A Notorious Vow
by Joanna Shupe
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Book #3 in The Four Hundred series
Number of Pages: 376
Ages 15 and up
CW: death of parents
With 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.
This book is by far the best of the series, it’s also the last. I got all the feels while reading this story. Christina and Oliver tugged at my heartstrings and were characters I could easily see myself being friends with.
The first two books in this series featured very strong and outspoken women. Christina is much stronger than she realizes, but she is definitely not outspoken. This story is about her finding her voice and finding the courage to use that voice.
Oliver lost his hearing when he was young and has withdrawn from society more and more through the years. When he first finished schooling, he thought he could prove himself by navigating the social scene as all the young men his age were doing, but he couldn’t help but notice the derisive comments by those who thought he must be incompetent since he couldn’t hear. Oliver never stopped to notice he was focusing on the negative people and not on those that were accepting and welcoming.
These two are meant for each other. Both Christina and Oliver would rather stay home than socialize, but both need to be pushed a bit to come out of their shell. Nobody is more surprised than Oliver when it comes to the pull Christina has over him. There’s not only an instant attraction but also an instant feeling of calm and comfort when they meet.
This story gave me butterflies over and over. Sometimes for the love and caring between Christina and Oliver. Sometimes because of the gut-wrenching feelings they were experiencing in other aspects of their lives. Christina’s parents are terrible and she has such low self-esteem it’s devastating. Oliver is so closed off and some people treat him as though he’s not even human. I went from joy to sorrow and back over and over.
I love your review and I’m glad the series finished on such a high. There’s nothing worse than the last book disappointing you.