Read Contract to Wed by Holly Bush Online


1891 . . . Jolene Crawford Crenshaw, heiress and Boston socialite, went from her family home directly to Landonmore upon her marriage, the mansion she shared with her handsome and charismatic husband. She’d never in her life worried in the slightest over anything as crass as the dollars required to maintain that home or the lifestyle she’d been born to. Her extensive yearl1891 . . . Jolene Crawford Crenshaw, heiress and Boston socialite, went from her family home directly to Landonmore upon her marriage, the mansion she shared with her handsome and charismatic husband. She’d never in her life worried in the slightest over anything as crass as the dollars required to maintain that home or the lifestyle she’d been born to. Her extensive yearly wardrobe, the stables and the prime horseflesh within it, even the solid silver forks and knifes that graced her table, were expected and required to maintain the social standing that she’d cultivated over the years. But suddenly she was a widow with little money and just her pride and her secrets to keep her upright. Max Shelby made his fortune in oil wells and cattle but lost the love of his life the day his wife died, over ten years ago. Now, his happy, carefree, little girl needs instruction and guidance as she grows into a young lady and his dream of becoming a Senator from his adopted state of Texas seems out of reach with few political or social connections. The right wife would solve both problems. As it happens his sister knows of a woman, a recent widow, charming, beautiful and socially astute, but in reduced circumstances, who may want to begin again. Max signed the wedding contract sight unseen. Will Jolene be able to shed her sorrows, anger and fears to begin anew away from the censure and hidden tragedy that marred her life? Is her new husband, confident, strong and capable Max Shelby, the man, the only man, to see past her masks to find the woman beneath? ...

Title : Contract to Wed
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 24402544
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 180 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Contract to Wed Reviews

  • Ingela
    2019-07-21 07:38

    Written December 26, 20153.3 Stars - Sweet with a heroine that needed a change in life (and to change herself)I ARC listened to a audiobook copy of Contract to Wed I got from the narrator Meghan Kelly (her website) — Thanks!! — A six hours (western) romance set in a historical US at the 1890:s. Not stunning or a very surprising developed romance but a nice and good enough traditional (quite short and fast done) novel. I enjoyed and even laughed at times. ************************************************Dallas, Texas 1891...Jolene Crawford Crenshaw, heiress and Boston socialite and newly widowed, take a chance to change her life and marry a rich man she never met before. — Max Shelby a Texas rancher with a fortune from oil and cattle lost the love of his life the day his wife died, over 10 years ago. He has a 12 year old daughter and some plans for a political career is in need of a representative and pleasant wife. — Not a love-match maybe but friendship and mutual benefits.You get it all; some angsty tragic past, a (sexy) manly Dallas hero, light bedroom steam, a adorable cute 12 year stepdaughter, a big Texas ranch and a very beautiful strong headed lady-heroine. To be true I didn't like this heroine, the new Mrs. Shelby, for a long time and I guess the author didn't meant you to do either. Luckily the heroine "shaped up" in the end, her heart melted, she fell in love and it all went out very perfect and nicely. Maybe this narrators women voices were a bit too whiny, and with a tiring drawling (I suppose to be south US) dialect, to be great for my delicate ears. Otherwise, Meghan Kelly narrated in a nice and lively way. ~ I might even pick another series-part at some point (I'm a bit curious about both the sister and the maid Alice). ************************************************I LIKE - even easy okay-for-the-moment listenings some (holi)days**This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jonetta
    2019-07-13 09:51

