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Publisher's Summary

Lady Emmaline Fitzhugh, a hopeless romantic, is tired of sitting with the wallflowers, waiting for her betrothed to come to his senses and marry her. When Emmaline reads one too many reports of his scandalous liaisons in the gossip rags, she takes matters into her own hands.

War-torn veteran Lord Drake devotes himself to forgetting his days on the Peninsula through an endless round of meaningless associations. He no longer wants to feel anything, but Lady Emmaline is making it hard to maintain a state of numbness. With her zest for life, she awakens his passion and desire for love.

The one woman Drake has spent the better part of his life avoiding is now the only woman he needs, but he is no longer a man worthy of his Emmaline. It is up to her to show him the healing power of love.

©2015 Christi Caldwell (P)2015 Christi Caldwell

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    183
  • 4 Stars
    109
  • 3 Stars
    49
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    10
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    1

Performance

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    194
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    93
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    30
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    5
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    2

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    96
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    45
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    10
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Solid 2-1/2 Stars.


Last year, I bought a couple of Christi Caldwell books on sale based on the ratings. I'm decidedly underwhelmed by this one, but I'm going to read the other to be fair, before I give up on her.

MAIN ISSUE: The writing, which is competent and better than amateur, but only in the sense that there is a consistent plot, characters set in the right historical time, and decent dialogue. All good. Unfortunately, the emotions behind the situations feel flat and contrived. I could see what Caldwell wanted me to feel -- I just couldn't feel it. Nothing about the characters showed me their deeper emotions and motivations -- and just telling me how they feel isn't good enough.

(A writer like Lisa Kleypas, who did the wounded hero beautifully in Love in the Afternoon, just outshines her, and left me wishing I was listening that book instead.)

SEX SCENES: The actions described in these are very basic and full of strategic placing of hands and lips, instead of focusing on the more important emotions and sensuality of the moment. In fact, they read like an instruction manual, or a cut and paste exercise from a writing workshop on sex scenes. He touches two main places on her body, and she returns the favor, in every scene. There's some *how does that feel* dialogue and repeated questions of *did I hurt you?* that brought the action to a bizarre halt. She's panting, she's moaning, she's having an orgasm -- and he stops to ask her THAT?

There are also lots of bodily fluids mentioned, and we always know who's leaking what, as if this information adds anything. The book totally lost me at *her juices coated his shaft,* which is just . . . ewww. This wouldn't work in anything other than a really gritty erotica novel for men, and even then, it's just nasty.

NARRATOR: Tim Campbell is new to me, and I found his beautiful plumy English upper crust accent promising. The problem is, he read the whole book as if he didn't know it was a romance . Every situation -- particularly the sex scenes -- were read as if he were a butler who had to read a dirty book out loud to his mistress -- against his will. I thought I could hear a faint sneer of disgust to his tone that made me feel that I was being judged for listening to it! (This could have been my imagination.)

If you think this guy is good, all you have to do is listen to Nicholas Boulton or Tristan Hunt to see the difference, so yeah, 2-1/2 stars. (Note to Narrator: Stop phoning it in. We can hear you.)


RECOMMENDATION: Not Recommended (unless you are a budding HR writer and want an example of how your book could go wrong):

And -- If you love A List HR authors, this one will just frustrate and gross you out.

Wish me luck with the other one.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

A good start to a series

3.5- 4. I liked it. It wasn't perfect but it was totally enjoyable. Emmaline is much more patient than I would ever be. Drake was a war hero with PTSD issues. And they had been betrothed for 15 years.

I loved Em's notes. Too bad she never sent them.

I think the ending was a bit rushed and I would have liked a longer courtship. There was a bit too much repetition. But, overall, it was delightful.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

Below expectations

Very slow.. Heroin sweet but not very strong.. The same parts of the story would repeat every chapter.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tracy T
  • Jacksonville, FL USA
  • 09-13-16

Very good story and narration.

I really enjoyed this story very much. I really liked Emmaline a lot. She was pretty, funny, witty, smart, strong and just a great heroine. I love strong female characters. Drake was awesome, handsome, and strong as well. Together they had great chemistry together. There were a couple of nicely written sex scenes, not graphic just very nicely written.

The story line and plot was great. I loved her "notes" to Drake at the beginning of each chapter. It made her so likable and you really got to know her character. He had some PTSD going on from the war causing nightmares, but it wasn't too extreme. He didn't constantly have pity parties like in some PTSD situations. So that was good. There was so much great dialogue throughout the entire book. The story flowed very well and it was entertaining and engaging.

As for the narration. I like Tim Campbell he is a good narrator. The women sound like women and he does give everyone their own distinct voice. His reading voice is nice and he reads with emotion.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Nadine
  • California, USA
  • 07-04-15

Boilerplate

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

It could have been a new story. This story was so full of sentences and descriptions that could have come from other books, that there was nothing new in this story.

Has Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

What about Tim Campbell’s performance did you like?

He has a pleasantly modulated voice. His portrayal of women's voices is good.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes. It was the usual romance.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

It was okay, just not great

The story had promise but then I felt the bond the hero felt for the heroin got strengthened too fast whiteout much built into the story to support that. It was very predictable and not much suspense between the two to draw one in.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

MAGNIFICENT, OUTSTANDING , SUPERB!!!

I LOVE TO READ! I haven't read a historical romance in awhile. I've NEVER read one of Christi Caldwell books. I LOVED IT ALL! The story, the narrator and I fell in love with the characters.

I'm ready for the next book in the series!

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

PTSD love story

a young man suffering from the aftermath of war. a young woman whose love is neverending. this story is poignant, it will touch you to your very soul.

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

Forever a 5 star listen

This is a moving story as we see Drake struggling with PTSD and his attempts to find normalcy in his life. On the outside, he's handsome, strong and confident so nobody would ever guess the battle within himself. The author seems to handle this with great sensitivity, but always with a great level of optimism too. My eyes might tear up on one page, and the very next page I was laughing at one of Emmaline's escapades or a witty repartee with her brother or Drake. After she reads about Drake in the scandal sheets telling how he took up with an Opera Singer she decides to really pay him back. She tells her best friend Sophie that they should go to the Opera and sit at her parents box. While there she purposely barges into Drakes box but makes it seem like it is a mistake. She has a funny line for Drake , saying since he wants the Opera Singer she will get for him a signed picture ( autographed ) for him. so the next day sure enough she has it delivered . It was a great read. I liked the way each chapter started with a short letter from the h to the H. The letters, while only a couple of sentences each, showed the h's fun personality and made me feel very engaged with the story. She has guts and she will not stand back from doing the right thing. This young lady is a force of nature and when she wants something she makes a plan and goes for it. I would say she has gumption! Emmaline is the daughter of a duke, now sister to a duke and engaged to marquess who will one day be a duke. Drake and Emmaline have been Betroth for 15 yrs and he went to war to avoid the marriage that the fathers set up. Lord Drake is a hero, well, everyone in England sees him as one but he cannot even make it through a 24 hour period without the scary memories of war. He is everything a dark man harboring painful secrets would be. Of course, to the outside world he is mysterious rogue that no one can tame but not a solider emotionally wounded from the scenes of the battlefield. Talk about breaking your heart! When Emmaline starts to put herself in the same place’s as Drake he will learn that maybe this fierce, intelligent, kind-hearted woman will be his salvation but will his realization be too late? Get the story to see do they end the relationship . does Drake finnaly fall in love with her. Does Emmaline heal him

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

okay

not something I will read again, but was a sweet story - narration was good

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-02-17

enjoyable listen from start to finish

i have read this book so decided to purchase the audio version. this is just as enjoyable.