After a disastrous first marriage, the lovely widow Joanna Ware has absolutely no desire to marry anyone, ever again. Certainly not another explorer cut, in her mind, from the same mold as her late husband. But in the midst of thwarting yet another proposal, Joanna kisses Alex, Lord Grant, an Artic explorer who was her husband’s best friend. Despite the seeming clash in their personalities, the will of Joanna’s late husband throws them together again and again. It’s no surprise when she and Alex start to feel something for one another, and rumors begin to run rampant across London.
This first novel in a new series by long time romance author Nicola Cornick is an engaging, witty, and emotional journey through London up to the chilly Arctic to retrieve a little girl, the child that Joanna Ware never had with her husband. While the characters sometimes suffer colossal struggles to communicate, their mistrust eventually fades and I did get a genuine sense that they loved one another and belonged together. It’s difficult because sometimes I did want to smack them, but I certainly supported them in the end.
They have so many misunderstandings to surmount that we automatically know reconciliation isn’t going to happen in a second anyway. There are sparks, but there are also problems. Joanna has been led by her experience with her husband, while Alex’s mind has been poisoned by his slander, so they have learn to actually know one another instead of knowing the myths that each of them have built around their lives.
Providing a bit of comic relief to the otherwise emotional, painful story is Joanna’s friend Lottie. This frivolous society girl takes along an unimaginable amount of belongings to the frozen north and doesn’t hesitate to head straight for affairs when she feels necessary. While she is surprisingly ridiculous, Lottie isn’t a soulless character, as she has an affair of the heart in the book and learns just what it feels like to be treated the way she normally treats men.
Mostly, however, this book is an emotional journey through one couple’s struggle to learn to be comfortable with one another, to set aside past scars and focus solely on their future together rather than the battle-strewn past they’ve endured. With that in mind, Whisper of Scandal is an excellent choice for the romance reader, though not one lacking patience, and I’m looking forward to the second and third books in the series.
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