A Notorious Vow (The Four Hundred, #3)
Joanna Shupe returns to New York City’s Gilded Age, where fortunes and reputations are gained and lost with ease—and love can blossom from the most unlikely charadeWith the fate of her disgraced family resting on her shoulders, Lady Christina Barclay has arrived in New York City from London to quickly secure a wealthy husband. But when her parents settle on an intolerable suitor, Christina turns to her reclusive neighbor, a darkly handsome and utterly compelling inventor, for help.Oliver Hawkes reluctantly agrees to a platonic marriage . . . with his own condition: The marriage must end after one year. Not only does Oliver face challenges that are certain to make life as his wife difficult, but more importantly, he refuses to be distracted from his life’s work—the development of a revolutionary device that could transform thousands of lives, including his own.Much to his surprise, his bride is more beguiling than he imagined. When temptation burns hot between them, they realize they must overcome their own secrets and doubts, and every effort to undermine their marriage, because one year can never be enough.

A Notorious Vow (The Four Hundred, #3) Details

TitleA Notorious Vow (The Four Hundred, #3)
Author
ReleaseSep 25th, 2018
PublisherAvon
ISBN-139780062678928
Rating
GenreRomance, Historical Romance, Historical

A Notorious Vow (The Four Hundred, #3) Review

  • Lover of Romance
    January 1, 1970
    This review was originally posted on Addicted To RomanceI received this book for free from Avon in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Notorious Vow is the third book in the Four Hundred series and whew....what a BOOK this turned out to be. I couldn't put it DOWN...I stayed up late reading it because it was so dang good. The writing was incredible and I was hooked into the romance between Christina and Oliver and you know how I This review was originally posted on Addicted To RomanceI received this book for free from Avon in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Notorious Vow is the third book in the Four Hundred series and whew....what a BOOK this turned out to be. I couldn't put it DOWN...I stayed up late reading it because it was so dang good. The writing was incredible and I was hooked into the romance between Christina and Oliver and you know how I just love and adore all the marriage of convenience, the hero being deaf and the gilded age setting. I am falling in love with the Gilded Age, the more I read it the more I adore it. Its so refreshing from all the regency romances out there and I just gobble these up and Joanna Shupe is fantastic in writing them.A Notorious Vow begins with Christina, who has come to America with her parents, who are destititue. They may be members of high society in Londond with all the titles, but her father's gambling problem is a huge issue and they have brought Christina to catch a rich husband so that they may go back to their life in England. The husband that they set their sights on though is four times her age, rich and despicable and Christina has no idea how she will be able to marry such a man as him. Her only peace and comfort comes from her walks in her next door neighbor's garden, the first friend she has made. She finds Oliver intriguing and intelligent and a man who is a bit of a hermit due to his loss of hearing. They become fast friends but when Christina is found at Oliver's home by her parents and cousin, they are forced to marry. At first Oliver only wants to marry Christina to help her out and he can't stand the though of her marrying such a man as her parents have planned for her.Their marriage starts off slow though, Oliver only wants to be married for a year and then to give Christina a big sum of money and start a new life. He wants friendship, but he craves his privacy. Christina, is expecting more from the marriage than Oliver does. She is slowly falling hard for Oliver but soon it becomes apparent that she will need to find her own way in their relationship. Oliver is new to the social scene, he is a brooding quiet man who is content to work on his inventions and books. But he soon realizes that he wants more from this marriage than he had first planned. Oliver and Christina begin to start fresh in their marriage, learning each other intimately and intellectually and love starts to blossom. But there is a man who wants Oliver's wealth and will do anything to get it.I simply had a fun time with A Notorious Vow and I think that this book just might be my favorite of the series so far. I have such a weakness for marriage of conveniences and this one really worked for me. From the very beginning you become hooked on these characters and Christina and Oliver were so fascinating together.If I had my pick of all the women on earth, you would remain my choiceI really was endeared to Oliver, you see how he deals with being deaf and the backlash from society and how he is treated. But Christina...she treats his like a equal and only sees the positive of Oliver and even though he tends to hurt her feelings at times, she understands Oliver in a way that no one else does. I love how accepting and eager she is learn his sign language and learn about his inventions.The romance that blossoms between Christina and Oliver starts with friendship...they get on so well together. They can laugh together and talk about science and books together. We see how they learn and grow together. And then their relationship takes a new turn when Oliver realizes how much he wants Christina and not just as a friend and he starts courting her in sweet ways that makes you melt. I really was intrigued by the dynamics in this story from the sweet romance, to the villain of a cousin of Oliver's, to the selfish desires of Christina's parents.(view spoiler)[Then the story takes a new turn when Oliver's cousin manipulates some lawyers and doctors to lie for him to incarcerate Oliver into a mental institution and boy this place is really BAD. I mean, it was so hard to read these scenes of what they do to Oliver. Then we see how determined that Christina is to free her husband. And that everyone is afraid to help including the mayor. But they have one good friend, Oliver's lawyer, who is such a fighter for his friend. And Christina really blew me away in the end when she really fights for Oliver and his freedom and the injustice done to him. (hide spoiler)]From beginning to end this story wrapped me up like a warm blanket...full of laughter and charm, history and endearing characters that tug at those heart strings....DELECTABLE AND SWEET!! [foogallery id="58366"]
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  • Addie H
    January 1, 1970
    DNF 65%I suspect seasoned romance readers will not enjoy this one. Despite its' very interesting sounding premise, it's cheesy, the villains (family, friends , etc) are way too over the top, and after a couple of very cringe worthy love scenes I gave up.
