by Tara Manderino

May 2002
ISBN: 1-58749-150-8
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When I started reading Whisper My Name, it was a bit familiar and thought Iíve read a similar story before, and started trying to remember the title and author. However, it was definitely not a book I have read before and once I got past that point, I couldnít get away from the story. In fact, I printed it out (since it was an e-book!) so I could continue to read it when I was not near the computer.

The story itself is unique because the heroine is deaf. Lucia lost her hearing after she was sick as a child and had a very high temperature. Lucia reads lips very well but will only use her voice to talk to a select few people, one of them being her brother Roger. The only problem is that Roger is missing, and she had not heard from him for a while. Lucia suspected something shady as Roger mentioned that if she ever needed help to contact the Earl of Ashton. Fearful of her brotherís fate, Lucia travels to London to seek the Earl and to find out if he knows anything about Roger and his disappearance.

Justin Drake, the Earl of Ashton, attends the ball to hopefully find out if one of his friends has received word from Roger. Justin and Roger both do undercover work for the government and Justin is worried about Roger since he has not heard from him either.

Lucia and Justin are both very much aware of each other from the second they met. Lucia begins to trust Justin and starts using her voice more and more with him; Justin equally comfortable and enamored of Lucia, starts to call her Cia. He learns of her fears and why she does not want to marry anyone, even him. Justin also likes the fact that Lucia must be facing him when they talk, in order for her to read his lips; however, not everyone is as patient with Lucia. One such person is the Squire who acts as if he owns Ravenís Peak, Lucia and Rogerís home. He comes and goes as he pleases, and waves his hand in front of Lucia face to get her attention; Lucia, on the other hand, tries not to speak to him, as she is aware that he does not like the sound of her voice.

But Lucia, not knowing all the ways of polite society, has a couple of adventures that put her reputation at stake - and who comes to the rescue but none other than Justin! During one of her adventures, Justin and Roger, who has now been in contact with Justin, find Lucia in a place they cannot believe, and suspect that she knows more about the smuggling operations they are investigating than sheís revealing. This little adventure of hers sees her married and kidnapped - and ultimately Lucia is confronted with her worst fear.

Tara Manderino weaved a tale that is a delight to read! It is not very often that we read a romance book where the hero or heroine has some type of disability. Ms. Manderino was able to enlighten us as to what happened, and still probably does, to people with a disability if they do not have someone to take care of them. Mind you, Lucia was deaf, but she was self-sufficient and could read lips very well. Despite Luciaís ability, to some people, deafness is a tragedy beyond belief. But, as demonstrated by Ms. Manderinoís talent, characters like Lucia who are self-possessed enough to overcome their limited abilities, earn the title heroine deservedly!

Reviewed in March 2002 by Pam.

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