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Shades of Honor: Grayson Brothers, Book 1 | [Wendy Lindstrom]

Shades of Honor: Grayson Brothers, Book 1

Prepare to fall in love with the Grayson brothers in Shades of Honor, the first novel in the best-selling series by award-winning author Wendy Lindstrom. Haunted by a gruesome war and his own dark secrets, former Union soldier Radford Grayson returns home, seeking a loving reunion with his brothers and a place where he and his young daughter can make a home. Desperate for peace, Radford is ambushed by his unexpected and forbidden love for Evelyn - his brother's fiancée.
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best-Selling Series

RITA Award winner!

The one woman he can't have is the only woman he wants.

Everything Radford Grayson wanted was in his hometown: his beloved mother and brothers, and the unscarred part of himself he'd left behind. After surviving a gruesome war, all Radford wants is to work the family sawmill and make a real home for his young daughter. But Evelyn - his brother's fiancée - reaches into his darkness with her healing love and makes him feel whole again for the first time in years. Torn between his unexpected and forbidden love for Evelyn and a desperate need to honor and protect his brother, Radford discovers that his fiercest enemy is his own heart. The one woman he cannot have is the only woman he wants.

©2002 Wendy Lindstrom (P)2013 Wendy Lindstrom

What the Critics Say

"Awesome underlying emotional power…guaranteed to move you to tears." (Romantic Times)
"Superbly written, beautifully poignant." (John Charles, American Library Association)
"A perfect ten...should not be missed!" (Romance Reviews Today)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (153 )
5 star
 (44)
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3.8 (143 )
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Story
3.9 (141 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Monica E. Blood arizona 11-06-13
    Monica E. Blood arizona 11-06-13 Member Since 2011

    monica

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A touching story"
    What made the experience of listening to Shades of Honor the most enjoyable?

    I was really drawn into the story and couldn't stop listening. It was also a wonderful change to be in an historical era set in America instead of Regency or Victorian England. Those societal restrictions can get tiresome after awhile. This was my first historical romance that I listened to and I was pleased with the experience. I'm also looking forward to continuing this series and hearing the stories of all the Grayson men, especially as Kyle's is next. I not only recommend the story but this format. 4.5 stars


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This was a really touching story as Radford Grayson epitomizes the tortured hero, having experienced unspeakable war action that he relives through nightmares. Evelyn is a special woman who helps him overcome his misery and provides tender care to his daughter. They are both honorable people trapped in an impossible situation that Kyle Grayson had a hand in creating and perpetuating. I liked how the story developed and was emotionally connected to both Radford and Evelyn. I actually missed them when the story ended.


    Which character – as performed by Julia Motyka – was your favorite?

    Same as above


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I had moments of sadness where I came close to tears:)


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator did a good job in distinguishing characters and she managed the male characters skillfully. Her voice had a pleasant tone that worked for the story, even though the pacing was sometimes off.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D.Riva LYNCHBURG, VA, United States 10-20-13
    D.Riva LYNCHBURG, VA, United States 10-20-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Embers grow into a Magnificent Love !!!"

    This book checks all of my boxes: Well-drawn passionate characters, intelligent writing, American history brought to life ---- paired with a superb narration that breathes life into it all !!! Overall effect is a breathtaking journey into the evolution of true love, family, and adaptation to the travails of real life.

    In this sweeping novel, a weary "accidental" soldier returns home to his beloved family in the Post-Civil War North, and struggles to come to terms with his past, his present, and his future. His return causes ripples in the lives of all who love him, as he tries to fit back into this family, that has also adapted to changes during his absence.

    I typically read over over 200 books per year, and while I will usually rate them, I rarely feel compelled to write a review. This book , however, is an extraordinary experience which is not to be missed. The author pens the human experience of personal growth with such skill, that the characters seem real. I feel that this novel could be a classic. You will care so much about the characters, that it becomes unputdownable ! Truly 5 stars and more. Well Worth your time and credit !!!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LR USA 10-19-13
    LR USA 10-19-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A deeply moving story, beautifully narrated"
    What did you love best about Shades of Honor?

    Every unforgettable character came to vivid life for me.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The scenes were rich in emotion.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Evelyn helps Radford face his inner demons. I also loved every scene with Grandpa and Rebecca.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed and cried--it's truly a powerful story.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved experiencing Shades of Honor as an audio book. I felt as if I got to enjoy a great performance as well as a great book!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracey R MN 12-11-13
    Tracey R MN 12-11-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WOW!!!! Best stories I have read in 30+ years!!"
    What did you love best about Shades of Honor?

    Everything! At first I wondered if I was just having a mellow and melancholy day when I laughed and cried while listening to this story! Then after listening to the other books of this series I realized that it wasn't just the day I was having, but the story, author and wonderful narrator I was listening to that made me love this series!


    What did you like best about this story?

    How their family values are so much in the fore front of every book in this series. Amazing values, sense of caring and loving. Many family values are that now gone from our society in how to raise and give care to the children we love. This series make me almost jealous of the women in these mens lives, to find such a manly man would be amazing.


    Which character – as performed by Julia Motyka – was your favorite?

    She narrated them all so wonderfully! Men's were a little feminine but with the knowledge that they were loving, caring, giving men it was all good!


    Any additional comments?

    Not any hot and steamy sex scenes (which I don't mind, but) just wonderful stories about passion, life, family and love.
    I am on the 5th book in 3 days, I love Wendy and I have never heard of her before!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liz Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-14-13
    Liz Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-14-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent Emotional Historical Romance"

    Description:
    Radford Grayson is a former Union soldier and when he returned home after the Civil War ended, he was too emotionally wounded to stay and help his brothers run the mill their father built. He returns again, five years later, this time with his four year old daughter in tow, ready to take his place alongside his brothers at the mill, but his brother Kyle is not happy to see him and sends him to help his fiance, Evelyn Tucker, run her father’s livery. Radford reluctantly agrees to help Evelyn at the livery, and begins to develop feelings for her.

    Why I read this book:
    The story appealed to me in so many ways:
    The setting: it’s set in the US after the Civil War, which was a nice change of pace from the Regency ballroom type historicals I usually read
    The hero: two words -- tortured hero
    The heroine: she’s not your typical heroine -- she wears boots and breeches and runs her father’s livery
    The romance set-up/conflict: the heroine is the fiance of the hero’s brother.

    What I liked:
    Radford and Evelyn were such well-drawn characters and their emotional journey felt really authentic. From the moment I read the description, I wanted to know how they could possibly get their HEA. Evelyn is Radford’s sister-in-law to be -- how could it possibly work out? The thing I love about romance novels is that you know there will be an HEA, so it’s all about how the author gets the characters there and this was a bumpy, but realistic ride and I was hooked from the first chapter.

    What I also liked:
    The secondary characters really added to this story. Radford has a four year old daughter and the relationship that develops between Rebecca and Evelyn is as important to the story as Radford and Evelyn’s relationship. I also loved the relationship between Evelyn and her father and his relationship with Radford and Rebecca.

    I listened to the audio version of this book and I thought the narrator did an excellent job conveying the emotion needed for this story. She did a good job with the various voices too - she had to voice a variety of characters -- from a four year old little girl to a man who’d suffered a stroke and she pulled them all off quite well. There were a few areas where the pacing was off, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story.

    If you’re looking for a well-written, emotionally rich historical romance with well-drawn characters you grow to really care about, and miss when you’re done reading, then I highly recommend this story.

    I was offered a copy of the audio book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Sandia, TX, United States 11-07-13
    Elizabeth Sandia, TX, United States 11-07-13 Member Since 2012

    I just Love the Allure of a Great Romance...a Pair of Rose Colored Glasses...some Fine Wine, and a Subscription to Audible...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Romance...Passion...Honor"

    Credit Worthy, Definitely!!

    Fall in love with the Grayson brothers, while traveling back to the post-Civil War era of the late 1800’s.

    How does a family recover and heal from the devastating consequences of surviving a war you may ask…with varying shades of honor. WOW.

    Shades of Honor: Grayson Brothers, Book 1 is a beautifully written, old-fashioned love story. Wendy Lindstrom has gifted her readers with well-developed storyline and characters that are strong, and passionate. They live with a purpose for distinction, and yet they also struggle with this high moral code. Their commitment to family is everything to them, and yet that very commitment is shakable. They are defined by their desire for integrity, uprightness, and, character...

    ...And this...is what our greatest heroes are made of…

    I really enjoyed this listen. You will too.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth APPLE VALLEY, CA, United States 10-15-13
    Ruth APPLE VALLEY, CA, United States 10-15-13 Member Since 2013

    BlithelyBookish Reviews

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sweet, Poignant, Romantic! A Wonderful Love Story"

    Fredonia, New York, August 1870

    He always knew he’d come back. Everything he’d ever wanted was here.
    ---

    Shades of Honor is the first book in the Grayson Brothers series. It’s a post Civil War romance, this first book being the eldest brother’s story. Radford is tired of running from the nightmares of death, pain, and destruction, and returns home to work with his brothers at the family’s lumber mill. But he arrives to find that running kept him away too long and he may no longer be welcomed home.

    My Review:

    I’ve seen these books popping up here and there in friends reviews and had been planning to read them one day. When the author contacted me and asked if I’d review her audio book, I was more than a little excited! I’m going to break my review down by the actual story, and then the audio book.

    The Book:

    The Grayson world in Freedonia is lovely. Such a peaceful post war time when things and families are returning to normal again. The characters Ms. Lindstrom has given us are honorable, hard working, passionate people. They've known great loss but they have hopes and dreams and refuse to give up. They keep going, heads held high, always striving to do the right thing.

