Speaking of new releases... I was at the bookstore yesterday, looking for Basilisk by Rob Thurman. Jeez, it's been months since I went to that particular bookstore - lately, I've been going to James' bookstore (which is closing!! *sob*) or the one that's closest to home... and I've realized two things: 1) I've been spoiled and 2) I'm getting old LOL. I know that bookstore has gotten Basilisk since last week and yesterday was its official release date... and it wasn't on the shelves! Grrr. Looking around, there were few carts with tons of books on it... and I looked at those carts... Few years ago, I would have been going through each one of them and looking for the book I wanted. Yesterday? I felt too lazy and walked away LOL. Okay, perhaps it's not getting old, but rather laziness... but I mean, it's telling, no? Now, I'll just wait for either James' bookstore to get it or the one closest to me... And that ladies (and gentlemen?) was my most recent book adventure... Sad no?
Okay, enough babbling from me. Here's my review of One Whisper Away by Emma Wildes. I'm so proud of myself for this one, because I was able to make myself wait till RWA to get my hands on it. Yep people, I waited a whole 2 months LOL. See, I'm not a lost cause LOL.
One Whisper Away by Emma Wildes
published by New American Library in May 2011
Lady Cecily Francis is resigned to become the wife of Lord Drury, the man she suspects her sister is pining for. But upon her first scandalous encounter with the exotic Earl of Augustine-the American whom everyone is whispering about- Cecily is intrigued by the possibility of a more exciting life. If only she could contrive some way to marry the unconventional earl instead....Genre: Historical romance
Around town he's known as Earl Savage. Although he inherited his title legitimately-and, with it, responsibility for his three half sisters-Augustine is half American and part Iroquois. He can't wait to settle his father's estate, marry his sisters off, and return to his native soil. Until charming Lady Cecily has him considering a prolonged stay in England...
Series: Ladies in Waiting series, Book #1
The Story: Jonathan Bourne, Earl of Augustine, has come from America to England after his father's death to assume his title. Half-English, a quarter Native and a quarter French, Augustine is a man of two worlds, accustomed not to be accepted in polite society and quite frankly, he doesn't care. All he wants is to quickly marry off his three half-sisters whom he's never met, so he can return to America. This should be easy as his sisters are pretty and well-dowered... Only, this task turns out to be more difficult than he imagined when he finds out that the eldest, Lillian, was embroiled in a scandal years ago and is considered ruined. Worst, she is not even received in Society... Even with a title and a fortune, Augustine - with his looks, his faux pas towards Lady Cecily Francis and his illegitimate 5 years old daughter in tow - might not have enough cloud to restore her position in society.
Lady Cecily Francis is the daughter of the Duke of Eddington and is considered the belle of the season. All she wants is to go back to the country, but as it's been pointed to her, that's not where she'll find a husband. However, she fears that Viscount Drury who is a friend of her brother and very eligible bachelor is about to propose to her and her father will definitively encourage the match... and Cecily has no idea how to turn him down without revealing that her elder sister is in love with him... But what if she was already engaged? Not only she wouldn't have to reject him, but she could even steer Lord Drury towards her sister. And Cecily knows exactly who to ask to pose as her betrothed... as only one man has caught her attention...
My Opinion: I was really looking forward to One Whisper Away as Ms Wildes has become one of my favorite and auto-buy historical romance authors, but at the same time, when I found out that the hero was Native American, I was a little bit wary. I'm not super fond of Native American characters, especially not in historical, because it's always the same issues that come up - acceptance - and with Augustine being nicknamed Earl Savage, it didn't look very promising. In the end though, the hero being Native had almost no repercussion on the storyline so it was fine with me :)
Overall, I enjoyed One Whisper Away, but it wasn't Ms Wildes best. I think the the writing was solid as usual, but there was too much happening in the book and the characters weren't utilized to their fullest potential. Ms Wildes had two really interesting characters in Lady Cecily and Augustine - an aside: one thing that I enjoy so much of Ms Wildes' books is that although her heroines are young, they have a level of maturity that is quite refreshing - but instead of focusing on them and their romance, she gave too much of the spotlights to the secondary storylines. I really liked Cecily and Augustine and was expecting more conflicts in their romance... The beginning was quite promising with Cecily's father encouraging her to accept Lord Drury's proposal, Augustine barely being accepted in society. I expected Augustine to have to do a lot more to ingratiate himself to the ton... and perhaps it's a good thing he didn't have to. However, once Cecily came up with the fake engagement plan, almost immediately, Augustine decided that he wanted the real thing and let's forget his plans to go back to America and voila, Cecily and Augustine were in love with each other. I thought everything happened a bit too quickly when it came to our H/H and the story moved on. I was looking forward to more scenes between Augustine's daughter and Cecily, but that also was brushed aside quickly. In that aspect, I thought One Whisper Away was a bit of a disappointment.
I did however really enjoy the secondary storylines. I really loved how smart and considerate Cecily was. As I said, she might be young, but she has a level of maturity that a lot of heroines in other historical romance lack. I liked that she knew her sister Eleanor was in love with Lord Drury, I liked that she realized that she and Lord Drury might match, but it wasn't love and therefore had no intention of accepting. I like that she didn't give away her sister's secrets and instead, planned to bring them together somehow. So yes, that part, I really liked. I also enjoyed Augustine's sister, Lillian, storyline. I think that was a nice setting up for the next book... I liked the conflicting emotions Lillian had about her brother and would have liked Ms Wildes to develop this further. So yes, I really enjoyed these secondary storylines, but at the same time, I thought Ms Wildes spent too much time on them. For example, the revelation about Lillian's scandal should have been kept for her book instead. And seriously, the shooting at the end? Totally superfluous. Yes, it was foreshadowed - and not very well ^_^; But seriously, the book could have done without it and not suffer at all.
Of course, there were also some good moments in this book such as Augustine's meeting with Cecily's father LOL. And I really enjoyed the interactions between all the characters - Augustine with his cousin, the siblings relationship between all three Eddington's offsprings, etc. However, after I finished reading One Whisper Away, I simply wasn't wowed... It was a nice book, an enjoyable one, but it missed the mark a little... and I think it was because the romance between Augustine and Cecily was not deep enough.
My Grade: B. Not a wowzer, but still quite enjoyable with solid writing :) Now, I'm really looking forward to Twice Fallen (January 2012), not only for Lillian, but also for the hero, Damien Northfield which we met in Lessons from a Scarlet Lady.