Whisper of Scandal

By

May 1811. Commodore David Ware has left his widow, society belle Lady Joanna, and his closest friend, Alexander, Lord Grant, a legacy – the guardianship of his illegitimate daughter – on the condition that Lady Joanna, from whom he was long estranged, travel to Spitsbergen to claim the child, currently lodged at the monastery of Bellsund.

Jo has longed for a child and nothing will stop her from voyaging to the Arctic – not even Alex and the inconvenient attraction they both feel for the other.

The author admits that there was no permanent settlement, let alone a monastery, on Spitsbergen in the early 19th century, but then this is the sort of story where belief can be happily suspended.

However, while I enjoyed Jo and Alex’s sparring and later, their deepening relationship, and the author’s sly parallels between celebrity culture and the power of the popular press “then” and “now”, I initially found Jo flighty and inconsistent as a character, and her erstwhile friend Lottie was just wrong. It was as if Sex and the City’s Samantha had donned an Empire-line gown!

I was unconvinced by the Arctic setting of the second part of the book, although the plot rattles along to a dramatic climax as both Jo and Alex find their emotions stripped as raw as the landscape.

I found more empathy with Jo’s character in these last chapters, and, in Alex Grant, the author has given us the perfect romantic hero – handsome, dashing, brave, yet emotionally vulnerable.

 

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Jenny Barden's masterful novel about the lost colony of Roanoke.

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Publisher
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Published
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Genre

Period

Century

Price
(US) $7.99
(UK) £6.99

ISBN
(US) 9780373774401
(UK) 9780778304647

Format
Paperback

Pages
362 (UK), 368 (US)

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