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whisper to the waves

Category Romance Review: Whisper to the Waves by Helen Beaumont

category romance
Whisper to the Waves by Helen Beaumont
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1981
Illustrator: Unknown
Imprint or Line: Sapphire Romance
Published by: Hamlyn Paperbacks, RCA Marketing
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 181
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: arkansasannie

Category Romance Review: Whisper to the Waves by Helen Beaumont

Spoiler Free Review 😊

Welcome Aboard!

Whisper to the Waves by Helen Beaumont is a good contemporary romance that, with a little tweaking, could’ve been an excellent one.

It was published by RCA Marketing in 1982 in its Sapphire Romance series. These were American reprints of British originals. This one was first published by Hamlyn Paperbacks in 1981. 

All I know about the author is that “Helen Beaumont” might be a pseudonym. She wrote romances under at least three other names. And there’s more than one author with this name.

Whoever she was, she displays here a keen sense of just what makes a story romantic. And emotional; this one is full of drama. All centered on a heroine I can readily admire and identify with, a woman of deep feelings and a truly romantic disposition. Her story is a moving and memorable read. I would’ve given it five stars if not for–well, more about that later.

Are shipboard romances real?

Sadie Wyman works as a nurse aboard the ocean liner Konkordia under the ship’s physician Dr. Kelvin Moore. They’re having an affair, which is against company policy. The rule they break isn’t enforced, but they prudently keep their relationship under wraps. Sadie is deeply in love with Kelvin. But what does he feel about her? She’s the only viewpoint character, and his heart and mind are hard for her to read. But she sure can tell when his eye roves!

As the ship sails from England en route to a month-long Mediterranean cruise, Sadie encounters, for the first of many times, passengers Grant and Lois Halliday. They’re a grown-up brother and sister but products of a dysfunctional family, and it shows. He’s a brawny Australian who bullies his nervous, frightened sibling. Grant is as exuberant and outgoing as Lois is depressed and withdrawn.

Sadie feels instant sympathy for the pathetic young woman. And just as quickly, animosity towards her overbearing brother.

Meanwhile, Sadie lands on the blacklist of Kelvin’s senior nurse, Teresa Gray. Why? Sadie doesn’t know. She can’t figure out her resentful colleague, though not for lack of trying. 

Then there’s passenger Bill “Jeff” Jefferson, an affluent American restaurateur. He’s looking for love; his search quickly focuses on Sadie. When Grant isn’t berating Lois or needling Sadie, he enjoys himself with a fellow passenger, the gorgeous and glamorous Paula Cummings.

Love on the rocks

Then stuff happens. A lot of stuff! Which I won’t divulge; I hate spoilers. Suffice it to say there’s plenty of plot. Some of it transpires at the ship’s ports of call. The author gives us a vivid sense of these exotic places and working aboard a cruise ship. A real page-turner, this story keeps a reader wondering, “What happens next?”

And herein lies the first of two problems I have with “Whisper to the Waves”. The middle and latter sections rely heavily on a series of surprises. Each of the three major male characters is hiding something. Actually, Kelvin hides two things; I’ve mentioned one, but there’s something he won’t reveal even to Sadie. In the course of an eventful cruise, these secrets come to light. And boy, do they make life complicated for our heroine! 

There’s a right way for an author to handle surprises and a wrong way. The former is to work into the storyline in advance with clues, hints, and foreshadowing. These bits at first seem minor, irrelevant, or contradictory. But they prepare the reader for when the author drops a bombshell. Once that happens, the reader gets a pleasurable sense of: “What a surprise! But it all makes sense now.”

Here the author properly sets us up for only one major surprise. The rest come out of left field. There’s either too little preparation or none at all. A reader might justly react by thinking, “What a contrivance!” Well, this one did.

Loved her, Hated him!

But that’s merely a matter of plot mechanics. A far more serious problem with this romance is the hero. It’s easy to tell early on who fills this role, namely Grant. And he’s perfectly dreadful. An arrogant, self-centered, cynical control freak. No redeeming characteristics. Not my idea of a hero.

What does Sadie see in him? Why would Grant want a woman like her, who can’t be bossed around? And who won’t settle for less than real love, something she can experience and give but Grant can’t?

Big mystery. Well, actually, no mystery at all. Many readers and writers think it’s romantic when two incompatible people become a couple.

Obviously, I’m not one of them. So in this respect, Whisper to the Waves flounders. But otherwise, it’s smooth sailing!



‘Shipboard romances are for fun, not for real.’

