A Gathering Storm (Renee’s Review)

Title: A Gathering Storm (Porthkennack, #2)
Author: Joanna Chambers
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: April 17, 2017
Genre(s): Historical Romance
Page Length: 303
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level:  3 flames out of 5
Rating:  4 stars out of 5


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.

Joanna Chambers can write a story. I always enjoy her writing style. It’s evocative, and the prose always pulls me right in.

I’m not the biggest historical mm fan. I hate the secretive escapades and the threat of jail time or worse, depending on the setting. That said, there are two authors of this subgenre who I’ve grown to be on the lookout for – KJ Charles and Joanna Chambers. These are writers that can grab me with their stories.

A Gathering Storm brings us Ward – Sir Edward – who is an aristocrat, a gentleman. Due to childhood illness, he was sheltered for much of his upbringing, and he is very naïve in a lot of ways. His biggest gap is his privilege. He tends to treat everyone a certain way, no malice intended, without understanding that not everyone has the access to the things that he has. Flimsy coat? Ward will just blurt out to go buy a better one. No thoughts whatsoever to the fact that not everyone has the money afforded him by his aristocratic roots.

Ward is a scientist. He is a complete nerd about it, in the most adorkable of ways, and he stole my heart fairly quickly. Because of an incident that happened at the time of his twin brother’s death, he has decided to pursue scientific study of paranormal activity within controlled, electromagnetic weather conditions. Readers who shy away from paranormal stories need not be worried. There is no actual paranormal element to this story. Ward seeks to explain, with logical science and reason, the phenomena of certain paranormal sightings.

Nick is not an aristocrat. He isn’t really a commoner. He’s somewhere in between and doesn’t really belong to a class. Born a bastard to his Gypsy mother and to the son of a wealthy gentleman, he has been sorta, kinda taken in by his grandfather following both his parents’ deaths. Taken in doesn’t mean what it sounds like, though. His grandfather employs him and allows him to live on his estate in a separate cottage. He does not publicly recognize the familial tie to Nick, although everyone in the small town knows the history.

Nick has a large chip on his shoulder due to his background. He feels that he doesn’t really fit in anywhere. And his introvert personality tends to alienate some people from him.

He found it difficult to reconcile these two complementary yet warring aspects of his character: his need for isolation, and how alone that isolation could make him feel.

Both of these men are passionate in their beliefs and stubborn to a fault. The pride is astounding, but what men in this time period didn’t have this particular attribute to contend with?

I really enjoyed this story. Ward makes some questionable choices in the name of science, his naivety and immaturity showing through and through. He learns from Nick. But Nick learns from Ward too. He learns about himself, and he learns to love someone other than his mother for the first time in his life.

My only niggle with this story was part of the pacing. Everything was smooth, flowing organically, until the climax. I could easily see the relationship development until that point. It’s just that when the realization of love came in, I didn’t necessarily think the men were there yet. I rolled with it, and loved the ending, of course. In particular the epilogue. I just think I needed a little more before the climax to show the progression from like to love.

Fans of mm historical won’t be disappointed. Recommended.

Porthkennack Series

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Galley copy of A Gathering Storm provided by publisher in exchange of an honest review.


I love boys who love boys! I'm in my 30s, from the southern US, and my crack is m/m romance.