proving completely worthless. But if she doesn’t settle on someone, her father will arrange an “acceptable” marriage by the end of the Season.

Finally, Cassandra has a chance at courtship, but, frustratingly, it’s not with the impulsive and irresistible Irishman her father detests and she desires. However, when Ruark sees the woman he passionately wants—despite his better judgment—swept into the arms of another man, the prospect of losing her becomes intolerable.

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

If you read Improper, the first book in The Phoenix Club series, you might remember when Cassandra snuck into the club with her friend and protagonist, Fiona. While there, Fiona had a steamy encounter with her ward and future husband. Intolerable clarifies what happened to Cassandra when she was separated from Fiona at the club, and it involves a passionate kiss from Ruark.

After reading the first two books in the series, I was excited to read Cassandra’s story. In the previous books, she stood out as a vivacious and charming woman, as well as a supportive friend, and I enjoyed learning more about her character. Cassandra is so understanding and sympathetic, and she fights for her happiness even when things seem hopeless. She is brave and sincere and a bit lonely, especially since her mother died when she was young, her brothers are a bit older than her, and her father is demanding yet distant. She is a woman who yearns for love, and she finds it in her brother’s best friend.

Ruark made a death bed promise to his father not to marry until he was thirty, and he intends to keep that promise. Ruark has fallen in love a few times but maintains his reputation as a rake. When he realizes he has developed feelings for Cassandra, he becomes conflicted and uncertain. Does he truly love her? Will that love fade, as his father suggested before he died? Ruark cares too much for Cassandra to risk it. With her father’s pressure to wed soon, can Cassandra prove to Ruark that they have found the kind of love that lasts a lifetime? And can they both prove to Cassandra’s family that their love shouldn’t be forbidden?

Though their relationship is forbidden by Cassandra’s family, neither Cassandra nor Ruark can deny their feelings for each other. The only problem is, because of that deathbed promise and the doubt Ruark’s father instilled in him, Ruark doesn’t trust his feelings. Most of the story revolves around the couple trying to overcome these emotional and familial obstacles, and their journey proves complicated. However, Cassandra is steadfast, patient, and determined, which is stronger than the seeds of doubt that were planted in Ruark at a young age. They have explosive chemistry, and the reluctance and forbidden aspect of their relationship fill their connection with even more sexual tension.

The character development in this series is fantastic, and this book is no exception. Cassandra and Ruark are the focus of the story, but the other characters, including Cassandra’s family and friends, as well as Ruark’s mother and friends, are also dynamic and layered. And I’m dying to find out more about Prudence, who has been a companion in all three books. What happened to her? Hopefully, we’ll find out more about this secretive yet lovely character in future books in the series. I also like that the characters from the first two books have minor roles in this story. Though each book can be read as a standalone, they are all connected by The Phoenix Club.

The Phoenix Club is a hugely popular place for people who don’t necessarily feel like they fit in. As always, I found the club and its founders fascinating. It sounds like a compelling, beautiful, and slightly scandalous club, and I can see why it is so appealing to these characters. For Ruark and the other founders, it’s a place of belonging and acceptance and a place to let go and have fun without the stifling social constraints they all face. The story also explores other means of entertainment, including balls and boxing matches, which proves problematic as Cassandra passes out at the sight of blood and Ruark loves to box.

Intolerable is a captivating addition to The Phoenix Club series with dynamic and layered characters and an interesting storyline. I’m eager to see who will be the focus of the next book, and I would definitely recommend this story to readers of historical romance! Thanks so much to NetGalley, Zealous Quill Press, and Darcy Burke for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance!
  • The Phoenix Club and the people who run it.

Favorite Line:

Nothing in life is without risk, my darling boy. And life without that would be very dull indeed.


Want to learn more about the series? Check out my reviews of the first two books!

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Intolerable by Darcy Burke

  1. I still haven’t read the first book in the series but I liked Cassandra in the second book and I’m very curious to see how her story plays out with Ruark! 😍 I also can’t wait for more of the Phoenix Club. Looking forward to reading this soon. Great review, Julie!

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