    Pre-, Post-, and current Civil War is one of my favorite time periods to read about in my historical romance novels. There’s something about the era – the plantations, the gentility of the South… it’s such a romantic setting. However, Shades of Honor is not set in the South, there’s nothing to speak of money, no balls or Scarlet O’Hara dramas - overmuch, but I did enjoy it. It’s a very sweet, slow paced, day-in-the-life kind of story about finding that yes, you can go home again, but it might not be on your own terms.

    The Audio:

    The Grayson Brothers series is being narrated by Julia Motyka, and I’ll say this right up front: She has a beautiful voice! It’s clear, passionate, and captures perfectly the deeply emotional side to the story. The only problem I have with Ms. Motyka’s narration is that sometimes I felt there was too much of a dramatic voice given to certain scenes. There were poignant moments brilliantly read where Ms. Motyka had me fighting back the tears, but for the most part I think she could have taken it down a notch without taking away from the overall emotional depth of the story.

    The Bottom Line:

    Though not without some flaws, Shades of Honor is an uplifting, entertaining read. If you enjoy charming, romantic, passionate stories with emotionally scarred heroes looking to find ‘home’ again, this might be right up your alley.

    I’m rating the written work 3.75 stars and the audio book 3.5 stars.

    My sincerest thanks to Wendy Lindstrom for providing me with a copy of this audio book in exchange for an honest review.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Lakeway, TX, United States 09-26-13
    Julie Lakeway, TX, United States 09-26-13 Member Since 2011

    I didn't think anything could beat reading a great novel. Audiobooks proved me wrong. I've become an audiobook junkie!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Beautiful Story!"

    The writing and the performance grabbed my heart from beginning to end. I could feel the emotions of Radford and Evelyn as they both struggled to do the right thing for everyone around them even while they yearned for the healing they instinctively knew they'd find with each other. The whole cast of characters, from Evelyn's aging father and Radford's traumatized daughter to those oh-so-appealing Grayson brothers made living in Fredonia, New York through the magic of audio a pure pleasure. This is one to savor long after the final chapter. Can't wait for the rest of the Grayson men.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise macungie, PA, United States 08-26-13
    Denise macungie, PA, United States 08-26-13 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Radford....is he honorable?"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The inner struggle that Radford has to deal with....ptsd, and the attraction to someone's fiancé...


    Have you listened to any of Julia Motyka’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    A good read, the author keep me on a see-saw....do I want him to get the girl...or...should he pack up his daughter and move away. Is the attraction he feels more important that the love of his brother?


    Will AUDIBLE be brining the rest of the series to us?

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D.G. New York 06-30-14
    D.G. New York 06-30-14 Member Since 2011

    Voracious reader/listener: I usually have one ebook and one audiobook going at a the same time. I'm a very eclectic reader so I tend to switch genres after every book. I'm open to most genres but my favorites in audio are mystery and fantasy (epic and urban both).

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Emotional story with uneven narration"

    I'm not very fond of characters that betray people that trust them (siblings or best friends) but when I accepted to review this book, I had recently read "Texas Destiny", which I really liked. On the surface, both books have the same trope - tortured Civil War veteran falls in love with his brother's fiancee - but the execution makes them different, so this one wasn't as enjoyable for me.

    Evelyn has been engaged to her childhood friend for 4 years and she's months away from the wedding when his older brother shows up. Radford (our hero) and Kyle (the fiance) are having problems because Kyle felt her brother abandoned him. Radford's a veteran of the Civil War and has had problems adjusting, so he stayed away from his family. Now he's ready to come back but the relationship with his brother is not making things easy.

    The attraction between Evelyn and Radford is immediate. They try to ignore their feelings - although there was a little too much touching for my liking - but instead, their feelings bloom. 3/4 of the book proceeds in this manner - them saying they cannot continue, with a few kisses and touches - and Evelyn's trying to work things out with Kyle. Evelyn has plenty of chances to break the engagement but the truth of her relationship with Radford comes out in the worst possible way. I wasn't a fan of Kyle - he was too much of a whiner about the situation with his brother - but they definitely didn't treat him very well.

    The book has some very emotional parts, specially about Radford's recolections of the Civil War. I teared up when he finally confesses to Evelyn what he went through. I think my favorite character of the whole book is Evelyn's father.

    The narration was slow, slow so I had to listen at 1.5 speed. Ms. Motyka tended towards over dramatization but the story was melodramatic in parts. I won't necessarily avoid her in the future but I'll listen to the sample first to see if she's sped up her narrations.

    I'll probably try the second book in the series even though I'm not very fond of Kyle, because it's gotten lots of good reviews from my friends. I'll probably switch to print though.

    *I received this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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