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.
Publisher and Release Date: Loveswept, December 2015
Time and Setting: 19th century
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Claudia
A Whisper of Desire is the fourth book in Bronwen Evans’ Disgraced Lords series, and while I haven’t read the other books and some aspects of the plot span the whole series, I think this book does work as a standalone.
The Duke of Lyttleton is one of the infamous Libertine Scholars and is therefore no stranger to scandal – but he is never involved in them. When he’s found in bed with his best friend’s little sister (both of them drugged and with no recollection as to how they got there), he’s honor bound to ask for her hand. But for him that is no hardship as he already decided that she would make a good wife and he likes what he knows about Lady Marisa Hawkstone; but he is upset that she has been drawn into the scheme of a madwoman who wants to destroy them all.
Marisa is shocked when she finds herself in bed with the Cold Duke, having been ready to accept an offer from another titled gentleman with whom she thought herself to be in love. Now she finds herself married to her brother’s best friend, a man known to be severe and unemotional, and thus, her dream of marrying for love is destroyed.
I enjoyed the book in spite of a few weaknesses. The two principals and the secondary characters are all really likeable, although I did have some issues with Maitland. He is a great character with a tragic past but there were times, mostly in the middle of the story where I found his actions very frustrating.
Marisa is a good heroine; she is very intelligent but also impulsive and emotional. I sometimes had trouble following her reasoning or her emotional development, but nevertheless, I liked her as a person.
The main thing that disappointed me about the book was that we do not see enough of Marissa and Maitland after they managed to clear the first big hurdle in their marriage. I wanted to see much more of their time together and it would have done the book good to give them more time to develop a real relationship.
In spite of that, however, A Whisper of Desire is passionate and heartbreaking and I enjoyed it enough to want to seek out other books in this series.