Whisper’s Edge is the kind of romance I can imagine my sweet, old granny enjoying. Everything about it is sweet. The characters are sweet. The town is sweet. The jokes are sweetly silly. The sex is sweetly tame. While none of this is bad per se, so much sweetness became cloying after a while, so that ultimately, Whisper’s Edge didn’t appeal to me as much as I would have liked.
Savannah Perry, orphaned as a toddler, is happy to have found an extensive pseudo-family in the elderly residents of Whisper’s Edge, a sprawling retirement community situated in the cozy town of Cricket Creek, Kentucky. She spends her days as the village’s version of a cruise director, planning crafts, classes and social events to keep the old folks active and young at heart. But Whisper’s Edge is broke as a business, and if something doesn’t change soon, the village might go under. When Tristan McMillan shows up as the new owner, she has high hopes things will get better. It doesn’t hurt that Tristan makes her heart rate jump whenever he’s around.
Tristan has left a successful law career to show his bully of a grandfather that he can make savvy business decisions. He purchased the financially strapped Whisper’s Edge from his grandfather because it occupies a very valuable piece of real estate, and Tristan is convinced that it can be sold to developers for a tidy sum. I’m not sure why his grandfather wouldn’t have realized this as well and skipped the middleman (i.e., Tristan) to make his own deal, but then we’d have no story. What Tristan doesn’t expect when he arrives in town to execute his plan is to fall in love with Savannah.
As the two get to know each other, Savannah is sure that she and Tristan are too different to make things work. He’s an educated city boy professional, while she’s a working-class country lass. Plus, he’s sort of her boss. For his part, Tristan knows he should confess to Savannah his plans to sell Whisper’s Edge, but he likes her too much to cause the pain that will result in destroying her beloved adopted home.
My problem with Whisper’s Edge is that there were no true obstacles between Tristan and Savannah. From the second they met, they felt insta-attraction. Their conversations were always agreeable and only served to reinforce how wonderful the other person was. Even a brief episode of jealousy was quickly cleared up. From scene one, chapter one, I never had a single doubt that these two would be together, and the short road they traveled to get there simply wasn’t that interesting to me.
Savannah is a bit of a Pollyanna. Despite being raised in the hardscrabble foster care system, she’s managed to come through emotionally unscathed, always able to look on the bright side of everything. Her naiveté and inexperience border on child-like, and there’s a disconnect between the present day Savannah and the one you would imagine would be the result of her particular background.
As a bad guy, Tristan proves to be an epic fail. To truly believe the threat that Whisper’s Edge will get sold off requires Tristan to be a ruthless businessman, however he’s simply too nice from the first moment. Every so often Tristan would make a half-hearted effort to move forward with his grand plan, but for the most part it was a non-issue until the story needed Savannah to believe that she’d been betrayed. Too, I had to laugh when Tristan’s eight years with a Cincinnati law firm was treated as a grueling life-long career from which he needed to re-evaluate his priorities. Not to diminish the stress or amount of work that is being a young attorney, but the guy is a relative baby from a career perspective.
Weakening a conflict that was already pretty flimsy to begin with, Whisper’s Edge suffered from Wise Mentor Syndrome. More than one tertiary character entered the scene only to invoke sage and conveniently timed life advice to one of the main characters and then fade into the background. Tristan is practically spoon fed the “right” decision, as if there was ever any doubt about what he would – or wouldn’t – do.
I enjoyed a secondary romance between Whisper’s Edge’s office manager Kate and handyman Ben slightly more than the primary one between Savannah and Tristan. Despite their ages – Ben is sixty and Kate is post-menopausal – their initial chemistry was far more tangible, their first love scene down right hot. However, both characters suffered the stereotypical problem of a painful past being the reason for denying themselves happiness in the present. Ben is a widower who feels guilt for moving on, and Kate is still nursing emotional wounds from an unfaithful spouse and a miscarriage that occurred many, many years ago. Mostly, like Savannah and Tristan, they took the sadly un-scenic route to end up where you knew they were going all along.
The book focused on minutiae to a degree that I found a bit tedious. For example, the two main couples go out for dinner, and every aspect of the process was depicted, from discussions about where to sit to being introduced to their server to debating appetizers all the way through first tasting the wine. Paragraphs are devoted to a character getting dressed to go out. An entire chapter is given over to Ben purchasing a bracelet. It’s what I call a small story – a book that focuses greatly on a small number of people in a small environment over a small amount of time.
Mostly, Whisper’s Edge was simply not my cuppa. If you like sweet romances with low conflict that never feels very threatening to the couple’s relationship, you will probably enjoy it more than I did.