So she said, but Sadie Wyman, nursing sister on board Konkordia, found it difficult to practice what she preached when the ship’s surgeon was so devastatingly attractive. She was falling seriously it love with Dr Kelvin Moore. But then Kelvin himself went down with a perforated appendix, and Sadie was in for some big surprises — not least of which was the identity of the big man with the Australian accent who had antagonized her on sight …

Whisper to the Waves by Helen Beaumont
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Shadows on the Moon

Category Romance Review: Shadows on the Moon by Peggy Gaddis


Lovely Eve Harrison was shouldering the burden of running the many businesses that made up the vast Harrison enterprises in Florida, while at the same time caring for her crippled, embittered brother, Pete.

Eve had no time to think of her own life…or of love, even though her general manager and childhood sweetheart, Doug Hammond, had been pressing her to marry him. It took the arrival of a mysterious, handsome hitch-hiker and a glamorous heiress to create a many-sided triangle and open Eve’s eyes to the meaning of life and love. 


Reviewed by Mary Anne Landers

Spoiler Free Review 😊

The Prolific Peggy Gaddis

Peggy Gaddis (1895 to 1966) was a big name in mid-century genre fiction. Born in the state of Georgia, she worked as a pulp magazine editor in New York in the 1920s. She must have learned what the readers wanted because she later became a popular fiction writer in various genres. Gaddis is credited with almost 300 works under a dozen names (that I know of). 

Her fortes include contemporary category romance novels; Shadows on the Moon is one example. First published as a hardcover by Arcadia House in 1960, it has been reprinted several times and on both sides of the pond. The version I read is a Magnum paperback published by Prestige Books in the mid-to-late 1970s. Like all books in the series, the copyright page doesn’t bear the date of this edition.

The title sounds gothic-like, but the novel is actually a brisk, dynamic tale of a young businesswoman (circa 1960) facing problems in her work, her family, and her love life. If you go for zesty, realistic plots full of true-to-life characters, with snappy dialog and a pace that never lags, this book might well be your cup of tea. Or should I say a glass of orange juice; it takes place at a citrus grove and processing center in Florida.

Growing Oranges Can Be the Pits

That estate, a family business, is run by Eve Harrison. She’s doing a great job, but mechanical failures and accidents are cutting into the profits. And she must put up with her only close kin, her embittered brother Peter, who’s confined to a wheelchair. Together they own the company, but only Eve takes part in it.

She has an understanding, sort of, with Doug Hammond, her general manager. They were childhood sweethearts, but the grownup Eve simply can’t work up the requisite passion for him. Against his desires, she does her best to evade the prospect of marriage. Which wouldn’t be possible anyhow as long as Eve must take care of the testy Peter.

Then she picks up hitchhiker Brian Eldredge. Though he seems like just another tramp, he turns out to be a highly-skilled mechanic. Eve gives him a job repairing her trouble-prone machinery.

Brian quickly suspects these accidents are anything but. He says it’s sabotage. But who would do such a thing? Why?

As if all this weren’t enough, enter Valerie Blaisdell—New York socialite, adventure-seeker, heiress to millions. She stumbles upon the Harrison property when a maritime mishap leaves her adrift off its shore. With her beauty, charm, and vivacious personality, Valerie makes herself right at home. Eve likes her. Doug likes her. But how well?

A Juicy Story

A lot happens, but to avoid spoilers I’ll stop here. Shadows on the Moon has much going for it. The author skillfully brings to life her characters, their conflicts, their issues. Ditto the setting, a colorful agricultural-industrial town. Her characters are very much a part of their environment and vice versa. A real slice of life. An orange slice!

Still, I have a few reservations. It’s clear from the first chapter that Brian is the hero. He and Eve are destined for each other. She’s bound to become his main squeeze. (Okay, I’ll cool it with the orange jokes!)

But it takes forever for their relationship to move beyond strictly business. I’m not talking about a slow burn. That term implies the hero and/or heroine feel early on the first stirrings of love. Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Here that doesn’t happen until the last quarter of the word count. Way too late for me! 

And then there’s the one major character the author handles poorly. That’s Peter. Even in 1960 the embittered cripple, to use the then-current term, must’ve been a cliché. I just can’t believe him. He gets his own romantic subplot, but I can’t believe that either.

Still, I enjoyed Shadows on the Moon, and recommend it. A few rotten oranges shouldn’t stop you from buying the whole crate.

Oh jeez, there I go again! 🍊

4 Stars