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  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    I had really enjoyed the other two books in this series and loved the premise of this one, so I was exited to get to it. I loved Christina and Oliver. They’re both such good people who have dealt with people treating them horribly. She’s sweet and he’s sort of gruff, but together they click and it was fantastic to see them learn to be in a trusting, loving relationship. There are several other characters and most of them needed a junk punch. Plot wise, there was a lot of push and pull and at tim I had really enjoyed the other two books in this series and loved the premise of this one, so I was exited to get to it. I loved Christina and Oliver. They’re both such good people who have dealt with people treating them horribly. She’s sweet and he’s sort of gruff, but together they click and it was fantastic to see them learn to be in a trusting, loving relationship. There are several other characters and most of them needed a junk punch. Plot wise, there was a lot of push and pull and at times, the hot and cold got to be ridiculous. The outside conflict is constant and I really just wanted more of the two of them getting to know each other. Overall, it was a quick read with characters I really loved. I can’t wait to read the next one. **Huge thanks to Avon Books for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Maida
    January 1, 1970
    I love, love, love the character growth of Christina and Oliver. Christina started as this meek uber-obedient girl, but by the end of the book she found the courage to face society in order to save Oliver. Same with Oliver realizing his reclusiveness and arrogance led to his downfall. I also loved the slow burn of their attraction to each other. From an act of kindness on Oliver's part to real soulful connection. What I didn't like is that there are too many villains. My heart hurts every time t I love, love, love the character growth of Christina and Oliver. Christina started as this meek uber-obedient girl, but by the end of the book she found the courage to face society in order to save Oliver. Same with Oliver realizing his reclusiveness and arrogance led to his downfall. I also loved the slow burn of their attraction to each other. From an act of kindness on Oliver's part to real soulful connection. What I didn't like is that there are too many villains. My heart hurts every time the hero and heroine suffered because of other people's selfishness and greed. Wish there’s more connection among the characters in the series. Nice to see Nora and Julius again. Would have loved to have seen Eva and Phillip as well. Thanks to Avon for providing me with an advance copy to review through Edelweiss.
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  • ☕ Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    What a lovely story. I am really enjoying this author. RTC
  • Tracy Emro
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this was a solid 4 star read, maybe even 4.5 stars...Lady Christina Barclay is in in New York City with her parents, who have left England under a cloud of scandal and unpaid debts. Her parents want to marry her off to a rich man as soon as possible and have gotten an "in" to NY society via her mother's cousin. Christina is meek and painfully shy, she hates crowds and escapes to the solitude of her cousin's reclusive neighbor's garden whenever she gets a chance. On this day, she is tak I thought this was a solid 4 star read, maybe even 4.5 stars...Lady Christina Barclay is in in New York City with her parents, who have left England under a cloud of scandal and unpaid debts. Her parents want to marry her off to a rich man as soon as possible and have gotten an "in" to NY society via her mother's cousin. Christina is meek and painfully shy, she hates crowds and escapes to the solitude of her cousin's reclusive neighbor's garden whenever she gets a chance. On this day, she is taken by surprise by a very large dog, the dog knocks her down and she is knocked out and ultimately rescued by the reclusive neighbor, Oliver Hawkes.Oliver Hawkes never intended to be a recluse, but after losing his hearing at 13 and trying to fit into society, he decided he would rather not subject himself to cruel, ignorant people and has made a life for himself alone, he is filthy rich and incredibly smart. He uses both of those resources for his experiments and inventions. He is not happy to find a trespasser in his garden, but he is honorable and takes her in and sends for a doctor. When Christina wakes, she is embarrassed and scared, when the butler, Gill explains that Oliver is deaf, but can read lips, she forces herself to look at him while thanking him. They talk, with Gill acting as a translator. Later she learns that he can speak, but he choses not to, he makes an exception for Christina and even teaches her a few words in sign language, but then he tells her she is not welcome in his garden, he wants to be left alone. She leaves.Days later, he sees her in the garden again, he brings her inside and they talk, she again asks if she can walk in the gardens and this time, he agrees. She watches him work and he teaches her a few more words before she leaves. She really likes Oliver and feels comfortable with him, but he has made it clear, he wants to be alone.When her parents try to marry her off to a vile old man, Mr. Van Peet, she runs to Oliver for advice. Her parents are truly awful people, her father is self absorbed and her mother is emotionally and verbally abusive. They don't care what Christina wants, they need money and she is just a means to an end for them. When Van Peet does something that terrifies Christina, she again runs to Oliver, knowing her parents would do nothing to help her. Oliver is appalled and agrees to help her run away. But before they can form a plan, her parents burst in and insist that Oliver marry her. He refuses at first, but then changes his mind and insist they marry immediately. What he doesn't tell Christina is that it will be a temporary marriage in name only.At least that was Oliver's plan, but as the days pass and he gets to know her, he begins to think that maybe they could have a real marriage. But there are those who will do anything to keep them apart and when his greedy cousin Milton has him declared insane, Christina will have to put all her fears aside to save the man she loves.I really enjoyed this story and found it a refreshing change from the more traditional historical romances I generally read. It was well written, steamy, fast paced and interesting. There are cameos from Nora, Julius and the rakish lawyer Frank Tripp and well as some wonderful secondary characters and some really nasty villains. I would have given the book 5 stars, I could understand why Christina was timid, but I never really understood why she had so many fears and why she was so shy. I also never learned what the scandal that drove them from London was or why everyone kept saying how strong she was, because she ran away and cried a lot, she wouldn't stand up for herself and even at the end needed to be almost forced to speak on Oliver's behalf in public. These things along with some timeline errors kept this from being a 5 star read for me, but I would absolutely read the book again and would happily recommend it. It is the third book in the series, but it can definitely be read as a stand alone title.*I am voluntarily leaving a review of an uncorrected eARC that was provided to me by Edelweiss and the publisher.*
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  • AnnMarie
    January 1, 1970