    Originally posted on The Book NymphoI have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to this character’s story. If you read the first book, you’ll know why and by the way…read that first!Quick summaryAt the end of the first book, Boston socialite Jolene was married to Turner Crenshaw and the mother of three-year old William. When this story begins, she’s lost both of them, is facing a serious change in her financial situation and is trying to determine her next direction. When she learns Maxmillian Shelby, a wealthy Texas rancher and oilman, is looking for a wife to help him prepare for a political state-wide office run and is willing to pay handsomely, Jolene jumps at the opportunity.About JoleneJolene is beautiful, socially skilled and exceptionally bright. What she isn’t is very nice. She’s aloof but polite; emotionally barren but fully attentive; and, not interested in a committed relationship with her husband but is committed to his goals. Max is at first a bit unsettled when he meets his new wife but it doesn’t take him long to figure out she’s been sorely damaged.What I lovedI loved the journey Max and Jolene took for her to confront her past, accept who she really is, acknowledge her grief and reach out to those who respected and admired her, in spite of her distance. Max is pretty wonderful and his patience with her was admirable. Unraveling Jolene’s past was heart-wrenching and once revealed, brought me to tears.The bottom lineThis is a really special story that transformed my opinion of a pretty unpleasant character whose true spirit rose from the ashes. The romance is wonderful, passionate and inspired. I loved this story and the set up for the next book is intriguing. (I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review)

  • Keri
    2019-07-06 15:27

    Didn't think that she could turn the heroine around for me, because she was just so darn unlikable in the first book, but darned if HB didn't do it. She made it seem natural too, not one day I am mean and the next day I woke up with a different personality. It seemed the change was organic to the story...very well done.

  • Kimberly Rocha~ Book Obsessed Chicks
    2019-07-18 08:27

    We first meet Jolene Crawford Crenshaw in Holly Bush's debut Crawford Family book, Train Station Bride. Jolene was the utterly mean sister to heroine Julia. How does an author take a character who was so disliked and turn her into a heroine? Well, Holly Bush knows the secret, and she does so in the second epic tale of the Crawford Family, Contract to Wed. It's now Boston, 1891, and socialite Jolene Crawford Crenshaw has become a widow. She has already suffered loss that has made her bitter, but to be insulted further by her deceased husband's will, Jolene must make a choice, stay in Boston and be ridiculed by her malicious mother and by society, or to start over elsewhere.Wealthy Texas Rancher, Maximilian Shelby has been a widower for sometime, his beloved wife died, leaving him with a small daughter to raise and now that the spitfire, Madeline is almost thirteen, Max needs someone to take his daughter into hand and also assist him in his political aspirations to become Senator. When his sister, Eugenia, who lives in Boston, tells him about the misfortunes that have befallen the widowed Jolene, he marries her by proxy after agreeing to a long list of demands that the irksome Jolene has sent him. When Jolene arrives in her new town and meets her new husband for the first time, she is pleasantly surprised Max is so amiable and handsome. She is not happy, however, to find that the daughter, who she believed was of a marriageable age, to be only twelve. Jolene has no intention of being a mother again, not after suffering the terrible loss that holds heavily on her heart. Max sees the beautiful and sophisticated, Jolene and immediately feels a twinge of attraction to her. Even after his pledge to never love again after his Melissa passed away, Max can't help but see the possibilities of growing his relationship with Jolene. But Jolene tries desperately to hold Max to a distance. She is after all, a product of the cold and demeaning Boston upbringing in the Crawford household. Nary a word of praise passed from her mother's lips in the time she spent with her parents. Then she went to her first husband's home, discovering a betrayal that forever changed the way she felt about him. Even with his death, the joke was on her when he leaves the bulk of his millions to her sister, Julia's child, cementing the betrayal once suffered. Now, Jolene finally has a chance to start anew, but because of her past, she can't take at face value what is right in front of her. She constantly looks for reasons to dwell on the sorrow and the loss, instead of grasping the good. Max, the ever patient husband, knows Jolene has suffered greatly, although he doesn't know all her secrets, he is willing to put his past behind him and solidify his new family. Will these star-crossed lovers find their way? Read Contract to Wed, by Holly Bush to find out. Well I guess you all can gather from my review, I simply love this book. I can honestly admit that I have never been let down by one word that Holly Bush has ever written. Ms. Bush's writing is solid and fraught with emotion. Taking a much hated character and turning the tides on her is an undertaking that Holly Bush has done with success. Max and the menagerie of colorful characters in his Hacienda, makes Contract to Wed a story not to be missed.

