• Shades of Honor (Grayson Brothers, Book 1)

  • By: Wendy Lindstrom
  • Narrated by: Julia Motyka
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (467 ratings)

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Shades of Honor (Grayson Brothers, Book 1)

By: Wendy Lindstrom
Narrated by: Julia Motyka
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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author Wendy Lindstrom comes an unforgettable novel about love and family, honor and sacrifice, hope and healing....

She Planned to Marry Her Best Friend - Then His Brother Returned Home and Complicated Everything

Marrying her beloved friend, Kyle Grayson, will allow Evelyn Tucker to care for her ailing father and resurrect their failing business. But when Kyle’s older brother, Radford, returns home with his young daughter, it turns Evelyn’s life upside down. Radford has survived a gruesome war and has finally come back to work the family sawmill and make a home for his daughter. Evelyn is drawn to the deeply wounded man and withdrawn little girl, and she can't help reaching into Radford's darkness with her healing love. The undeniable spark between them ignites a love neither has known…and neither can embrace. Torn by her forbidden feelings for Radford and her desperate need to honor and protect Kyle, Evelyn faces an impossible dilemma and her greatest heartache.

Winner of the RITA award

“Awesome underlying emotional power.” (RT Book Reviews)

"A perfect ten...one story that should not be missed!" (Romance Reviews Today)

©2002 Wendy Lindstrom (P)2013 Wendy Lindstrom

Critic Reviews

“Awesome underlying emotional power.” (Romantic Times)

What listeners say about Shades of Honor (Grayson Brothers, Book 1)

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    177
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    80
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    28
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    11
Performance
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Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    165
  • 4 Stars
    150
  • 3 Stars
    72
  • 2 Stars
    28
  • 1 Stars
    13

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

Pleasant surprise !

What did you like best about this story?

I love that its a book about close family bonds and that the characters will be able to carry on in upcoming books. I am definitely a family person so I really enjoyed that.

What aspect of Julia Motyka’s performance would you have changed?

I can imagine how difficult it is to be a narrator and to try to please everyone. We all read, and hear our books, in different voices. The narrators try to find that voice and to make it one everyone can relate to. Julia Motyka wasn't the best narrator I've heard, but she wasn't the worst either. She struggled a little with the variety of voices, but it wasnt anything terrible. The only one that truly bugged me was the voice of William which changed towards the end of the book. She did a great job on his voice when he had a verbal struggle. All in all I'd listen to her again. If I saw she were the narrator I wouldn't turn away, but neither would I seek her out. I do hope to listen to the rest of the series so that ought to say aomething in her favor.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

You know, surprisinly I did!! I got this book for free in exchange for a review. I am not a fan of leaving good reviews for something I dont like, and I really thought I'd be leaving a 'meh' kind of review. Turns out I genuinely liked the book!! I just finished it and I actually spend the last third of it trying to find things to to do around the house just so I could listen! Super glad I took the chance on listening to this one and look forward to the rest of the series!!

Any additional comments?

The following is a SPOILER so stop reading if you don't want to know anything.....SPOILER.....Ok so I get that Radford falls in love with his brother Kyles fiancee. Evelyn saw Kyle as more of a best friend and hadn't realized the difference between marrying for that reason, vs actually falling in love. So thats cool, stuff happens. There were TONS of other storyline choices that the author could have taken to make the transition, I have no clue why she opted to take the route of cheating!!!! Why!?! Why why why!?! I ended up honestly kind of disgusted with the behavior. She could have had the Kyle and Evelyn realizing their love was a friend love instead of making her and Radford cheaters!! When they finally got married I kind of tuned it out because I was so turned off by the cheating. Hopefully in the following books she will a) make us feel a bit better about that behavior in Kykes story, and b) Never go the cheating route again!! Authors... Cheating sucks in real life, we don't want it in our romance novels!!!!

11 people found this helpful

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

Touching Story

The set up
When Radford Grayson returned home to New York at the end of the Civil War, he was a troubled man. As the oldest of the four brothers, it was expected that he would help his father with the family sawmill business but he left soon after. Now he's returned home after five years with his four-year old daughter, Rebecca, but his younger brother, Kyle, doesn't receive him with open arms. He's had to manage the business following their father's death and resents Radford showing up now that the business is healthy again.

The issues
Kyle is now engaged to Evelyn Tucker, his childhood best friend who is running her infirmed father's livery business. Radford is sent to help Evelyn and they soon find themselves trying to resist their growing attraction to each other. It doesn't help that Kyle isn't very attentive to her and doesn't hide his resentment of Radford.

The heart of the story
This was a really touching story as Radford 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. She's desperate to make her relationship with Kyle work but cannot ignore her strong feelings for Radford. Neither wants to hurt Kyle (who was a bit of a jerk) but it was inevitable. They are both honorable people trapped in an impossible situation that Kyle 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.

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.

The bottom line
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. 4.0 stars

11 people found this helpful

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

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!

10 people found this helpful

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

Euphoric and captivating 💏

I got this book on sale a while back and thought.. I'll give it a chance.
After listening I knew I'd found a 💎 in a coal mine.
I have since bought the entire series.
Always coming back to these wonderful books every time I want a calm, well written story to fall back on.
Each book flows perfectly into the next while keeping most of the same well developed characters.
Each one about a different Grayson boy finding the love of his life.
The scenes are so vividly descriptive it doesn't take long to get completely engrossed in each mesmerizing story.
Every book has it's own message about strong family bonds and moral values.
These book's will have you swooning and sometimes blushing in no time.
There's nothing instant in this series so be prepared to go on a slow ride to get to the steamy parts.
Packed with plenty depth... it's easy to stay interested.
I'm writing one review for the whole series because if you buy this book, there's no way you'll want to miss out on the rest of these book's.
The narration was also a huge complement to this listening experience.
I highly recommend giving up a credit for all these book's.

7 people found this helpful

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

Great book

I really enjoyed this book, narrator was great there was romance sadness in there. I don't want to say more because I don't want to give anything away I received this book free from the publisher, narrator and or author via audio book boom

7 people found this helpful

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

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.

7 people found this helpful

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

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.

6 people found this helpful

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

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 !!!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • LR
  • 10-19-13

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!

6 people found this helpful

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

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.

4 people found this helpful