Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Book Promo by Toni Sweeney

Sometimes Love Doesn’t Have to be Put into Words…

Sign language…

Most people are aware of it today…the graceful twirling of fingers and hands representing words and phrases so those unable to hear or speak may communicate. How many have seen an interpreter signing as someone makes a speech or a pastor gives a sermon?

Modern science has enabled many deaf persons to hear again and also to speak, but signing is a boon to those who can’t be helped.  Think of being in a room full of people, all speaking at once, yet none making a sound.

This wasn’t always the case. Once having a deaf child, and subsequently one who was also mute because he couldn’t hear, was considered retribution from God for some transgression.

Though sign language had been known in Great Britain as early as 1570, there were no set methods for teaching those who couldn’t hear, Parents communicated with a few gestures which the stricken one came to learn meant specific actions. Occasionally the child would grunt an acknowledgement, not real words, but something showing it understood.

That changed in 1760 when Thomas Braidwood, a teacher from Edinburgh, founded Braidwoods’ Academy for the Deaf and Dumb. This was considered a highly-startling endeavor since it was the first school for the deaf in the kingdom. In fact, some people thought it a scandal since a good many families believed to try and change the deafness of a child was an affront to the Diety.

Braidwood managed to change that opinion by teaching the children of some very influential people. Soon the Academy was thriving and giving hope to many youngsters and an occasional adult. Several of the people coming to be taught stayed to be trained as teachers and later went back to their homes to open their own schools.

One of the men trained by Braidwood was Joseph Watson who became the headmaster of the first public school for the deaf.

That’s the theme of Love is Silent

…and here the story of Anna Leighton, teacher of the deaf, and David, Baron Mayfield, begins.

In my novel, Watson trains the fictitious Rupert McAdam who returns to London to open the McAdam Academy. The school uses the method called sign-supported speech, which incorporated both speaking words aloud while simultaneously signing them.

When Dr. McAdam receives a letter from the Right Honourable Eleanor Wood, asking for a tutor for her younger brother who has been deaf since the age of five, following a carriage accident in which his nanny and parents were killed, the doctor suggests his best teacher of young children.  Anna Leighton came to his school to learn signing so she could teacher her younger sister who lost her hearing after a bout of red measles. She’s such a good teacher, he hires her to help other youngsters.

Anna will be the best person for the young baron, he decides.

What he doesn’t know is that the baron is no child. He’s a young man approaching his majority, and his lands and title are threatened by a cousin wishing to have him declared incompetent so he can inherit.  David Woods’ entire future depends on what Anna can teach him, and she has only a few months to do so.

Because he lost his hearing at age five, David can still speak a few words and has rudimentary reading skills as well as the remnants of near-forgotten manners. He has a habit of asking embarrassing question in public places, however, and, from his association with young men in a nearby village, a most crass sense of humor.  His only friend is his horse and the two are nearly inseparable. In fact, David spends most of his day out riding who-knows-where.

Nevertheless, Anna senses an inquiring intelligence behind his undisciplined exterior. David reveals he’s eager to learn…unfortunately the things he wishes most to know can’t be found in any book, and they involve Anna in a very intimate way.

More unfortunately, Anna finds herself responding to his earnest but often crude overtures…

Love is Silent is a romance set in a period of manners and artifice, when young men were well-mannered, well-spoken, and expected to have survived a series of affairs before settling into marriage.  David has experienced none of that, though with Anna’s help, he’s quite willing to do the latter.

The only question is…will Anna survive the scandal if it’s discovered what she and her pupil have done?

Love is Silent is available from Class Act Books in both electronic and paperback forms.


Find out more about Toni V. Sweeney and her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone at:

Twitter: @ToniVSweeney


  1. This really sounds like a great book!
    On my wish list...
    Good luck and God's Blessings.

  2. What a wonderful sounding book. I have friends who sign professionally. Congratulations.

  3. I have read this book, and it is enchanting. The characters are very real, and I loved them both.

  4. Fabulous plot, Toni. I worked at a school for the deaf in NY and, believe it or not, taught music.

  5. Toni has been trying to get in and comment, but for some reason it's not letting her.:(

  6. This book sounds so intriguing!Can't wait to read it!