BLOG REVIEW: Whirlwind by Charlotte Lamb

22y.o theatre actress has always been single-minded about her acting career, 
foregoing dating & not thinking much about being alone & destitute.
Waking up next morning to the man she warned her co-actress friend about just a day before is definitely not part of her plan. 
It greatly disturbs her usual equanimity, especially when she sees her friend with him. 
She wants nothing more to do with 35yo Hero.
Avoiding them isn't easy because her actress friend views her as a mentor & wants to involve her more in her life. 
And Hero keeps showing up unexpectedly,
reeling her into his high-powered life
and making her more conscious of the disparity between them.
She soon finds out the extent of developer Hero's involvement in her friend's life and their work. And his reciprocated attraction towards her.
How does she keep her distance from him?

This was the romance novel that broke my last 4 months of read-a-page-&-chuck-the-book stage. I've had absolutely no interest in reading another romance novel & I seriously was ok considering never reading romance again. I happened to pick up this book at random one day & began reading it without the desire to stop & shut it. I wouldn't call the first few pages, or even the entire book, captivating. It was neither really dramatic nor exciting nor even sensual. It's more of an even-keeled romance with mature & likable characters. Maybe it's because it lacked the insta-lust, damaged characters, & melodrama popular in romance novels that I seem to have no stomach for these days. There was something in the ease of this romance that drew me.  I was actually surprised that this was a Charlotte Lamb book because it wasn't as intriguing or dramatic like her other books. Those elements were present to a degree but not overwhelmingly so. 

There was a calmness in the story-telling that balanced out the mystery & drama. There was maturity in the plot & characterization.
 Although 22yo.o heroine was more emotionally & professionally mature than her 18yo friend, her youth (and thus, immaturity) became apparent in her thoughts about Hero. She did quite of bit of jumping to conclusions & histrionic bursts of accusations & anger towards him right away in the book.  It wasn't like her to do so and served to demonstrate how much Hero affected her.  I liked that Hero called her on wrong assumptions because it allowed her to re-assess the situation & to regain her cool-headedness & wise maturity. She did reciprocate & called Hero out on his defenses & resistances. Not out of revenge but because she was usually a no-nonsense person, when confronted. Heroine had high standards for herself & she wasn't going to just let anyone accuse her falsely nor make her alter her standards for no good reason. That's what I liked the most about her. Despite her occasional defensive outbursts, she had a strong resolve & determination to succeed due to having survived being an orphan as a child, living with emotionally-distant foster parents, & supporting herself since she was 16. She was focused & didn't let poverty, hunger, & rejection get in her way. She also knew her own motives for wanting to succeed as an actress & it wasn't for fame or fortune. She made Hero work to get into her good graces. Despite the temptations of pleasure & easy life that he promised her, she stayed strong & made him realize what he needed to do to win her heart. She wasn't a high-maintenance woman. Just a woman with standards & self-respect.

The secrets & misunderstandings were revealed early enough & ironed out sufficiently in the book.

---------------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details---------------

The main big secret & misunderstanding was revealed about 20% into the book. Heroine's actress friend who she believed Hero was interested in was actually Hero's younger half-sister. Hero and his sister wished to keep their relationship a secret from others because:

1.) He was the secret financial backer of the play.
2.)This play was his professionally-inexperienced sister's 1st paid acting role. Thus, the reason for her employment would raise many questions.
3.) His sister also wanted to prove to her protective parents that she can act & do her job without them pulling any strings for her.

Another misunderstanding was heroine's belief that Hero took advantage of her when she got drunk at his place the night they met. She passed out from drinking too much champagne, after they kissed. Hero put her on his bed & later joined her, after trying to sleep on his couch 1st. He was too uncomfortable on his couch so he transferred over to his bed just to sleep. Heroine jumped to the conclusion that he had sex with her, when she woke up next to with him the next day. She left his apartment immediately before he could awaken, greatly distressed that she lost her virginity the way she imagined.

A more secondary misunderstanding was heroine's assumption that Hero lumped her with the usual ambitious actresses that would do anything for fame & money. Hero already had an inkling about her dire financial straits & her moral character before she voluntarily revealed things to him. She was actually the one who had an issue with social status.

------------------------------------------------------END SPOILERS--------------------------------------------------

A good portion of the book was spent showing Hero and heroine dealing with the aftermath of those secrets & misunderstandings. I liked that the apologies were backed with actions and that the wrongdoers required time and proof via the offender's actions before they gave their trust. Both of them did some apologizing & changing. 
 It made for a good outlook on their future together. Although heroine did more of the misunderstanding, it was Hero's relationship resistance that was the biggest hurdle in their romance. Once he chose to let it go, then they had a chance at a HEA (happy ever after).

I recommend this book.
4-star

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