  • Deanna Sletten
    2019-06-28 13:37

    Boston socialite Jolene Crawford Crenshaw's life changed completely when her husband died and left his considerable wealth to Jolene's niece. Unable to maintain her current lifestyle, she decides to take Texan cattleman Max Shelby's offer of marriage in return for her to teach social skills to his daughter as well as help him run for state senator. The last thing Jolene expects is to fall under the spell of the handsome Max, but she finds it difficult to resist his charms. But Jolene holds secrets in her heart that keep her from being close with anyone, and falling in love is luxury that she can't allow herself to do.Holly Bush has outdone herself with Contract to Wed. This extremely well-written story was impossible to put down. The descriptions were vivid, the characters jumped off the page, and the storyline was fascinating and heartwarming. You can picture Jolene's stiff back and unsmiling expression. You can see Max's strong build and handsome face. He is so adorable; you actually fall in love with him. You find yourself cheering these two opposites on, hoping they will connect. It is a beautiful story of love, heartache, loss, and family. As far as I'm concerned, this is Holly's best novel to date! This is a must read for all lovers of historical romance. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.(I received an advance copy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review.)

  • Vikki Vaught
    2019-07-07 09:29

    4.5 StarsVikki’s MusingsI first discovered Holly Bush when I read Train Station Bride, and I have been a fan ever since. When I realized Contract to Wed is a follow-up to Train Station Bride, I eagerly agreed to accept it in exchange for an honest review. This is a fantastic addition to the series.At the reading of her late husband’s will, Jolene Crawford Crenshaw finds out the man has left most of the fortune she brought to the marriage to a child named Jillian. While she will have an adequate annual income, it will not keep her in her customary lifestyle as a pampered Bostonian socialite. When an offer to wed a Texas rancher is presented to her, Jolene accepts and makes the trip to Texas.When Maximillian Shelby meets the woman he married by proxy for the first time, he is immediately drawn to her cool beauty. When it quickly becomes apparent, she does not want an affectionate union, he is just as determined to have one, not only for their sake's, but for the sake of his twelve-year-old daughter, Melinda.Wil Max break through the insurmountable walls surrounding Jolene’s heart, teaching her that love is worth the risk, or will she remain a stiff, emotionless woman chained to her past?Contract to Wed is a well-written and emotionally-charged read from the first page to the last. The characters are engaging and the storyline is easy to follow. It is fast-paced with just the right amount of dialogue to balance the narrative.Jolene’s character is not easy to love. She has such a cold, withdrawn demeanor throughout most of the book. However, she did gain my empathy from the first page. By the end of the story, I very much wanted her to have her happy ending. There is excellent depth to Jolene, which makes her a very complex character. Whether I ever truly fell in love with her or not, did not matter. Her personality is compelling regardless. It takes a skilled writer to get the reader enmeshed with a character that is hard to like.Max, on the other hand, stole my heart, and so did his daughter, Melinda. She is a pure delight, so fun-loving and such a free spirit. Max is honorable, loyal and dependable, but not in a dull way at all. It’s refreshing to find a hero who is not a womanizer for a change while still being an alpha male. His love and care of his daughter says a great deal about his character.What I loved most about the story is the journey Jolene takes, to go from such an unlikeable character to one I respected and admired. When Max breaks through her tough shell, you find a woman trying to deal with a bad hand of cards, from her detestable mother to her weak late husband, to the loss of her dear little William. She has quite a few reasons to be so determined to never love again.I thoroughly enjoyed Contract to Wed. This book will appeal to anyone who likes a character who grows a great deal. The character arch is fantastic! The romance is deep and passionate as well. I highly recommend this excellent story. I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I did. I can’t wait for the next book in this great series. Happy reading!

