Remembering the “bodice rippers” I furtively read in my youth, I approached Whirlwind Affair with some trepidation. I was pleasantly surprised. Oh, the expected stereotypes were there, or at least they appeared to be at first glance. However, the characters were more developed and three-dimensional than those I had read about as a child.
Allie has the requisite “spitfire” status, but her character is deepened by her struggle to overcome the emotional fraud her now-dead husband perpetrated on her. She is rife with an admirable desire to right the wrongs of her husband, even though she was merely an unwitting bystander in what he did.
As Allie sails to England to not only complete her mission but also to apologize to her estranged best friend, whose only transgression was trying to alert her to the porcine tendencies of her future husband. Having cruelly banished her friend for blaspheming her beloved, the realization that Elizabeth was right spurs her on to reunite with her.
Being a natural matchmaker aided by an extra “unnatural” ability in her endeavors, Elizabeth sends the dapper Lord Robert to pick Allie up from the ship. Having his own dubious past to overcome, Robert struggles with his love at first sight (of a drawn portrait no less) since Allie firmly believes the adage once bitten, twice shy.
From that point, there are so many skillful twists and turns in the deftly drawn plot that one gets dizzy reading them. Jacquie D’Alessandro does a brilliant job of not allowing the story to fall into the timeworn clichés in which most romance writers indulge. Even the secondary yet skillfully developed characters become believable participants in the plot. D’Alessandro never lets them become mere window dressing or filler. This book is decidedly a page-turner. It will not disappoint even those who are perhaps skeptically familiar with the genre.