Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Whisper of Scandal by Nicola Cornick

London, May 1811

Widow Lady Joanna Ware has no desire to wed again but that doesn't stop the flurry of suitors knocking on her door. Desperate to thwart another proposal, Joanna brazenly kisses Arctic explorer Alex, Lord Grant. Unable to deny the blazing attraction that flares, Joanna knows she's just set the gossip mill turning. After suffering countless infidelities during her marriage, she's accustomed to scandal. But nothing prepares her for the shocking news that her deceased husband has bequeathed his illegitimate child to her and his friend Alex. As rumours run rampant in the ton, Joanna and Alex travel to the Arctic to claim the orphan. Battling blizzards, dangerous wild life, and a treacherous plot, Alex must protect Joanna but not before he wickedly seduces her…

Bah, this book is so much fun! This won't be a deep insightful review, at all, I'm sorry.  I spent this morning finishing it and I closed the book with a fat satisfied grin on my face, stood up and made some tea.  Still smiling.

I love Regency romances.  I love the spirited heroines and the dark, stark (sometimes) dashing lords and the improbably adventures.  I love the gowns, the descriptions of the ton, the invariable conflict between the hero and heroine.  Just all of it ticks all the boxes yet I find myself very wary of reading them as sometimes they promise loads but don't deliver.

In the case of Whisper of Scandal, it delivers!

I realise this makes Regency romances sound light and fluffy, to be cast aside once read.  But the mark of any good book is that you think about the characters and the story for some time after finishing it.  I dreamed of the characters in Whisper of Scandal, because they were so very engaging and interesting, and the adventure they are preparing for (off to the Arctic) just sounded so impossible!  I fell in love with Lady Joanna Ware and you really do desperately want to smack Lord Grant around the chops so he can realise that there is more to this young woman than he thinks there is.

The writing is very easy on the eyes and the characters are well developed with rich motivations and worlds.  I liked that the secondary characters don't feel flat either and that I thought that there was more going on with them than met the eye.  I liked how the we were firmly rooted in a specific era, how Lord Grant wasn't a rich playboy, and how he sort of met his match in Lady Joanna.  It is a supremely sexy book too, with some great scenes that work so very well indeed.

I just flat-out thoroughly enjoyed this read.  Highly recommended to readers who are in the mood for some rapier wit, some Arctic shenanigans, and great writing.  It's the type of book to make you feel cheery on a day where you feel low, or even make you grin bigger on days when you're feeling pretty okay.  If you're going on holiday, pop this into your bag to take along for some great relaxing reading and hot hot romance.

I've not read a Nicola Cornick before, but I will actively seek out her titles from now on, for sure! This title was published last year by Mira in the UK and find Nicola Cornick's website here.

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