  • Tracey
    2019-07-16 10:49

    Phenomenally Emotional and Romantic Read!Jolene Crawford was not an easy woman to love. After losing her child to illness and her estranged husband to his own selfishness, Jolene found herself practically destitute in Boston with very few options to maintain life in her elevated social circle. When a family friend suggested a marriage to her wealthy brother, in order to help bolster the gentleman's chances of gaining a Senator's seat, Jolene decided to take a chance and head west to a new life. She was determined to use all of her hard-won social graces to be an asset to her politically minded husband, but never counted on falling in love with the exuberantly handsome Maximilian. Max had lost the love of his life and had no hope for love, but needed a woman's touch to improve his campaign and his 12 year old daughter's chances of success. While he married Jolene by proxy before ever having met her, he could not believe how absolutely beautiful she was in person. Through a few stumbling blocks and some great tragedy, these two lonely souls healed each other. This was a beautifully written, emotional tale. Fair warning: you will laugh AND cry, but you will not be disappointed! I highly recommend this Holly Bush book!

  • Nishtha
    2019-07-12 13:54

    What I expected was a good story, this book crossed all limits. Holly Bush is going to compete with Lisa Kleypas, Tessa Dare and Elisabeth Hoyt in Classical romance.

  • Karen
    2019-07-11 07:39

    I had to reread Train Station Bride to get perspective of what was happening.Jolene was mean especially to her sister, domineering and grief stricken but not by the death of her husband. Her 2nd marriage of convenience in Texas was a chance to escape the horror of her mother and she finds an honourable man who won't be manipulated.Max wants a wife to support & guide his Senate race but his heart died with his first wife. However, his beautiful new wife withholds herself, is fragile and has secrets he desperately wants to uncover. A beautiful story of a shell of a woman who striped of societies facade is given a second chance to be a woman her grandmother would lovingly embrace.

  • April
    2019-06-24 11:28

    "This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast."This is an excellent historical fiction,with romance, adventure, and heartbreak included. I could not stop listening. There were times I was in tears, and others I cheered on the characters. One of the best novels I've listened to recently!!I will look for more from this author!!

  • Jennette
    2019-07-05 08:41

    Jolene is a woman with many layers. I can't exactly articulate what it is that I liked. I started this review more than once and it all sounds so ordinary for this sort of book but there is that something special that made me love these characters. Max is a bit too good to be true but then this is fiction. Jolene, I wanted to hate her but at every turn she became more and more likeable. I love characters like this.

  • Tori
    2019-07-17 10:39

    I really couldn't stand Jolene thru most of this book, but her behavior is somewhat forgivable the more you learn about her. Max was such a cool guy.

  • Cynthia
    2019-07-18 09:29

    I have to say at first I didn't care to much for the character Jolene I found her stuck up along with her thinking she is better than most. Once I got into the story I found her very likable just misunderstood. We often hide our feelings under anger or difference I found I could relate to her character as I looked back over my past. I think most people in at sometime in our lives have used this type of protection. You have two people who lost the person they were married to. Jolene thought she was marrying the man of her dreams only to find out he was weak in more ways than one. Max did marry the women he loved they had a wonderful happy life until she died. Jolene lost everything and wants to start over, away from a hateful mother along with forgetting all that she has lost. Max needs a wife to help him get into the government as well as show his daughter how to be a lady. They agree to get married but both have a few things to learn. This isn't an easy road as they will find both have to deal with the past, the future before they can find a love like no other.At first this narrator didn't grab me, she made Jolene so dry and cold, she almost sounded whiny. I thought this couldn't be how the author wanted this. I am sure we have all had to admit when we are wrong this is my times. Once I got into the story I found the narrators voice and tones fit right in with what the author had in mind. I enjoyed her many different characters however a few were close to others. It didn't take anything away from the story and you did know who was talking. there was one place where the character whispered and the narrator did not I just felt if she had it would have made that part better. With that said I would have to say you could feel each emotion as the narrator takes you through the story you are never left guessing what each one feels. There are no breaks, her tones are even and rich as she hits just how these character feels. Meghan Kelly gives so much to each character but the one that stood out the most for me was Jolene how cold she was, as she became unsure, changing her mind and falling in love with her new life, the styles, her family and the people in her household. She may have started out cold but she did put others first and thinking of what is best for her new family. She gets her way but uses kind words and she turns people to her way of thinking. Ms. Kelly does this character very well as you come to love Jolene you come to like the narrator more and more. I look forward to listening to more from this narrator.The author gives you an outstanding plot of lost, more lost, pain, forgiving and learning as these characters grow. It always confuses me on how a mother can be as cruel and unkind as Jolene's mother was. Jolene loses it all as she decides to overcome her past and more or less become a mail order bride. The author reminds us what is truly important and how to deal with issues which are touchy or we would rather not talk about. Max was awesome from start to finish. I found it wasn't long before I was so into this story I didn't want to put it down. I really was not ready for this book to end. In fact I got a deal on book one in this series and bought it. I am so looking forward to listening to it. The author puts some major twist into the plot which will shock you and make you look at one character pretty much with discuss as your heart goes out to others. This is a lovely well written story of starting over, overcoming and finding what truly makes you happy not caring what others think. So many people are going to be able to relate in some way and totally love this story.

  • Evelyn
    2019-06-30 12:27

    Originally reviewed for CONTRACT TO WED is the second installment in the Crawford Family series by Holly Bush. It deals with two people that come together after horrible tragedies in each of their lives leave them deep in grief. How they cope with their grief and how they let it affect themselves and others around them is the basis of this story. Jolene Crawford Crenshaw is a very proper Boston socialite who, after the death of her young son and the suicide of her husband, agrees to marry Max Shelby, a wealthy, widowed rancher from Texas. They sign contracts stipulating that she is to help him run his large ranch, the Hacienda, and help him with his social obligations as he runs for Senator. He is to deposit $20 million in her bank account. Upon her arrival at the ranch, however, Jolene finds a surprise that is not in their contract: Max Shelby has a 12 year old daughter that he had not told her about. Jolene is afraid to be hurt by losing another child and she reacts very coldly toward Melinda. She is also very cold toward her new husband, leaving him perplexed by her behavior since he knows little about her past and she refuses to talk about it. The only place these two very different, very hurt individuals seem to connect is in the bedroom. I had a very difficult time getting into CONTRACT TO WED at first, primarily due to the stoic and cold nature of Jolene. It just wasn’t fun to read. As the story progressed, however, she warmed up to the idea of being a wife and mother, and I warmed up to Jolene as I learned more and more about her. I began to see that she was severely hurt in many ways, and her cold behavior may have been the only way she could cope. Max Selby, on the other hand, is very easy to like. He is positive, cheerful and charismatic. His charisma works well on the people who work for him at the hacienda. They think the world of him as a boss and work very hard for him. He is very laid back and easy¬¬¬¬-going, and he totally dotes on his daughter. With all of his good qualities, he is not really very observant. He doesn’t seem to notice the long hours that his staff works, or that his daughter lacks the social graces she should have by age twelve. . Melinda was a very sweet girl, but I had trouble believing she was twelve years old. Her actions and speech reminded me more of an eight year old child. I enjoyed the writing of this author. The plot was plausible and moved steadily through a crisis that challenges Jolene in almost every possible way. The conclusion is logical and satisfying. I would, however, recommend that readers read the first book in the series. The book can stand alone, but I definitely feel I would have benefitted from reading the first novel. I likely would have understood Jolene better, and it would have made the beginning of the book easier to read. There is also a thread left hanging for the next novel in the series. CONTRACT TO WED is the first book I have read by this author but I’m looking forward to the next one. I’m giving CONTRACT to wed four stars. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  •  Chele
    2019-07-06 15:32

    I wanted to give this a 3.5 but I just couldn't. Jolene is the mean and haughty sister of Julia, the h of Train Station Bride. Jolene's husband is the man that impregnated Julia, resulting in the scandal that was Jillian.Jolene is just as unlikeable in this book. I almost dnf this one but I liked Book 1 so I forced myself to go on. I'm glad I did. But the h doesn't start redeeming herself until 30% into the book. That is a lot of bitterness to read through. But I guess I would be a sourpuss too if my late husband willed most of his fortune to his illegitimate child.The H was okay, kind of a pushover. He was a kind and mellow person. But I also found him to be laid-back, almost oblivious to everyday things. He is a multi-millionaire (20 million dollars in the bank and interest piling up everyday), that is a whole lot of dough for that time in history. Since he is so oblivious, I find it hard to believe he can be a successful rancher and also be the front runner in the Senate race. He is oblivious to the fact his head of staff works 16 hours a day, most of it as physical labor. The H doesn't hire on more staff for her as his Hacienda grows bigger and more successful. It is the h that brings this to his attention and he is shocked. He also doesn't have an opinion about some issues in politics until the h encourages him to think about certain topics as it will surely come up during his campaign.He didn't notice his 12 yr old daughter was neglecting her nightly baths. Nor did he notice her filthy clothes she wore for days. DUH, you see....oblivious. There were other small things here and there that made me feel like he wasn't as clever or discerning as I like my Heroes to be.It was an okay story but not one I will re-read or even recommend to my friends (unless they have already read Bk 1).

  • Shelly Wygant
    2019-06-22 15:55

    I have not read many books in the Historical Romance genre but Holly Bush has changed that. (I will admit that I did not read book 1 first but it did not affect the reading of this book). We meet Jolene who's has lost a son and her husband has just passed. Her husband has left a chunk of his estate to Jolene's younger sister. She is afraid of how this will look to the Boston Society. Jolene is a bitter women who is not very nice although she is a bright and beautiful women. As the story progresses we see her become a women who realizes that she does deserve happiness and that her mother has greatly influenced how she acts. Throughout the entire story she develops into a different person and it was a pleasure to watch this. Max has lost his wife. He has decided to run for the senate. He decides that Jolene would be the perfect wife to help him socially and help raise his 12 year old daughter. It is a arranged marriage for these reasons. Max sees the potential in Jolene and soon wants and loves her. I love following Max and Jolene's relationship as they are faced with raising a daughter, the run for senate, running a ranch, influenza outbreak, and many other and many other twists and turns. Ms. Bush help my attention in every page of this story. She wrote the story in such detail that you felt like you were right there in the wilderness of Texas. You will invest yourself in all of the characters life as they face heartache and love. I received a gift copy in exchange for an honest review. Read and Reviewed for Kylie's Fiction Addition.

  • Lilmissmolly
    2019-07-06 13:56

    Contract to Wed by Holly Bush is a great 2nd book in the Crawford Family trilogy. Primarily set in 1891 Texas, the story begins in Boston right after heiress Jolene Crawford Crenshaw becomes a widow. She soon discovers that her husband left her out of his will leaving her destitute. Rather than marry someone disgusting picked out for her by her mother, she agrees to marry Texas oil man sight unseen. Max Shelby needs a wife to advance his political ambitions and agrees to the marriage after his Bostonian sister recommends her. Unbeknownst to Jolene, Max also needs help with his carefree 12-year old daughter. Love is obviously not included in the wedding contract between Max and Jolene, but that is exactly what they get by the end of the book. Contract to Wed is a slow burning romance that grows on you over time. I really enjoyed how the characters didn't immediately profess their love to each other and jump into bed. Rather, the love Max and Jolene share develops out of the deep respect and admiration that the pair experience toward each other over the course of a year. Max is so patient with the prickly Jolene, who is extremely hesitant to love again.I listened to the Audible version of this story narrated by Meghan Kelly. She did an outstanding job. Meghan's narration differentiated between male and female voices and changed the tempo in the performance when warranted. I received a copy of this audio in exchange for an unbiased review.

  • Andrea Guy
    2019-06-23 09:51

    I'm a sucker for a good historical romance. Usually my setting of preference is Regency England, but I do love stories that involve marriages of convenience/mail order brides.Jolene isn't a mail order bride, but her second marriage is a sort of arranged one. She's also not a character that you really like from the get go. She's stuck up and snobby and a little bit unpleasant. As the story progresses you see her change and grow.Max is a widower with a daughter that needs refining and he has political aspirations. There really couldn't be a more perfect hero for a story like this.The growth of their relationship will bring you smiles and maybe a few tears. Ok, a lot of tears near the end.The focus of the book is on Jolene. There are a lot of issue with her and her family, as well as her first husband and his family. She inspires a lot of emotions from the reader, pity, anger and finally pride in the way she's changed. Considering the way she was treated by her family, it is amazing that she was able to change as much as she did.This book is the second in the Crawford family series, and I can't wait to go back and read the first book.

  • Julia Damatto
    2019-07-03 10:44

    Contract To Wed it's a captivating Historical Romance.We meet Jolene, a very complex character, she's a beautiful and intelligent woman but not a very agreeable one, her main goal it's to secure her financial situation without involving feelings, until Max... He is a wonderful character! Strong, good father, hard-working and in need of a wife and mother for his beautiful daughter.With patience and great amounts of love, our H begins to unravel Jolene's past and that's when she starts to blossom in a more likeable person. The storyline is fast paced, full of emotions, excellent written and with a strong message, love can heal everything.Highly Recommended*I received a Free copy in exchange for an Honest Review*

  • Kim
    2019-07-02 08:35

    Smiles & tearsThis was a story about a woman who has much pain & loss in her life, but always kept going on, regardless of how thick the wall she built around her heart. She gets away from her former life and finds so much more happiness than she could ever hope for, but before she can enjoy it, she has to re-live the pain in order to put it behind her. This story gave me some tears and smiles. Well worth reading.

  • Michele
    2019-07-09 07:52

    I disliked Jolene in Train Station Bride. Holly Bush made her understandable but I still would never befriend her. She improved and was redeemed by the end of the novel. Her complexity kept me reading but I was not converted to liking her. Maximilian and Melinda were refreshing. I thought that Max could have been better developed. Overall, it is worth a chance.

  • Mona
    2019-07-21 09:56

    Well-written, well-edited book. One of the reviews are read described the heroine, Jolene, as unlikeable. And she definitely the beginning. Her growth as a woman, wife, and mother is well depicted in the book. I think you'll like her.

  • Margo
    2019-07-19 14:32

    Another great book in this series. Jolene the ice queen, melts under the love of a new husband and step daughter.

  • Sandy
    2019-06-28 09:38

    Great bookLoved this book and anxiously awaiting book 3 in the series. As with book 1 this one also showed joy, sorrow and so much love. Definitely recommend this Author.

  • Lizzie b
    2019-07-05 10:50

    I really enjoyed this second story in the series.We discover what happened in Jolene's marriage and how this came about and the deep sorrow she has to live with.In book 1 she is not very endearing but in this book you begin to understand her and yearn for her to find happiness. Max is a dream.

