I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Disgraced Lords #4
Published by Random House on December 1, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: the Publisher
Lady Marisa Hawkstone’s nightmare is just beginning when she wakes up naked, with no memory of the night before, lying next to Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton—a man so aloof and rational, he’s nicknamed “the Cold Duke.” A scandal ensues, in which Marisa’s beloved beau deserts her. As a compromised woman, Marisa agrees to marry Maitland. But on her wedding night, Marisa discovers the one place the duke shows emotion: in the bedroom, where the man positively scorches the sheets.
Taught from a young age to take duty seriously, Maitland cannot understand his new wife’s demands on his love and affection. Marisa’s hot-blooded spirit, however, does have its attractions—especially at night. In retrospect, it seems quite silly that he didn’t marry sooner. But being one of the Libertine Scholars requires constant vigilance, even more so when the enemy with a grudge against his closest friends targets Marisa. Now Maitland must save the woman who sets his heart aflame—or die trying.
I would classify this story as historical erotica instead of historical romance. The plot revolves around a sex-based inciting incident and most, if not all, of the major plot points are also sex-based. This isn’t a criticism – I thoroughly enjoyed A WHISPER OF DESIRE. I simply point this out at the beginning of my review for those readers who prefer their historical romances more tame and/or based on non-sex-based plot points.
Maitland Spencer, Duke of Lyttleton, takes his role as a Duke of the realm very seriously, to the point where he is nicknamed “The Cold Duke” for his taciturn and aloof demeanor. In this respect, he reminds me a little of Mr. Darcy from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE in that he is seemingly proud, but hides his great depth of emotion behind a mask of indifference. Maitland is more proactive than Mr. Darcy, of course, and when he sees an opportunity to get his friend’s sister, Marisa, away from a horrible beau, he seizes the opportunity. Compromised, Marisa is quickly wed to Maitland and the two begin to explore the pleasures of the marriage bed.
Marisa is far more emotionally mature than Maitland and as a result she is able to draw upon a great deal of inner strength when Maitland tries to pull away from her. She is not afraid to explore her more sensual side with Maitland and uses this curiosity to encourage Maitland to open up to her emotionally as well as physically.
I enjoyed this couple and the fast-paced nature of A WHISPER OF DESIRE. While it can be read as a standalone, it is obviously part of an on-going series, with some necessary backstory that must be understood for other events to make sense. Maitland and Marisa also leave a lot of trouble in their wake at the end of this book, which with obviously (hopefully??) be addressed in a future installment.