Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Review: A Gathering Storm (A Porthkennack Novel) by Joanna Chambers

AGatheringStorm_500x750Title: A Gathering Storm

Author: Joanna Chambers

Release: 17th April 2017

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Genre: M/M (historical)



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When grief-stricken scientist Sir Edward Fitzwilliam provokes public scorn by defending a sham spiritualist, he’s forced to retreat to Porthkennack to lick his wounds. Ward’s reputation is in tatters, but he’s determined to continue the work he began after the death of his beloved brother.

In Porthkennack, Ward meets Nicholas Hearn, land steward to the Roscarrock family. Ward becomes convinced that Nick, whose Romany mother was reportedly clairvoyant, is the perfect man to assist with his work. But Nick—who has reason to distrust the whims of wealthy men—is loath to agree. Until Fate steps in to lend a hand.

Despite Nick’s misgivings, he discovers that Ward is not the high-handed aristocrat he first thought. And when passion ignites between them, Nick learns there’s much more to love than the rushed, clandestine encounters he’s used to. Nevertheless, Nick’s sure that wealthy, educated Ward will never see him as an equal.

A storm is gathering, but with Nick’s self-doubts and Ward’s growing obsession, the fragile bond between the two men may not be strong enough to withstand it.

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Mark’s Review

An historical novel, set in Cornwall, written by one of the best historical M/M novelists today, what more could I want? Well, this book in the Porthkennack collection was a real delight. Joanna’s mastery at writing historical novels is well known and she doesn’t disappoint in this book. Set in Victorian England, Joanna always creates the mood of the time without spoon feeding the reader with historical facts but more through her characters and their authenticity with attention to detail and surrounding. The Victorians were obsessed with séances and trying to contact the dearly departed on the other side. Can this be scientifically proved though? This is the main backdrop of the book as Sir Edward combines the science of the day and the new applications for electricity to his work for this purpose.

Sir Edward Fitzwilliam is consumed by grief for the death of his brother. Although he has thrown himself into his work, grief is eating him up and the basis of his work also revolves around the death of his brother. Nick is low born, an illegitimate son of a Romany gypsy whose father happens to be the son of the titled Roscarrock family. In recognition he holds a place at the Roscarrock family home where he earns a respectable living but is a bit of an outsider in the village.

I just love historical novels as you can really play with class differences and introduce characters to whole new dynamics that you can’t really do in contemporary stories. Sir Edward’s and Nick’s relationship doesn’t get off to a good start. Nick is basically coerced against his will to help Edward with his work. So their relationship doesn’t get off to a good start. Obviously, both men having to be careful in hiding their sexuality at this time to the public at large. However, Nick in his position has considerably more to lose than Sir Edward. The rich could get away with more discrepancies than someone of Nick’s social background and this plays out in their relationship. I loved the way that Joanna creates tension, not only sexual, between both MCs which adds to a very enjoyable and satisfying read of how these two will work out their relationship based on their backgrounds.

Sir Edward is enamoured with Nick almost immediately, but tries to hide these feelings from him at the beginning. Nick is more ambivalent about Sir Edward at the beginning, not really knowing whether the man can be trusted or not. Nick sees something in Sir Edward, something that has an enormous attraction for him but can’t decide whether he is making a mistake or not. They didn’t get off to a good start for sure. As the barriers start to fall away then you can feel how these two need to be together and they are perfect for each other. However, I could have slapped Sir Edward on several occasions for being so infuriating. He loves Nick so much but has to learn to control his upbringing. There are a number of times that Sir Edward, speaks or treats Nick as a servant and not like equals or lovers. This is not intentional by Sir Edward but he is also a product of his upbringing and obviously this can’t be switched off at times when in public.Nick can also be a bit of a hot head and easily offended, but to be honest I felt more for Nick than Sir Edward.

Nick lives in a time where many people were never given the credit for their intelligence. Nick is very astute, reads people well and is bright but his parentage keeps him permanently where he is. He doesn’t need Sir Edward reminding him of this fact. This eventually leads to a certain amount of angst on whether they are really going to be able to make it or not. Thankfully, right at the end, just when you have given up all hope of them being able to make a go of it, a turn of events and fate deals a hand to Nick and puts him on an even playing field with Sir Edward. I was so relieved when all of this eventually gets sorted out. It was obvious these two belonged together from the very beginning, the question being, but how can this be managed in Victorian England? As always Joanna can be trusted to find a suitable HEA for our MCs which is also fitting and acceptable for the time period.

This book was a delight to read, a wonderful romance with a HEA. Did Sir Edward manage to reach the spirits on the other side through his work? Well, I can only suggest you read this book by Joanna Chambers.

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Meet Joanna Chambers

Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. In between studying, finding a proper grown up job, getting married and having kids, she spent many hours staring at blank sheets of paper and chewing pens. That changed when she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna's muse likes red wine, coffee and won't let Joanna clean the house or watch television.



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