Thursday, March 26, 2020

Duke Darcy’s Castle by Syrie James (Review Round-up by Austenprose)

Times are tense in the outside world, but Duke Darcy’s Castle was the perfect book to curl up to with a cup of hot cocoa and be carried away by the story.

Kathryn Atherton wants to be the first woman architect in Victorian era England.  She has completed the work to earn the degree, but it was not granted.  She has also taken the exam to become a licensed Architect, but she is awaiting the results.  Her firm has sent her to St. Gabriel’s Mount to work on renovations to the castle.  St. Gabriel’s Mount is a castle located on an island off of Cornwall that is only assessible by land during low tide.  When she arrives, she is surprised to learn that the man who hired her has passed away and his brother, Lance Granville, has recently returned from the navy to become the 10th Duke of Darcy.  Kathryn strives to complete her job as a professional, but she can not deny her attraction to Lance.  Will she choose her career or love?

Lance loved being the Captain of his own ship in the Navy and never thought he would take his brother’s place as the Duke of Darcy.  He is stunned to learn that the estate is mortgaged to the hilt and he is about to lose it.  He is also stunned to learn that his brother hired an architect and that the architect is a woman.  What was his brother thinking with their lack of money?  Lance decides to continue the project and finds that he loves Kathryn’s ideas and also finds himself very much attracted to her.  When he learns that Kathryn is an heiress and her fortune could save his estate, what will he do?

I greatly enjoyed this novel.  It was a perfect escapism read.  I loved Kathryn and Lance as characters.  I was particularly taken with Kathryn’s struggle to be a licensed architect.  It infuriated me when her accomplishments were not taken seriously as a female architect and she was barred from receiving her degree and licensure.  I really enjoyed the note at the end of the novel that described the real historical struggles of female architects as they tried to be taken as serious professionals in the world.  As a female engineer, I really related to this storyline, although I was a hundred years later.  I loved that Lance respected Kathryn as a professional besides also being attracted to her as a woman.

This novel does have steamy scenes.  It is the third novel in the Dare to Defy series.  I’ve read the previous two novels, but this one can stand alone.

Favorite Quotes:

“To succeed in my profession, I will need to work twice as hard as any man.”

Overall, Duke Darcy’s Castle was a perfect escapism historical romance novel and I was especially intrigued by the heroine’s journey as a female architect.

Book Source:  Review Copy as part of the Blog Tour put together by Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose


  • Title: Duke Darcy’s Castle: A Dare to Defy Novel (Book 3)
  • Author: Syrie James
  • Review Roundup: February 24 – April 24, 2020
  • Genre: Historical Romance, Victorian Romance
  • Publisher: Avon Impulse
  • Length (384) pages
  • eBook ASIN: B07DCD1HYB, (February 25, 2020)
  • Mass market paperback ISBN: 978-0062849717 (March 24, 2020)


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.



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.


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)