    A Notorious Vow is the third book in The Four Hundred series by Joanna Shupe. In the words of a Kylie Minogue song "Wow Wow Wow Wow". Could I have enjoyed this book more...NO!Lady Christina Barclay has been forced to flee her London home to New York City, they leave under a cloud when her father owes debts to too many people to ever be able to pay. The move to New York is to find a rich husband for Christina to marry, one that will pay them a settlement to cover all the debts so that they can re A Notorious Vow is the third book in The Four Hundred series by Joanna Shupe. In the words of a Kylie Minogue song "Wow Wow Wow Wow". Could I have enjoyed this book more...NO!Lady Christina Barclay has been forced to flee her London home to New York City, they leave under a cloud when her father owes debts to too many people to ever be able to pay. The move to New York is to find a rich husband for Christina to marry, one that will pay them a settlement to cover all the debts so that they can return home, minus Christina of course.Oliver Hawkes is a very rich man. He went deaf as a young teenager and although he was forced to fit into a hearing society it wasn't without a lot of ridicule. When he was old enough he removed himself from society and spends his days at home working on an invention to help partially deaf people to hear. He's earned the nickname of a recluse, but he doesn't care. His life is how he wants it. That all changes when Christina finds herself hurt in his garden. Oliver's dog alerts him to a problem and takes him to where Christina is unconscious and bleeding. From that moment his life would not be the same again. I don't want to give spoilers but as you will know from the blurb of the book, Christina and Oliver find themselves married. They are very much attracted to each other from the very beginning, but with Oliver's insecurities about not being good enough for Christina, and her not being forceful enough to make him realise that he is, we have to wonder if they will ever be able to give in to their real feelings. Or will the marriage be annulled as Oliver suggests in just a year?There are the most amazingly evil characters in the story: Christina's parents who keep wanting more and more money from him, and also Oliver's cousin who wants his allowance raised and money to be given to him for investments. Bad investments. He really wants everything that Oliver has and will go to the evilest limits to try to make that happen!!! There is also the evil old man that had wanted to marry Christina, he is on the warpath since Oliver took what he believed was rightfully his. With these people in their lives, it makes forming a true relationship together even more difficult for Oliver and Christina. Can they have a happy ever after? Of course they can, but getting there makes for a fabulous story that I absolutely recommend!I enjoyed every part of this story and loved our hero and heroine, but one thing that definitely affected my feelings for this book is that the hero is deaf. My daughter was born deaf and I am well aware of the hearing and deaf cultures. I am sad to say that even in this day, at least in the UK, deaf children are still being pushed to learn to speak and lip-read as a way of communication, even if it is virtually impossible for them. I think there is nothing as stupid as schools for the deaf that don't allow sign language to be taught. It made me quite emotional to think that right from the days this story is set until modern day deaf people are still being ridiculed, still being made to not use sign language in some instances, and in some cases, they are still called deaf and dumb! I am at least thankful that deaf people are no longer sent to asylums! But time to get off my soapbox. I just want to finish off with a thank you to the author for a wonderful book which also highlighted life for a deaf person in that era, and for the wonderful information about the invention of the first hearing aid. I loved this book and it has to be one of my very favourites from this author.
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  • Amanda D.
    January 1, 1970
    Read it. READ IT. READ IT!!Seriously, this book is so tender and beautiful. And now I plan on devouring the author's backlist.
  • JoRead
    January 1, 1970
    After a series of tragic events, Oliver becomes reclusive and apathetic. His only concerns are his sweet sister and his work. That all changes though after an unexpected encounter with caring and bashful Christina.I had always thought that opposites make the best couples but Christina and Oliver proved me wrong. Christina was one of the most timid, introverted, fearful heroines I’ve ever read. Although I prefer my heroines to be more witty, self-assured, and even proactive, her tender heart and After a series of tragic events, Oliver becomes reclusive and apathetic. His only concerns are his sweet sister and his work. That all changes though after an unexpected encounter with caring and bashful Christina.I had always thought that opposites make the best couples but Christina and Oliver proved me wrong. Christina was one of the most timid, introverted, fearful heroines I’ve ever read. Although I prefer my heroines to be more witty, self-assured, and even proactive, her tender heart and innocence made up for whatever traits I might have thought were lacking, not to mention her steel determination when it came to protecting Oliver made her a well-rounded character. The story kept the perfect pace. I was particularly happy that the budding romance between the main characters didn’t feel rushed or forced and I loved the way Oliver went from a grumpy recluse to a more pleasant man. And his world! It was fascinating to say the least, but unfortunately it was also ignorant and unjust. The treatment of “unorthodox” people in those days was truly appalling and if someone thinks otherwise needs to open a history book and educate themselves – At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯It was such a wonderful story and definitely my favorite in the series so far. If you love stories with plenty of heart, a troubled yet swoon-worthy hero, and a heroine that may seem meekly at first but proves to be a worthy opponent when she sets a mind to it, then this is the book for you. I received this book from the author at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.
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  • ♥ℳelody
    January 1, 1970
    Hold up. A HR with a deaf hero who uses sign language and a marriage of convenience? Yes please! 👀
  • Aila
    January 1, 1970
    "He was listening to her and taking her wishes into account... and that meant absolutely EVERYTHING." Overview: This has been a pretty hit series for me, and I'm eagerly awaiting the next one! I can't wait to see who the characters will be. What I love about the series is that each book has a pretty unique premise, and the characters are all super refreshing and likable. Plus, the books are rather feminist as well, which I absolutely love!Writing: Shupe's writing is always enjoyable for me, an "He was listening to her and taking her wishes into account... and that meant absolutely EVERYTHING." Overview: This has been a pretty hit series for me, and I'm eagerly awaiting the next one! I can't wait to see who the characters will be. What I love about the series is that each book has a pretty unique premise, and the characters are all super refreshing and likable. Plus, the books are rather feminist as well, which I absolutely love!Writing: Shupe's writing is always enjoyable for me, and A NOTORIOUS VOW is no different. I love how low-angst the relationships her characters have, and how willful yet careful they are. I love the marriage of convenience trope, and that with the combined chemistry that Christina and Oliver already had made for a super steamy and fun read.Oliver particularly had my heart, as he grew up losing his sense of hearing and treated super harshly by society because of it. He's somewhat of a recluse, but manages to open up when Christina moves in as the exciting new neighbor. They were so cute together, and I loved their honest and open conversations!Romance: 4/5Trigger/Content Warnings: physical and emotional abuse, sexy timesThank you Avon and Edelweiss for the review copy!
