I received this book for free from Avon in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Notorious Vow by Joanna Shupe
Also in this series: A Daring Arrangement, A Scandalous Deal
Series: The Four Hundred #3
Published by Avon on September 25, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance, Gilded Age
Joanna Shupe returns to New York City’s Gilded Age, where fortunes and reputations are gained and lost with ease—and love can blossom from the most unlikely charade
With the fate of her disgraced family resting on her shoulders, Lady Christina Barclay has arrived in New York City from London to quickly secure a wealthy husband. But when her parents settle on an intolerable suitor, Christina turns to her reclusive neighbor, a darkly handsome and utterly compelling inventor, for help.
Oliver Hawkes reluctantly agrees to a platonic marriage . . . with his own condition: The marriage must end after one year. Not only does Oliver face challenges that are certain to make life as his wife difficult, but more importantly, he refuses to be distracted from his life’s work—the development of a revolutionary device that could transform thousands of lives, including his own.
Much to his surprise, his bride is more beguiling than he imagined. When temptation burns hot between them, they realize they must overcome their own secrets and doubts, and every effort to undermine their marriage, because one year can never be enough.
A Notorious Vow is the third book in the Four Hundred series and whew….what a BOOK this turned out to be. I couldn’t put it DOWN…I stayed up late reading it because it was so dang good. The writing was incredible and I was hooked into the romance between Christina and Oliver and you know how I just love and adore all the marriage of convenience, the hero being deaf and the gilded age setting. I am falling in love with the Gilded Age, the more I read it the more I adore it. Its so refreshing from all the regency romances out there and I just gobble these up and Joanna Shupe is fantastic in writing them.
A Notorious Vow begins with Christina, who has come to America with her parents, who are destititue. They may be members of high society in Londond with all the titles, but her father’s gambling problem is a huge issue and they have brought Christina to catch a rich husband so that they may go back to their life in England. The husband that they set their sights on though is four times her age, rich and despicable and Christina has no idea how she will be able to marry such a man as him. Her only peace and comfort comes from her walks in her next door neighbor’s garden, the first friend she has made. She finds Oliver intriguing and intelligent and a man who is a bit of a hermit due to his loss of hearing. They become fast friends but when Christina is found at Oliver’s home by her parents and cousin, they are forced to marry. At first Oliver only wants to marry Christina to help her out and he can’t stand the though of her marrying such a man as her parents have planned for her.
Their marriage starts off slow though, Oliver only wants to be married for a year and then to give Christina a big sum of money and start a new life. He wants friendship, but he craves his privacy. Christina, is expecting more from the marriage than Oliver does. She is slowly falling hard for Oliver but soon it becomes apparent that she will need to find her own way in their relationship. Oliver is new to the social scene, he is a brooding quiet man who is content to work on his inventions and books. But he soon realizes that he wants more from this marriage than he had first planned. Oliver and Christina begin to start fresh in their marriage, learning each other intimately and intellectually and love starts to blossom. But there is a man who wants Oliver’s wealth and will do anything to get it.
I simply had a fun time with A Notorious Vow and I think that this book just might be my favorite of the series so far. I have such a weakness for marriage of conveniences and this one really worked for me. From the very beginning you become hooked on these characters and Christina and Oliver were so fascinating together.
If I had my pick of all the women on earth, you would remain my choice
I really was endeared to Oliver, you see how he deals with being deaf and the backlash from society and how he is treated. But Christina…she treats his like a equal and only sees the positive of Oliver and even though he tends to hurt her feelings at times, she understands Oliver in a way that no one else does. I love how accepting and eager she is learn his sign language and learn about his inventions.
The romance that blossoms between Christina and Oliver starts with friendship…they get on so well together. They can laugh together and talk about science and books together. We see how they learn and grow together. And then their relationship takes a new turn when Oliver realizes how much he wants Christina and not just as a friend and he starts courting her in sweet ways that makes you melt. I really was intrigued by the dynamics in this story from the sweet romance, to the villain of a cousin of Oliver’s, to the selfish desires of Christina’s parents.View Spoiler »Then the story takes a new turn when Oliver’s cousin manipulates some lawyers and doctors to lie for him to incarcerate Oliver into a mental institution and boy this place is really BAD. I mean, it was so hard to read these scenes of what they do to Oliver. Then we see how determined that Christina is to free her husband. And that everyone is afraid to help including the mayor. But they have one good friend, Oliver’s lawyer, who is such a fighter for his friend. And Christina really blew me away in the end when she really fights for Oliver and his freedom and the injustice done to him. « Hide Spoiler
From beginning to end this story wrapped me up like a warm blanket…full of laughter and charm, history and endearing characters that tug at those heart strings….DELECTABLE AND SWEET!!