Book Review: A Whisper of Desire by Bronwen Evans

How have I not heard of this series before? The Disgraced Lords feels like something I should have had in my life before the 4th book. I owe a thanks to NetGalley and the good people at Loveswept for hooking me up with this one. The book can be read as a standalone, but there are references to other characters and there’s an ongoing mystery that weaves through the series.

Trigger Warning
There is a description of rape in this book.

Format Note
I’m going to start playing around with format, as I’d like this blog to evolve a bit. Just so you know I haven’t been hijacked by romance reading gnomes.

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I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A duke and his friend’s sister wake up to find themselves compromised into marriage, and though they try to make the most of it, they’re also determined to find the person who put them in that position. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Not Quite the Ladies’ Man
Let’s start with Maitland, the man known as the Cold Duke because he doesn’t seem to enjoy women the way his friends do. He refuses to let himself fall in love or enjoy intimacy because his father had a bit of a problem that led to debauchery and syphilis. There’s also a thing that happened to him in his past that has kind of messed up his head. Of course, not all of that is revealed right away, and at first he just seems like a cold fish.

A Thing Called Love
Marisa wants to marry for love. So when she finds herself having to marry Maitland, who makes it clear he does not nor will he ever love her, she feels like her life is ruined. But she’s a trooper and decides to make the most of it, seeing in Maitland a lonely soul with whom she feels she could at least be friends with.

Give That Woman the Kama Sutra
I loved that Marisa realized very quickly that she enjoyed sex. A lot. And there was no shame in it, nor was it awkward that she wanted to explore everything about it…well, other than the fact that Maitland, as regimented as he was, only wanted to do it every third night and only missionary. But a sex positive heroine makes my day.

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Makin’ It Weird
Maitland’s personal issues affect Marisa and make her think that there’s something wrong with her, so she seeks advice from pretty much everybody about this…including her brother. While I’m all about being comfortable about talking about sex with people, going to her brother for advice and giving details about what did or did not happen in the bedroom seemed a little strange. Granted, the brother was very uncomfortable and told her he really didn’t want to hear it, but still….

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The Romance Factor
Because Maitland runs hot and cold, Marisa’s angst level is high. She wants to stay with him in his bed and cuddle, but he’s having none of that. Of course deep down, he totally wants to cuddle, but he’s way too scared of turning out like his father if he gives in to all those baser urges. But of course, you know he loves her like a quarter of the way into the book, even if he doesn’t realize it until close to the end. 5/5

The Steam Factor
This book brought it when it came to the sexy times, especially with regards to Marisa wanting to experiment. It’s even mentioned in the story that many women weren’t expected to enjoy sex at that time, so to have Marisa be a character that had absolutely no shame about wanting to try new things was awesome. The book definitely leaned to the side of erotic romance, with detailed and numerous steamy scenes, but it only added to the romance of the story. 6/5

Final Thoughts
Besides the love story, there was a mystery and some danger and a bunch of side characters and some really sad things. This book covered everything, and yet did so in an uncluttered, coherent fashion. I ended up being awake way past my bedtime because I couldn’t stop reading. I’ll be going back and reading the first ones in the series, and I look forward to seeing how the later ones pan out.

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