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  • Erica Chilson
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads 3 Stars. A Notorious Vow is the third novel in The Four Hundred series, and can easily be read as a standalone. I read the previous book but not the first in the series, but I found no confusion. What I find refreshing, for this time period, the novel and series is set in America instead of England. Christina is an English lady transplant, her family broke from the father's gambling debts and the mother's excess spending. Oliver I received a copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads 3 Stars. A Notorious Vow is the third novel in The Four Hundred series, and can easily be read as a standalone. I read the previous book but not the first in the series, but I found no confusion. What I find refreshing, for this time period, the novel and series is set in America instead of England. Christina is an English lady transplant, her family broke from the father's gambling debts and the mother's excess spending. Oliver is a deaf recluse, working on a hearing device, who keeps himself apart from society to not be bullied by his peers. Warning, many deaf slurs are used, making me wince each time. After one use, the impact was lessened. What I mean by that, the impact is deadened as a story device, so I was unsure why it was continually leveled at Oliver by the same characters, other than to show ignorance by characters we already knew were both ignorant and annoying. Christina and Oliver are both introverts, intellectuals, who want nothing to do with society, which I found refreshing and resonating at the start of the novel. The pair are thrust into an unwanted marriage by underhanded parents, where the story shifts to a slow-burn, will-they, won't-they romance, filled with high tension. The romance turns sweet, and the juxtaposition of the heat was jarring. Their connection felt innocent, with Oliver's dirty talk not fitting, completely out of place.As the story progressed, Christina was buried by the story, to the point she had no personality- completely overshadowed by in-your-face forced dramatic situations. The woman whom I thought had a backbone at the start of the novel, acted helpless, indecisive, and insecure, which does not a heroine make. She devolved as the story progressed, not evolved, until the very end, which I found too late to salvage my view of her. While I enjoyed the story on a whole, it hit two of my pet-peeves, which lowered the entertainment value for me. The parents were so over-the-top, with how obvious it was they were scamming any man who would buy their daughter. This was America, not England. Oliver could have easily married Christina and gave no money for her after the fact, as women were not horses for sale. Christina could have easily ran away- her loyalty to her abusers was bizarre. Her cousins would have taken her side, now living in America with a different mentality and mindset, not sided with the shady mother. After all, they were the ones bankrolling the shady parents and their abused daughter, who was the same age as their daughter. While I know the parents were just a plot point to thrust Christina into Oliver's path, taking both of their autonomy away, it was too frustrating, in a turn me off from reading sort of way. Too over-the-top and forceful. Some subtlety would have saved this for me. Each act by the parents was more atrocious than the last, until it was unbelievable and not taken seriously by me. The other issue was the miscommunication. I don't mean Christina misreading Oliver's ASL signing. Oliver would speak, write, or sign the most innocuous thing, and Christina would take it as an insult, a rejection- this was no doubt to add angst or a gut-wrenching sensation. Yet again, it felt forced. The mixed signals wouldn't have been mixed if Christina hadn't read into everything, over-analyzed, made it about her, or took Oliver at face-value and at his word. The deaf man communicated better than Christina, unable to hear or read lips if the person was turned away from him. The mentality of Christina grated on me, seeming emotionally stunted, not ready for marriage, relationships, or even friendship, as she was so quick to misunderstand with purpose to fuel her insecurities. This made Christina and Oliver not a good fit. The previous novel in the series was one of my favorite Historical Romances, one I didn't hesitate to mention to anyone who reads the genre. I found it fresh, the plot innovated and refreshing, and the writing clear and concise. This novel didn't feel the same to me. While I will most certainly read more by this author, A Notorious Vow won't be on my reread or favorite shelf. I'll chalk this up to a novel that wasn't my cup of tea- every book by the same author can't be a favorite. With all that being said, I do recommend to fans of the author and the series. My issues are just that- my issues. If it hadn't been for two of my pet-peeves, I may have enjoyed the novel. My pet-peeves are just that- mine.
