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Publisher's Summary

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

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Learning to let go and live again

If you could sum up Contract to Wed in three words, what would they be?

shocking, new leaf, overcoming

What did you like best about this story?

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.

Which character – as performed by Meghan Kelly – was your favorite?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Contract to wed

Which scene was your favorite?

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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Historical Western Blend Romance

Jolene is in a widow without anything. Max is a rich rancher and oil tycoon looking for a mother for his young daughter and wife to help him get elected as senator. Jolene answers his ad to become his wife.

The author did a good job on this one. The story line held my interest all the way through. Narrator does a good job with dialect making it easy to follow and distinguish between the characters.

I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed the book and look forward to others by both the author and narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Very good listen

If you could sum up Contract to Wed in three words, what would they be?

Great historical Novel

What did you like best about this story?

It was a really interesting story line. The story was engaging and the characters were likable too. I especially liked that it did not follow a formula as some books do.

What does Meghan Kelly bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I enjoyed the voices. A good narrator makes the story come alive.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Western romance with a twist.

Any additional comments?

I am fortunate because I have a job where I can listen to audio books about 8 hours a day, this book was a very pleasant listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great sequel to the trainstation bride

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Read My rating: 1 of 5 stars2 of 5 stars3 of 5

"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!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Love Comes After the Wedding

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book really held my attention the whole time. I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next.

Would you recommend Contract to Wed to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes, I would recommend this to friends because the characters are so real and deal with many life events.

What does Meghan Kelly bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Meghan Kelly has a wonderful speaking voice and handles the different characters so well.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

First Comes Marriage, Then Comes Love

Any additional comments?

I would like to hear more books read by Meghan Kelly. She is fantastic !

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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So good

This was an excellent book. Sometimes all it takes is a new love to heal an old hurt!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Contract to Wed

"Contract to Wed" is.an excellent read! The storyline and characters are done in extrodenary taste. I loved this book! I will recommend this book , of.course.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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New Beginning

Contract to Wed is about Jolene Crawford Crenshaw, heiress and Boston socialite. She went from her home Landonmore upon her marriage to nothing when her husband has passed away. The only way for her to survive is to marry again and to leave Boston to begin anew.

Wealthy Texas Rancher, Maximilian Shelby has made his fortune from the oil and cattles. He has shut himself off after his wife has passed away with the exception of his daughter. His daughter is growing up and will need a woman of good breeding to guide his daughter into society and to help him to become Senator of Texas.

As the story continues, readers/listeners are going to discover how damage Jolene is by her manipulator of a mother. The first impression of Jolene is that she is not a likable character with her staff and friends. The only thing that her friends associated with her is that she has money. Jolene is cold and stand-offish with the people around her. When the readers/listeners discovered why Jolene the way she is, they will grow to love Jolene.

Max wasn't expecting to be attracted to Jolene. At first it was a business arrangement but it soon become that Max wanted more from his business contract with Jolene. Max is patient when he discovered that one secret that Jolene has hidden from him. He allowed Jolene to figured out what she wanted.

There are some things that the story has right and some things that the story has incorrectly. To start of with, the monetary of $50 million is so incorrect. If $50 million was what it is back in 1891, it would be worth trillions today. There were no millionaires back in 1891.

The thing that the author has correctly is that man controls the wealth. Women were not allowed accessed to their wealth except through their husband and the allowances set up for them to spend monthly. Women are not allowed to have a bank account unless they have an attorney, father, or their fiance-soon-to-be-husband.

What Jolene's husband did to her upon his death is just deplorable. She was the one who supported his career and made him as someone important. He did that just to spite Jolene after what he did to her when he was alive.

The narrator, Meghan Kelly did an OK job with narrating the story. The only thing I didn't like was that Jolene sounds like Mae West. Jolene is supposed to be a Bostonian not someone from the Wild West. I had to overlooked it as a listener.

I was given this audiobook by the author/narrator/publisher via Audiobook Blast in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated or influence in any way for writing this review.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful