I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Loveswept on December 1st 2015
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Sensual heat melts the ice in the new Disgraced Lords novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans, as a marriage of convenience leads to delightful pleasure—and mortal danger.
Lady Marisa Hawkstone’s nightmare is just beginning when she wakes up naked, with no memory of the night before, lying next to Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton—a man so aloof and rational, he’s nicknamed “the Cold Duke.” A scandal ensues, in which Marisa’s beloved beau deserts her. As a compromised woman, Marisa agrees to marry Maitland. But on her wedding night, Marisa discovers the one place the duke shows emotion: in the bedroom, where the man positively scorches the sheets.
Taught from a young age to take duty seriously, Maitland cannot understand his new wife’s demands on his love and affection. Marisa’s hot-blooded spirit, however, does have its attractions—especially at night. In retrospect, it seems quite silly that he didn’t marry sooner. But being one of the Libertine Scholars requires constant vigilance, even more so when the enemy with a grudge against his closest friends targets Marisa. Now Maitland must save the woman who sets his heart aflame—or die trying.
A Whisper of Desire is a continuation of The Disgraced Lords series and A Touch of Passion with focus on the latest member of The Libertine Scholars to garner attention. Lady Marisa Hawkstone and His Grace Maitland Spencer are caught in a compromising position orchestrated by the villainess in an attempt to ruin them both. The marriage of necessity quickly becomes a marriage of desire and lust, but can it become something more? Can Maitland over come his horrific past and dark fears in order to fall for the sweet and innocent Marisa?
I love how Bronwen can write realistic and consistent character that are so completely different like Marisa and Portia and appear to exert so little effort in doing so.
The beginning of A Whisper of Desire reads more like a erotica novel than a historical romance which was a bit jarring after my previous experience with Bronwen’s work. I was expecting a slow romance with some intrigue and danger related to the villainess’ desire for revenge against The Libertine Scholars, yet what I got was a well written overabundance of sexual activity for a good 75% of the book. The main characters struggle with creating a healthy and satisfying marital relationship while dealing with their own insecurities and woes. In retrospect, this is an excellent novel for people who enjoy “married life” romance because it depicts a very realistic picture of marital issues and struggles, especially in this time period.
I struggled a bit with the first bit of this novel mainly because I was expecting something like Greyson and Portia’s story with strong heroines and confident heroes. Maitland was interesting in his own way: socially awkward, horrific past and serious emotional baggage. I could empathize with Maitland and his narrative made me tear up more than once. I think that the search for the villainess and Maitland’s story saved this novel for me because I really disliked Marisa.
I felt like Marisa was often naive and rather dull witted. She often didn’t make obvious connections and was rather superficial. She’s also weak, allowing an ex-lover of her husband to invade their honeymoon phase and at times act as the Lady of the house while Marisa complains to her family instead of getting rid of Priscilla. I concede that my opinions are a bit biased since I prefer strong willed, independent female characters and Marisa was written with an entirely different kind of reader in mind. And it’s fine because Marisa’s character is well written and stable. Her behaviours were realistic and organic considering what kind of person she was portrayed to be.
Personally, I didn’t really get pulled into the novel until the villainess came back into the story to unfold the second part of her grisly plans for Maitland. We get closer to understanding her motivations, plans and thought process while The Libertine Scholars come a step closer to capturing their foe. Actually, I’m really excited for the next book to see how her next plan works out and how The Scholars fair. I want to learn why the villainess wants revenge and more information on Fullerton because he’s rather interesting.
All in all, A Whisper of Desire was adequate and deserves three stars based on the writing, excellent developments concerning the villainess and Maitland’s tortured rebuilding of himself and his history. The novel felt more like a romantic filler rather than a real addition to the story concerning The Libertine Scholars’ fathers’ sins, but still a decent read.
I think this is a great novel for readers who want an emotional romance read rather than a suspenseful romance.
This book will appeal to readers who enjoy historical romance, erotica or are enthusiastic about martial relationship struggles. A Whisper of Desire is a light read with realistic characters and part of a series that appears to have a strong base. I definitely recommend The Disgraced Lords Series for lovers of historical romance or suspenseful romance because Bowen can really spin a tale!