1891...Jolene Crawford Crenshaw, heiress and Boston socialite, went from her family home directly to Landonmore upon her marriage, the mansion she shared with her handsome and charismatic husband. She'd never in her life worried in the slightest over anything as crass as the dollars required to maintain that home or the lifestyle she'd been born to. Her extensive yearly wardrobe, the stables and the prime horseflesh within it, even the solid silver forks and knifes that graced her table, were expected and required to maintain the social standing that she'd cultivated over the years. But suddenly she was a widow with little money and just her pride and her secrets to keep her upright.
Max Shelby made his fortune in oil wells and cattle but lost the love of his life the day his wife died, over 10 years ago. Now, his happy, carefree, little girl needs instruction and guidance as she grows into a young lady and his dream of becoming a senator from his adopted state of Texas seems out of reach with few political or social connections. The right wife would solve both problems. As it happens his sister knows of a woman, a recent widow, charming, beautiful and socially astute, but in reduced circumstances, who may want to begin again. Max signed the wedding contract sight unseen.
Will Jolene be able to shed her sorrows, anger and fears to begin anew away from the censure and hidden tragedy that marred her life? Is her new husband, confident, strong and capable Max Shelby, the man, the only man, to see past her masks to find the woman beneath?
©2015 Holly Bush (P)2015 Holly Bush
Good follow up story, I liked the twist of having a heroine who is not perfect and adoring from the beginning. This book has a little "for adult only" language but it was ok
Audio book addict, spending a fortune on this passion. ;)
In this story, we hear about the fate of Jolene, Julias's sister. She has experienced a lot of hurt in her life, and all she seeks now is financial security, but finds that her husband is willing to give her a lot more than she feels she can cope with.
The characters are convincing, as is the setting -- at least for me, because I really have no idea of life out west at the end of the 19th century.
Since I enjoyed the first tome so much, I rushed at the opportunity to listen to this sequel in exchange for an honest review. I wasn't disappointed. The author really puts a lot of information about the times back then into a great story, and, as usual, the narrator does an excellent job of conveying the characters and emotions to the listener.
This time, I was aware beforehand that there might be a bit of 'steam', but like in the first volume, it doesn't overpower the story.
I'm very picky when it comes to narrators, so I'm glad that Meghan Kelly was again the author's choice for the audio version of her book.
"This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast."
This is an excellent historical fiction,with romance, adventure, and heartbreak included. I could not stop listening. There were times I was in tears, and others I cheered on the characters. One of the best novels I've listened to recently!!I will look for more from this author!!
I enjoy reading, listening and reviewing. I enjoy blogging. Doing what I enjoy giving feed back in hopes someone will try a new author.
shocking, new leaf, overcoming
How Jolene gave back even when she wasn't sure.How the characters learn to grow and become one.Learning what is really important in life.
Jolene at first I didn't like her I found her overly cold but as the story moves on you come to understand and can relate to her.
I have to say at first I didn't care to much for the character Jolene I found her stuck up along with her thinking she is better than most. Once I got into the story I found her very likable just misunderstood. We often hide our feelings under anger or difference I found I could relate to her character as I looked back over my past. I think most people in at sometime in our lives have used this type of protection. You have two people who lost the person they were married to. Jolene thought she was marrying the man of her dreams only to find out he was weak in more ways than one. Max did marry the women he loved they had a wonderful happy life until she died. Jolene lost everything and wants to start over, away from a hateful mother along with forgetting all that she has lost. Max needs a wife to help him get into the government as well as show his daughter how to be a lady. They agree to get married but both have a few things to learn. This isn't an easy road as they will find both have to deal with the past, the future before they can find a love like no other.
At first this narrator didn't grab me, she made Jolene so dry and cold, she almost sounded whiny. I thought this couldn't be how the author wanted this. I am sure we have all had to admit when we are wrong this is my times. Once I got into the story I found the narrators voice and tones fit right in with what the author had in mind. I enjoyed her many different characters however a few were close to others. It didn't take anything away from the story and you did know who was talking. there was one place where the character whispered and the narrator did not I just felt if she had it would have made that part better. With that said I would have to say you could feel each emotion as the narrator takes you through the story you are never left guessing what each one feels. There are no breaks, her tones are even and rich as she hits just how these character feels. Meghan Kelly gives so much to each character but the one that stood out the most for me was Jolene how cold she was, as she became unsure, changing her mind and falling in love with her new life, the styles, her family and the people in her household. She may have started out cold but she did put others first and thinking of what is best for her new family. She gets her way but uses kind words and she turns people to her way of thinking. Ms. Kelly does this character very well as you come to love Jolene you come to like the narrator more and more. I look forward to listening to more from this narrator.