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  • Monique
    January 1, 1970
    In the three weeks since she had arrived in New York City, Lady Christina Barclay had taken to taking walks in the reclusive Oliver Hawkes’ gardens, her closest neighbour. Oliver had not noticed her until a little incident made him aware of her presence. Since an illness caused Oliver to lose his hearing, he has been keeping mostly to himself, and working on his inventions. Having fled England in complete disgrace, Christina’s parents demand that she marry a very wealthy man and soon. Christina In the three weeks since she had arrived in New York City, Lady Christina Barclay had taken to taking walks in the reclusive Oliver Hawkes’ gardens, her closest neighbour. Oliver had not noticed her until a little incident made him aware of her presence. Since an illness caused Oliver to lose his hearing, he has been keeping mostly to himself, and working on his inventions. Having fled England in complete disgrace, Christina’s parents demand that she marry a very wealthy man and soon. Christina had not expected anything good to come out of the situation, but old Mr. Van Peet, the man of her parents’ choosing, is Christina’s worst nightmare. Oliver and Christina have since become sort of friends, but then they found themselves married so that Christina is safe from her mother’s machinations.A NOTORIOUS VOW started so wonderfully that I was already basking in Joanna Shupe’s storytelling following the loveliest meet-cute. It felt a bit over the top, with Christina’s horrible parents, the lecherous unwanted suitor, and Christina’s extremely submissive nature, but still I had high hopes. However, as the story went on, I thought it got somewhat depressing with all the unpleasant drama and Christina who seemed more a shadow than a person. This startling lack of subtlety from Ms. Shupe made the story seem almost medieval or gothic in tone, especially considering the author’s penchant for very strong female characters. I was dismayed at Christina’s lack of backbone; she is one of the meekest heroines I have read in a very, very long time.A NOTORIOUS VOW seemed too much of a marriage of convenience: I got the impression that the romance occurred merely because the other person was nice, agreeable, available, and in Christina’s case grateful for someone who was kind to her. As for Oliver, his problem was not that is he deaf: he is somewhat oblivious and oddly naïve, and continuously gives Christina mixed signals. Oliver’s butler, Gill, was more attuned to Christina’s feelings than Oliver was. While we are repeatedly told that Oliver saw Christina as strong, I could never see it. I would also have preferred to see Christina’s parents shoved into the background for a while, as the second villain that appears later on was more than enough, and more pertinent to the storyline. I was ever so thankful for Frank Tripp – Oliver’s lawyer and a recurring secondary character – he almost salvaged the story. Everything that had to do with the fate of the hearing-impaired in the late nineteen hundred’s was truly fascinating, as Ms. Shupe, again, scrupulously researched her topic. The writing is flawless and eloquent, but I felt this book lacked the sparkle that has defined Joanna Shupe’s Gilded Age series; it just didn’t work for me. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Maria Dariotis
    January 1, 1970
    WOW!! This was a PHENOMENAL book.! A handicaps view of what life could have been in the Gilded Age.Lady Christina Barclay has been a pawn for her parents to use as they saw fit, with their fortunes gambled and spent in extravagant fashion they are now destitute, their only recourse is family in the United States. Christina becomes her parent’s best chance to revive their finances.She will be sold to the highest bidder, in exchange for settling their debts!The only reprieve Christina gets is stea WOW!! This was a PHENOMENAL book.! A handicaps view of what life could have been in the Gilded Age.Lady Christina Barclay has been a pawn for her parents to use as they saw fit, with their fortunes gambled and spent in extravagant fashion they are now destitute, their only recourse is family in the United States. Christina becomes her parent’s best chance to revive their finances.She will be sold to the highest bidder, in exchange for settling their debts!The only reprieve Christina gets is stealing a few hours alone in the neighbors secluded garden. Unfortunately, the neighbors massive dog knocks her down and she loses consciousness, Oliver Hawkes is a recluse he doesn’t do well with people but the young woman and her plight intrigues him. Christina’s parent’s scheming knows no bounds , and he reluctantly agrees to a marriage of convenience, saving Christina from the fate her parents planned for her.Oliver is a brilliant millionaire who has chosen to stay out of society because of his limitations his deafness has caused him. He hasn’t always been deaf, a sickness took his hearing when he was 14, he can read lips and speak, but after being ridiculed he just uses sign language.Life for Christina and Oliver takes an unexpected turn when Oliver’s greedy cousin declares him unfit, just when they’ve come to realize that they have a connection and love is blossoming he’s carted off to an asylum!A fast paced and well written story keeps the reader on edge. Joanna Shupe has really researched the plight of “handicaps” in the Gilded Age! If someone was institutionalized regardless of their monetary worth the treatments were horrific! The mention of ice baths just gave me the shivers! Once again Joanna Shupe has a PHENOMENAL read, she never disappoints!Now I’m ready for Frank’s story!I received a complimentary copy from the author/publisher, via Edelweiss. This is my honest unbiased opinion.
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  • The Book Junkie Reads . . .
    January 1, 1970
    Another Lady from London on to her adventure in the new world and the big city of New York. The Gilded Age in New York was where the ladies of England come to find fortune, husbands, and redemption. Lady Christina finds that she becomes the soul pair of shoulders to carry the burdens of her family's disgrace. Oliver was most certainly not your typical hero. He had some issues both physical and emotional. He was one of a kind and yet you still can't help but to fall in love with him. He sees the Another Lady from London on to her adventure in the new world and the big city of New York. The Gilded Age in New York was where the ladies of England come to find fortune, husbands, and redemption. Lady Christina finds that she becomes the soul pair of shoulders to carry the burdens of her family's disgrace. Oliver was most certainly not your typical hero. He had some issues both physical and emotional. He was one of a kind and yet you still can't help but to fall in love with him. He sees the world one way. He must make things better. Each book of this series brings us a round of characters, both primary and secondary, that you want to know more about them and if one of them will be next to have a HEA. The series has provided very unique young ladies, determined to make their choices their way. The each find a distinct counterpart. Watching them fall for each other was what made this so much fun. Joanna provides you with a journey in the past. She brings the Gilded Age to life with the surroundings, tone of voice, meek virgin, controlling parents (too a point), manipulative family. The unconventional hero makes me love this read more.
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  • Diane K. Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    A very interesting book with a solid story line. Oliver is a Gilded Age millionaire, but is also deaf and a recluse because of his deafness. Christina is the daughter of an impoverished British earl. The story is a lovely romance that includes a forced marriage and an evil conniving relative. Nice book.
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  • Ang
    January 1, 1970
    Review posted on my Read|Escape|Repeat blogThis was a solid 3 stars for me - it started out encouraging. Oliver Hawkes, the mysterious and reclusive next door neighbor, is an unusual Historical Romance hero in that he is deaf - not a very typical hero. However, of course, he is suspicious of society as they shunned him when he returned from school despite his great fortune. When Christina is found on his property they develop a sweet friendship. Christina is significantly oppressed and abused by Review posted on my Read|Escape|Repeat blogThis was a solid 3 stars for me - it started out encouraging. Oliver Hawkes, the mysterious and reclusive next door neighbor, is an unusual Historical Romance hero in that he is deaf - not a very typical hero. However, of course, he is suspicious of society as they shunned him when he returned from school despite his great fortune. When Christina is found on his property they develop a sweet friendship. Christina is significantly oppressed and abused by her parents and Oliver develops a protectiveness toward her and helps her develop a backbone. My only complaints about this book are, first, while Oliver and Christina’s relationship development is sweet, Christina is so meek and downtrodden it is hard to like her. She improves for sure, but during the book, I had to take breaks to read because the story did not grip me to the extent that I couldn’t put it down. There is also something about this sweet relationship that I found myself wincing when a graphic mention would be made of some sexual reference or when Oliver would graphically describe what he felt like or wanted to do. It was out of place in the story and just didn’t flow.I loved the first in this series and I somehow skipped the second but definitely want to back and read it. This is definitely a standalone - the characters of the first book make an appearance in this one but it is not necessary at all to have read the first one as the stories are really unrelated. This is s sweet story if you are looking for sweet.Thank you to Avon for granting me the opportunity to read the DRC. I appreciate it!
