Review: A Notorious Vow by Joanna Shupe

Reviewed by Jen

I have enjoyed every installment in The Four Hundred series so far, but Joanna Shupe has outdone herself with this third book. It was fantastic.

The blurb sold at this as a young woman who escapes a repugnant suitor by making a marriage of convenience to a reclusive inventor. Let me just say, the blurb did not do this book justice. It leaves out so much about what makes it good.

First of all, lady Christina‘s parents are not just matchmaking for her. The man they want her to marry is not just some suitor. He is old enough to be her grandfather and her parents are about to force her into the marriage so they can pay off their mountain of debt they left behind in London. Christina is a shy woman, uncomfortable with people and society. She takes comfort in the solitude of the garden near her cousin’s home. The garden that belongs to the handsome inventor mentioned above.

When Oliver’s dog innocently knocks Christina down and she loses consciousness, Oliver sees her for the first time. Only, he wants nothing to do with her. He wants nothing to do with anyone, because he has had enough of the shame and ridicule people have piled on him since he became deaf. Yes, the hero is deaf and it is the biggest issue that shapes him… and it’s not in the book description at all.

Anyway, despite his initial unwillingness to make friends with Christina, they do form a kinship of sorts and she begins to visit him. It is their friendship which drives him to marry her when she needs saving from her parents’ machinations.

I loved watching these two fall for each other. Oliver obviously has a lot to overcome with his mistrust of others, but Christina proves herself time and time again. It’s lovely watching her bend to his needs while he fiercely protect hers. It is a slow burn, but a delicious one. Christina works so hard to stay in the paradigm of their initial agreement, but this wonderful mutual respect, admiration, and attraction… It’s just too much to deny.

The villains in this book are easy to hate. Christina‘s parents are positively awful. As is the man she was supposed to marry. And Oliver’s cousin, well, there is a man who you will want to set fire to. I know I did.

As with the other books in the series, I have adored this foray into New York’s golden age. It is such a refreshing break from the mostly regency historical romances I read. I do hope that the author continues with this series. In the meantime, you don’t need to have read the other books to enjoy this one. It holds up great as a standalone. And I would definitely recommend it.

Rating: B+

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

A Notorious Vow
by Joanna Shupe
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Avon

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