The author gives you an outstanding plot of lost, more lost, pain, forgiving and learning as these characters grow. It always confuses me on how a mother can be as cruel and unkind as Jolene's mother was. Jolene loses it all as she decides to overcome her past and more or less become a mail order bride. The author reminds us what is truly important and how to deal with issues which are touchy or we would rather not talk about. Max was awesome from start to finish. I found it wasn't long before I was so into this story I didn't want to put it down. I really was not ready for this book to end. In fact I got a deal on book one in this series and bought it. I am so looking forward to listening to it.
The author puts some major twist into the plot which will shock you and make you look at one character pretty much with discuss as your heart goes out to others. This is a lovely well written story of starting over, overcoming and finding what truly makes you happy not caring what others think. So many people are going to be able to relate in some way and totally love this story.
I just finished the 2nd book of the Crawford family and loved it from start to finish. Jolene is a hard sister to like from the get go (the first book), but in the end, she won me over. She got lucky with finding Max. The story is very well written and there was a point where my heart was racing to find out the results. Narration is excellent. I like how Meghan Kelly's characters are easy to define and understand who is who and the men sound like men, kids sound like kids, etc. Even though this is a 2nd book, each one stands on it's own. All in all, I would definitely recommend to everyone!
Contract to Wed by Holly Bush is a great 2nd book in the Crawford Family trilogy. Primarily set in 1891 Texas, the story begins in Boston right after heiress Jolene Crawford Crenshaw becomes a widow. She soon discovers that her husband left her out of his will leaving her destitute. Rather than marry someone disgusting picked out for her by her mother, she agrees to marry a Texas oil man sight unseen. Max Shelby needs a wife to advance his political ambitions and agrees to the marriage after his Bostonian sister recommends her. Unbeknownst to Jolene, Max also needs help with his carefree 12-year old daughter. Love is obviously not included in the wedding contract between Max and Jolene, but that is exactly what they get by the end of the book.
Contract to Wed is a slow burning romance that grows on you over time. I really enjoyed how the characters didn't immediately profess their love to each other and jump into bed. Rather, the love Max and Jolene share develops out of the deep respect and admiration that the pair experience toward each other over the course of a year. Max is so patient with the prickly Jolene, who is extremely hesitant to love again.
I listened to the Audible version of this story narrated by Meghan Kelly. She did an outstanding job, differentiating between male and female voices and changing the tempo in the performance when warranted. Meghan's narration definitely contributed to my enjoyment of this book. I received a copy of this audio in exchange for an unbiased review.
I am a working woman in a man's world but it's ok because I really love being around men !! I've been happily married for 48 years!
This book really held my attention the whole time. I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next.
Yes, I would recommend this to friends because the characters are so real and deal with many life events.
Meghan Kelly has a wonderful speaking voice and handles the different characters so well.
First Comes Marriage, Then Comes Love
I would like to hear more books read by Meghan Kelly. She is fantastic !
I love books...I love storytelling. Audiobooks allow me to enjoy a great story while still being able to do my daily routine. Thanks Audible
I would like to read another book by Holly Bush. Perhaps hear Jenny's story? Ms. Kelly's voice was a little bit grating (melinda's voice in particular). Other than that, Ms. Kelly did a great job at accents and differentiating characters. She did a superb job of conveying the rigidness of Jolene.
I liked Maximillian.
I received a copy of the audiobook via audiobookblast in exchange for an unbiased review.
I love audio books more than print versions because it feels as if you are conversing with friends.
Jolene, the main female character, is such a strong person who knows how to survive and "take care of business".
Meghan is totally amazing and so much fun to listen to.
"Love comes when you least expect it to"
This was such a compelling book and kept me wondering what was going to happen next. I really enjoyed it a lot.
Truth instead of Secrets.
When Jolene is nursing Melinda and everyone realized including Jolene how much she loved the child.
Holly Bush gives good discriptions of the area, and dialogue to let you know what it looks like and how things are in Texas.
Meghan Kelly did a great job portraying all the charactors voices, bringing to life each one of them. I cannot find anything wrong with her performance.
This audiobook was provided by the author/narrator/publisher free of charge in exchange for an unbiased review.
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