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    3.5A Notorious Vow is the third novel in Joanna Shupe's Four Hundred series. It's the first book that I've read by Shupe, and I'm already looking forward to reading the other two. Set during New York City’s Gilded Age, the book follows Lady Christina Barclay and Oliver Hawkes. Christina's parents are forcing her to quickly find and marry a wealthy husband to restore their wealth, and when they push her onto a man who frightens her, she runs into the arms of Oliver. Oliver, who is deaf and choose 3.5A Notorious Vow is the third novel in Joanna Shupe's Four Hundred series. It's the first book that I've read by Shupe, and I'm already looking forward to reading the other two. Set during New York City’s Gilded Age, the book follows Lady Christina Barclay and Oliver Hawkes. Christina's parents are forcing her to quickly find and marry a wealthy husband to restore their wealth, and when they push her onto a man who frightens her, she runs into the arms of Oliver. Oliver, who is deaf and chooses to steer clear of society, agrees to a marriage of convenience to help Christina.This is the kind of book that kept me reading late into the night. Both Christina and Oliver have a painful history, and watching them learn to trust and love each other was really enjoyable. I can't personally speak to the deaf representation, but it was clear that research was done here and Shupe did a great job of offering us insight into deaf culture and history at that time without the prose ever feeling like exposition.On the con side, I enjoyed Oliver's character, but did find myself frustrated by his back-and-forth treatment of Christina. He would allow them to get closer and then push her away. He also needed to learn over and over again that he should allow her to make her own choices. Christina similarly flip flopped at points—sometimes seeming strong and other times almost annoyingly helpless. And, as other reviews have noted, at times the two outside conflicts were too present and it would've been nice to have more time for Christina and Oliver to get to know each other.I read a fair amount of historical romances, yet I tend to read English-set ones, and I was happily surprised by how much I enjoyed the setting and time period of this one. Overall, this ended up being an enjoyable read and it definitely is inspiring me to check out the rest of Shupe's books.
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  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    A lukewarm read. I was intrigued by the premise and enjoy historical romances that take a swing at disabilities in a real and believable way and this was my first go at a deaf hero. I enjoyed the hero, I think he was characterized fairly well. Our heroine however is not as easy to deal with - she has been taken for granted and mistreated by her family and his very down on herself because of this. Throughout the book she grows just a teeny tiny bit enough for the author to move her story along b A lukewarm read. I was intrigued by the premise and enjoy historical romances that take a swing at disabilities in a real and believable way and this was my first go at a deaf hero. I enjoyed the hero, I think he was characterized fairly well. Our heroine however is not as easy to deal with - she has been taken for granted and mistreated by her family and his very down on herself because of this. Throughout the book she grows just a teeny tiny bit enough for the author to move her story along but over and above she is just a doormat. The villains in this story were a bit too over the top - evil cousin, evil money hungry parents, evil asylum. It all felt very far fetched and added it to just pump up the drama in a story that had largely nothing going on. Disappointing read for me :(
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  • Sissy's Romance Book Review
    January 1, 1970
    A Notorious Vow by Joanna Shupe is book Three in The Four Hundred Series. This is the story of Christina Barclay and Oliver Hawkes. I have read the other books but feel you can make this a standalone book if you wish to do so. Christina and her family flee London to escape finial ruin in hopes of finding a rich American husband. Oliver lives as a recluse because of his hearing issue but also because he works on inventions to help other like him. Christina and Oliver fall into an agreement of a b A Notorious Vow by Joanna Shupe is book Three in The Four Hundred Series. This is the story of Christina Barclay and Oliver Hawkes. I have read the other books but feel you can make this a standalone book if you wish to do so. Christina and her family flee London to escape finial ruin in hopes of finding a rich American husband. Oliver lives as a recluse because of his hearing issue but also because he works on inventions to help other like him. Christina and Oliver fall into an agreement of a business type marriage that Oliver wants to end in a year. Only problem is that their business agreement has started having feelings that are growing each day. This was another page turner by Ms. Shupe...really enjoyed it.
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  • ErinMickC
    January 1, 1970
    An utter delight from start to finish. Shupe’s immersive writing will transport you the enchanting gardens and extravagant restaurants of Gilded Age New York. In A Notorious Vow London heiress, Christina, and reclusive American inventor, Oliver, have no choice but to marry. Despite a developing friendship before their vows, their relationship seemingly stalls once they are hastily wed. Their budding affections, however, still hover just below the surface. As their families throw obstacle after o An utter delight from start to finish. Shupe’s immersive writing will transport you the enchanting gardens and extravagant restaurants of Gilded Age New York. In A Notorious Vow London heiress, Christina, and reclusive American inventor, Oliver, have no choice but to marry. Despite a developing friendship before their vows, their relationship seemingly stalls once they are hastily wed. Their budding affections, however, still hover just below the surface. As their families throw obstacle after obstacle in their way, Christina and Oliver cement their lives, their love, and their future together.Shupe never fails to woo me with her deceptively uncompromising heroes and her unpretentious heroines. This book was tender and complex in a way that most historical romances can only aspire to be. A Notorious Vow is easily my favorite book in this series and one of the best books by Shupe to date. A must-read in every sense of the word!
