Review: A Gathering Storm (Porthkennack) by Joanna Chambers

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 is back with another brilliant historical romance!

Sir Edward Fitzwillian, known as Ward to his family and friends, moves to Cornwall in order to pursue a scientific experiment - to harness the elements in order to get in touch with his dead brother’s spirit.

At first, Ward may seem like a bit of a kook. However, he’s neither crazy nor particularly spiritual. A past encounter with the supernatural convinced him that he could reach his brother somehow. I couldn’t help but feel for Ward from early on. His grief for his brother was palpable.

Ward requires a volunteer to aid him, which is how he meets Nick Hearn, the land steward and half-Gypsy bastard of the Rosecarrock family. After the death of his mother, Nick never truly belonged anywhere or to anyone.

Nick comes across as grumpy and taciturn, but that tough exterior serves to hide how lonely he really is.


Nick and Ward don’t get off on the right foot. They’re complete opposites, and clash often.

But as they spend time together, they slowly begin realizing that their preconceived notions of the other weren’t true. They bond over their shared grief for their deceased family members and their less-than-perfect childhoods.

The two are also well-matched intellectually. Ward may be the scientist, and Nick’s education may not have been as extensive, but they find it difficult to be bored in each other’s company.

And underneath that gradual emotional connection, there’s a simmering sexual tension. This isn’t a particularly steamy book, but when the two finally give in, they’re passionate and intense.

‘A Gathering Storm’ manages to include some social commentary, which is what I’d expect from Joanna Chambers. The author explores class disparity between a titled aristocrat and someone who has to work for a living.

Nick’s view of the world is shaped by who he is - born out of wedlock to a Romani mother, and always aware that he doesn’t belong in Ward’s world. It takes a while for Ward to really understand where Nick’s coming from, but by the end he makes quite a lot of progress.

The ending was a perfect happy ever after. Sometimes the endings for an MM historical romance aren’t entirely believable, but Ward and Nick find a way to be together that’s entirely plausible.


Overall, ‘A Gathering Storm’ hits the perfect balance between well-rounded characters, a slow but sweet romance, some angst, and a brilliant HEA. If you’re looking for an MM historical read, I’d highly recommend this book!

Don't miss the author's blog tour stop + giveaway HERE

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