A Porthkennack novel
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.
A Gathering Storm is the first novel I've read by Joanna Chambers -- and I really enjoyed it! Historical M/M romance can be touch and go, for me, but A Gathering Storm illustrated all things I really like about the genre. The formalities, the gentleman's code, the way the different classes of people speak and interact with one another. The whole picture it paints is rather romantic -- even if I am very happy to be living in modern times.
Sir Edward Fitzwilliam (Ward) is a scientist in the mid-eighteen hundreds. His twin brother died in battle and Ward is convinced that his brother communicated to him right as he died. Now, is it likely that the even actually happened? No, but in times of grief we often convince ourselves of those things we wish for the most, and Ward, even being a scientist, is still very human and he got caught up in events that would result in him losing his reputation among his peers. Still, his dedication to the pursuit of knowledge is to be admired. Ward came to Porthkennack to try to recreate the conditions of his experience in order to try to communicate with his brother, again.
Nicholas Hearn is the son of a Romany woman and a wealthy landowner in Porthkennack. A Gypsy bastard, they call him. His mother and the man he refers to as his "sire" are both dead, and Nick is a land steward for his sire's sire. He doesn't see them as family and he's careful to keep things very professional. He knows his place, after all.
Nicholas, in spite of an experience he had as a child, is not a believer in the supernatural, at all. He knows full well that people are easy to fool, especially when they want to believe something so badly. And it's only by an unfortunate circumstance that Nicholas agrees to work with Sir Edward in his goal of trying to communicate with the beyond. Little did he know that they would develop more than the reluctant working relationship that they started with.
The romance in A Gathering Storm felt natural and real. Two men, both who know that they must be discrete, but even still find immeasurable pleasure in each others arms. But not only is their relationship illegal, punishable by death, there is also a very real social class difference. Ward, being wealthy, has privilege that he doesn't even realize and is very much accustomed to being able to get his way. Nick, conversely, has only known rushed release with another. So their real challenge is finding that middle ground that they each so desperately want, so they can be together. And it takes Ward stepping in it, big time, to make them both take a step back and figure out what they really want. And I loved it.
I truly enjoyed A Gathering Storm, and I definitely recommend it. A Gathering Storm was satisfying and sexy and Ward and Nick's HEA even made me swoon a little. I;'m quite enjoying reading about this little village in Cornwall and I'm looking forward to the other stories, upcoming.
Review copy of A Gathering Storm was generously provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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