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  • Niki
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this one! I couldn't put it down once I'd picked it up, which made for a couple very tired mornings at work. Oliver was absolutely the perfect hero, so sweet, caring and considerate, as well as being protective of the heroine. Christina had her confidence completely shattered by her parents and Oliver turned out to be just what she didn't know she needed. Oliver's struggles and the adversities he and Christina faced as a couple just brought them closer together and showed real developmen I loved this one! I couldn't put it down once I'd picked it up, which made for a couple very tired mornings at work. Oliver was absolutely the perfect hero, so sweet, caring and considerate, as well as being protective of the heroine. Christina had her confidence completely shattered by her parents and Oliver turned out to be just what she didn't know she needed. Oliver's struggles and the adversities he and Christina faced as a couple just brought them closer together and showed real development in both characters as they learned to be a married couple together and to move past their respective demons and fears. This is my favorite book of the month thus far and I'd highly recommend it.
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  • Ellie
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsInteresting Gilded Age NY-set historical with deaf billionaire hero and English aristocrat virgin heroine. Overall a nice, engaging story, with just some minor quibbles I had here and there.Mini review: historical romance with a deaf reclusive hero, and a virgin noble heroine as MCs. I liked the disability rep (I have no experience with deafness myself, so I'm speaking from the position of an outsider), we see the deaf hero in a position of privilege and how the support and the good fin 3.5 StarsInteresting Gilded Age NY-set historical with deaf billionaire hero and English aristocrat virgin heroine. Overall a nice, engaging story, with just some minor quibbles I had here and there.Mini review: historical romance with a deaf reclusive hero, and a virgin noble heroine as MCs. I liked the disability rep (I have no experience with deafness myself, so I'm speaking from the position of an outsider), we see the deaf hero in a position of privilege and how the support and the good financial situation helped him and provided him with opportunities to succeed despite being deaf. Still, there was a poignant plot element revealing the vulnerability (in legal and purely personal sense) of deaf people at the time.I loved the hero but I was not the biggest fan of the heroine. He was interesting, smart, caring, loving and I enjoyed following his character journey. She, on the other had, she was very much the meek, clueless virgin heroine we so often see in historical romance. It took a while for her to stand up for herself and to act with more confidence and determination and by the end of the book I had much more respect for her.My main complaint was that the villains felt like caricatures of evilness rather than real people. Her her parents, his cousin, they were over the top in their villainy and lacked nuanced and character development.CW for scenes of violence and abuse in mental hospital, ableist language (that got challenged on page)
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  • jesse
    January 1, 1970
    2.5/5Honestly, i liked the concept of a deaf hero inventing hearing devices and falling in love with an impoverished aristocrat more than its execution. i've heard great things about this book from dearauthor or smartbitches (can't remember for sure). but where was the characterisation? the layers? why was i bored with the female lead? christina has social anxiety and is more on the reserved side which is totally fine, not everyone can be a mary sue and i honestly can relate more to her because 2.5/5Honestly, i liked the concept of a deaf hero inventing hearing devices and falling in love with an impoverished aristocrat more than its execution. i've heard great things about this book from dearauthor or smartbitches (can't remember for sure). but where was the characterisation? the layers? why was i bored with the female lead? christina has social anxiety and is more on the reserved side which is totally fine, not everyone can be a mary sue and i honestly can relate more to her because of it. but somehow she still just seemed so ... bland. all of the characters were caricatures to me, actually. i couldn't connect to any of them the way i wanted to. they seemed so inherently good or evil that it seemed more dickensian than not.
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  • Nelle
    January 1, 1970
    Could not put it down!! Ok so yes I had to for icecream but that's it! So good. I love learning thing and the setting of the 1900s in NYC is perfect. Government corruption, the society is different and the hero has a disability and so does the heroine to an extent. When will I get Frank's story!!!
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  • Shannon Dyer
    January 1, 1970
    Round up to 4.5 stars. This was such a delight! Review to come to AAR.
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    Sarah MacLean recommended it in her email this month. Sadly, I was not a fan, as I did not buy the insta-love between these two damaged people.
