Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin)
Title : Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin)
Author : Jordan L. Hawk
Series: Whyborne & Griffin, Book 1
Publisher : Jordan L. Hawk (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Paranormal, Romance
Length : 85,578 words
Published : December 3, 2012
Rating : ★★★★★
Some things should stay buried.
Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.
So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.
As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?
The first line of the blurb for Widdershins states “some things should stay buried”. That may be so, but that certainly does not pertain to author Jordan L. Hawk, or this wonderful tale she has woven.
It was with great anticipation that I started reading this book (I profess to have a love for both historical and paranormal stories) and I found myself so very quickly captivated by the main characters of Whyborne and Griffin that I could barely put it down.
This story is told by Dr. Percival Whyborne, a 27 year old philologist who is fluent in 13 languages. Whyborne (he prefers going by his surname for reasons that become clear during the story) comes across as a soft spoken, socially inept, stuttering, bookish man to most of those he works with at the Ladysmith historical museum in the town of Widdershins. He outwardly projects a layer of walls that he has put up as a means for coping with the tragic loss of his best friend Leander (whom he secretly loved, and whose death he feels responsible for), and an estranged relationship with his less than supportive father. I warmed immediately to Whyborne – he so obviously embodied a “still waters run deep” persona in my eyes. 🙂
Griffin Flaherty, private detective and ex Pinkerton investigator, comes to the museum seeking Whyborne’s expertise in translating a book obtained from a client whose son was killed under mysterious circumstances. Griffin, while bold, is also gracious, warm and witty. It quickly becomes apparent that Whyborne’s interest is sparked by many aspects surrounding the book, not the least of which is the attractive and intriguing Griffin himself. Hmm, yes Whyborne, despite all of your self- deprecating thoughts, I do believe those walls may be soon crumbling…
And, as they say…we’re off! Griffin ends up enlisting Whyborne’s help not only in translating the book, but in doing the actual foot work of investigating the case. The case turns out to involve a cult that is resurrecting people (and other assorted creatures) from the dead, and has deep roots in the history of Widdershins. The book turns out in fact to be a grimoire from which Whyborne, much to his surprise, is successfully able to perform a spell. The two men grow closer as they delve deeper into the case, and their attraction to each other becomes obvious and grows at a really believable pace, amidst traded witticisms and innuendo. While certainly not a comedy, there is a fair amount of well-placed humor in the story.
I found that the author delivered a fantastically fresh and captivating take on the “I’m not worthy of the handsome, confident stranger” trope. While Whyborne obviously has doubts about his self- worth, the capable and brave manner in which he handles himself when faced with unimaginable horrors, makes it apparent to Griffin that he is anything but a shrinking violet. Plus seriously, Griffin was turned on by Whyborne’s “fluent in 13 languages” prowess – I just know it. Ah yes, Griffin. As the story unfolds, it is revealed that the confident, charming, good looking, alluring detective has hidden vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and past traumas of his own – not so unlike Whyborne after all. I love that Whyborne and Griffin were both fully fleshed out characters, rather than caricatures of their personality traits.
The sex scenes are hot, and very, very convincing at showcasing the character growth of Whyborne, and his evolving relationship with Griffin. As mentioned earlier, I found Whyborne to be quite the still waters type, and once his sexual passion found an outlet, it was very satisfying to see him “let go” in Griffin’s arms. I loved how throughout the book, and notably in the sex scenes, the author uses phrases true to the period. In Whyborne’s thoughts his penis is his “member”, and he only has the word “cock” coaxed out of him during sex, which made the intimate scenes even that much sexier to me – and I believe also to Whyborne and Griffin! 😉
The author is remarkably adept at turning a phrase. I found myself constantly smiling at the descriptive actions of the characters and the inner thoughts of Whyborne – “Before Griffin had come along, I’d been living inside a photograph: just a facsimile of life, without either color or depth.” – while at the same time being caught up in the terribly gruesome aspects of the mystery. The paranormal/cult aspects were quite creepy, and at times graphic. Overall, I found the story a great blend of mystery/romance/ paranormal. The story held some incredibly well done plot twists, and while there was a misunderstanding between Griffin and Whyborne, it was handled in a manner that was pivotal to character, relationship and plot development rather than being just some angst inducing plot device.
This review would not be complete without applauding Christine, the determined and extremely capable museum colleague of Whyborne’s, who is also a true friend. She is the museum Egyptologist and quite a force to reckon with – as she proves invaluable in aiding Whyborne and Griffin in taking on the cult.
The climactic scene towards the end had me on the edge of my seat. I was convinced at one point that it was headed toward a cliff hanger…it easily could have been. I did have some unanswered questions: Why did Griffin actually move to Widdershins? How deep do Whyborne’s newfound magickal abilities run? And just exactly what fate was bestowed on some of the cult members? Not a cliff hanger as it turns out, but I am thrilled that this book is labeled as #1 in a series, so I expect we will get some of the answers to these questions and more in the next installment.
I highly recommend this book 🙂 and will definitely be all over the next story in this series – and also looking into the other titles by Jordan L. Hawk.
Rated 5 stars by Dianne