  • Eden Church | The Required Reading List
    January 1, 1970
    😻😻😻😻😻 Joanna Shupe's latest historical romance is powerful and affecting, beautiful and heart-wrenching. Lady Christina has lived her whole life at the mercy of her mercenary parents, paraded around and primped for the highest bidder. Enter Oliver, Christina's American cousin's handsome recluse neighbour. Oliver lost his hearing at 13 and has been struggling to find his place in society ever since then. When Christina is in danger of being sold into a horrible marriage, Oliver can't help but hel 😻😻😻😻😻 Joanna Shupe's latest historical romance is powerful and affecting, beautiful and heart-wrenching. Lady Christina has lived her whole life at the mercy of her mercenary parents, paraded around and primped for the highest bidder. Enter Oliver, Christina's American cousin's handsome recluse neighbour. Oliver lost his hearing at 13 and has been struggling to find his place in society ever since then. When Christina is in danger of being sold into a horrible marriage, Oliver can't help but help the beautiful woman who sometimes wanders his immense gardens at night. The relationship between Oliver and Christina was just *heart eyes.* Each of these characters have been broken by a society that sees them as less than, and because of each other they learn to realize their own worth. Shupe's latest is a beautiful love story for the ages, but also a powerful meditation on ability, the prison and justice systems, and women's rights. *Thank you to Avon and Edelweiss for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    4.25 stars
  • Marlene
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published at Reading RealityWhile A Notorious Vow is the third book in the Four Hundred series, it is absolutely not necessary to have read the first two in order to get into this one – but for an unusual reason.Although the stories all take place within the same place and time, and even though our protagonists do meet the Hatchers (the h/h of the first book, A Daring Arrangement) the previous couples and previous stories don’t really impinge on this one.Because for very different rea Originally published at Reading RealityWhile A Notorious Vow is the third book in the Four Hundred series, it is absolutely not necessary to have read the first two in order to get into this one – but for an unusual reason.Although the stories all take place within the same place and time, and even though our protagonists do meet the Hatchers (the h/h of the first book, A Daring Arrangement) the previous couples and previous stories don’t really impinge on this one.Because for very different reasons, both Oliver and Christina are pretty much recluses. Neither of them moves in society at all, because neither of them wants to. A decision that comes back to bite both of them during the course of this story.And, in the best romantic tradition, neither of them initially believes it about the other.Oliver Hawkes, a young, wealthy and brilliant inventor as well as reclusive investor, is deaf, and has been since a bout of scarlet fever in his early teens. He remembers being able to hear, but no longer can. Equally, he can no longer stand the terrible treatment he suffered at the hands of so-called “society” as everyone mocked not just the voice he could no longer hear, but also his ability to “speak” with his hands and his need to write down complex thoughts – and receive their replies, in a small notebook.He is more than wealthy enough not to need a “day job” and quite capable of living mostly on his own. Within his own house, the staff have all learned enough sign language to communicate, and he lives quite well and is reasonably content. Until Christina quite literally falls into his lap.Actually she falls in his garden, with the enthusiastic “help” of his dog Apollo, who knocks her down in his enthusiasm to greet a new person.Christina’s desire to retreat from society is due to an extreme lack of confidence – a lack that has been instilled in her, and is constantly reinforced, by her greedy, grasping mother. Christina is always and forever a disappointment, and her lack of confidence allows the crueler elements of society to make fun of her at every turn.The truth is that all of them are jealous of her in one way or another, including, most especially, her mother. But Christina has been programmed practically from birth not to be able to see it.Christina and her parents are in New York out of the necessity of repairing the family fortunes. Christina’s father-the-earl is an inveterate gambler – and not a winner. Both of her parents have always lived well outside their means, even before he gambled away all the means.They have fled England just barely ahead of their creditors – and those whom they outright swindled – in order to sponge off their New York relations and auction Christina off to the highest bidder.That said highest bidder is the most disgusting and despicable person imaginable is also a standard of the romantic tradition – although this bastard manages to exceed expectations on all counts – as does the behavior of Christina’s parents. It is up to Oliver, who has no desire to be involved with society at all, to save Christina from not merely her parents but also a fate that is guaranteed to be worse than death – until it turns into actual death.While at first it seems as if they will have their work cut out for them just trying to make a workable marriage out of what is still a rather nascent friendship, the situation becomes even more dire.Just how corrupt is Tammany Hall, anyway?Escape Rating B+: There were several elements that made A Notorious Vow interesting in unusual ways as well as a lot of fun to read. I got sucked right in and didn’t get out until I finished – more or less in one go.We’ve seen plenty of wallflower heroines in historical romances, but very seldom a “wallflower” hero. Oliver’s exile from society seems mostly self-imposed. He has the money and the social standing to ignore the whispers that he can lip read quite well – but he chooses not to do so. His reasons for withdrawing are certainly valid, and not merely from his own perspective. But he could just as easily have gone the other way, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, and the doubters be damned. And as events later prove, it probably would have resulted in a better outcome after some initial discomfort.Which is not to say that his discomfort isn’t very real. Like so many other handicaps, deafness was not much written about, talked about, or studied in the late 19th century. Oliver could not hear, but that did not mean that any of his other faculties were affected at all – which did not stop popular imagination from assuming that they had. A problem which is nearly his undoing.But the crux of the romantic conflict between Oliver and Christina has little to do with his deafness, although that does make it more difficult – but far from impossible – for them to discuss the problem.Oliver exhibits that unfortunate tendency of very intelligent people to assume that because they are so often the smartest person in any room that they inhabit, they are therefore always the most knowledgeable and always know best for everyone else. And the problem lies in that “always”. Few things are ever “always” true or “always” right. Because it seldom happens to him, Oliver is unable to recognize that it does occasionally happen even to him, and especially when it comes to his dealings with Christina. He doesn’t know what she wants or needs or thinks because he doesn’t ask her – he assumes he already knows. And of course he doesn’t.This is a problem that would exist whether Oliver could hear a pin drop or can’t hear a thing – because it is an innate part of his personality. (And one that affects plenty of contemporary men as well!)In addition to having an interesting and unusual hero and heroine, A Notorious Vow also has what can best be described as a surfeit of villains – especially when considering that the three villains are not working together. They are all separately and individually villainous, For the purposes of villainy, I’m counting Christina’s parents as a single villain. For all we see of the earl, they might as well be.Her parents attempt to sell her to the highest bidder in order to get themselves out from under their debts and swindles. Her mother, in particular, is particularly vile. The highest bidder they attempt to sell her to is a disgusting old man who has probably murdered his three previous wives. When Oliver rescues Christina from their clutches, mommy dearest continues to clutch in the hopes of getting a better deal – even though her continued contact with Christina endangers the deal currently on the table. That there is a deal at all says everything that needs to be said about Christina’s parents.When Oliver’s equally venal cousin bribes a judge and conspires to get him committed to an insane asylum, the disgusting old man bribes Tammany Hall to KEEP him imprisoned. Yet these individuals do not seem to be working together. I found the continued presence of Christina’s parents at this juncture to be one villain too many.That does not take anything away from the horrific nature of Oliver’s imprisonment or the appalling stink of corruption that surrounds the entire case – and that unfortunately bears all too close a resemblance to real circumstances at the time.Taken all together, A Notorious Vow turns out to be an engaging romance of surprised (and surprising) equals who have to overcome more difficulties than expected. And who discover at the end that their hard-won happy ever after is well worth the changes that they both have to make in their lives.If this is the final book in the Four Hundred series, it is a fitting end. But I’ve enjoyed the whole series very much and would love to see it continue!
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