  • Maria
    2019-07-01 09:27

    I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour and rated it 4.5 out of 5 Stars.When I was a young reader I fell in love with historical romance novels and imagined myself as the heroine of every story and while my tastes have grown and changed over the years, when I need a chance of pace I find myself picking up a historical novel because it’s a genre I still love reading. Having read several books by Holly Bush, I jumped at the chance to read and review Contract to Wed, the second book in her Crawford Family Series. While it’s a book you can enjoy on its own, I personally recommend you start with Train Station Bride first.A member of Boston’s high society, Jolene Crawford Crenshaw leads a life many women would envy; a rich husband, several beautiful homes, the latest fashions and everything money can buy. All of that changes when Jolene’s husband suddenly dies and leaves most of his estate to someone other than his wife. A widow with a vastly reduced bank account, Jolene clings to her pride and secrets as she trys to figure out how she’s going to get by. And then she receives an unusual offer. An offer of marriage, sight unseen, to Max Shelby, a wealthy Texas widower, willing to pay for a wife to help him, and his daughter, enter society and help him achieve his dream of becoming a Senator. Agreeing to leave Boston, Jolene heads to Texas for what will become the biggest adventure of her life.Ms. Bush does an excellent job developing both leading characters; while I had a harder time connecting with Jolene, who was aloof and socially stuck up, I easily connected with Max and his daughter Melinda. I liked everything about their life in Texas and how they got along with the people who lived and worked on his ranch. While it was clear that both Max and Melinda needed a good “polishing” to enter society, and that Jolene was more than capable of doing that, it was also clear that Jolene needed them in order to become the best she could be. Ms.. Bush addresses Jolene’s cool and aloof manner by letting us glimpse Jolene’s past through her memories. I also liked that both Jolene and Max had both experienced grief in their lives as it gave them a common foothold to build on.The secondary characters are also well developed and I especially enjoyed getting to know Alice, Jolene’s personal maid, and the people who worked on ranch for Max. I especially liked his cook Maria and his ranch manager Zeb. The romance between Jolene and Max iis well developed, not rushed, and I enjoyed watching them get to know each other as the physical attraction between them builds. I also enjoyed getting to know Melinda, Max’s daughter, who is much younger than Jolene was first led to believe. She becomes the first person to both physically and emotionally reach Jolene.Will Jolene and Max’s contract to wed turn into the love of a lifetime? Will Jolene learn to let go of the past and embrace what the future holds? You’ll have to read Contract to Wed to find out, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next book in this series to see what happens to the next Crawford bride.

  • Kai
    2019-07-06 15:32

    Contract to Wed is about Jolene Crawford Crenshaw, heiress and Boston socialite. She went from her home Landonmore upon her marriage to nothing when her husband has passed away. The only way for her to survive is to marry again and to leave Boston to begin anew.Wealthy Texas Rancher, Maximilian Shelby has made his fortune from the oil and cattles. He has shut himself off after his wife has passed away with the exception of his daughter. His daughter is growing up and will need a woman of good breeding to guide his daughter into society and to help him to become Senator of Texas.As the story continues, readers/listeners are going to discover how damage Jolene is by her manipulator of a mother. The first impression of Jolene is that she is not a likable character with her staff and friends. The only thing that her friends associated with her is that she has money. Jolene is cold and stand-offish with the people around her. When the readers/listeners discovered why Jolene the way she is, they will grow to love Jolene.Max wasn't expecting to be attracted to Jolene. At first it was a business arrangement but it soon become that Max wanted more from his business contract with Jolene. Max is patient when he discovered that one secret that Jolene has hidden from him. He allowed Jolene to figured out what she wanted.There are some things that the story has right and some things that the story has incorrectly. To start of with, the monetary of $50 million is so incorrect. If $50 million was what it is back in 1891, it would be worth trillions today. There were no millionaires back in 1891. The thing that the author has correctly is that man controls the wealth. Women were not allowed accessed to their wealth except through their husband and the allowances set up for them to spend monthly. Women are not allowed to have a bank account unless they have an attorney, father, or their fiance-soon-to-be-husband.What Jolene's husband did to her upon his death is just deplorable. She was the one who supported his career and made him as someone important. He did that just to spite Jolene after what he did to her when he was alive. The narrator, Meghan Kelly did an OK job with narrating the story. The only thing I didn't like was that Jolene sounds like Mae West. Jolene is supposed to be a Bostonian not someone from the Wild West. I had to overlooked it as a listener.I was given this audiobook by the author/narrator/publisher via Audiobook Blast in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated or influence in any way for writing this review.

  • Paula
    2019-07-19 08:56

    I am not familiar with this author, but thought I would give this book a try because of the great reviews and the story seemed intriguing. I enjoyed the basic premise of the story because I am a great fan of marriage of convenience. I felt that this was a decent book. I liked the hero and found the heroine materialistic, shallow and very rude. I think it needed good editing and at times it appears as if the story was disjointed, with thoughts, characters and ideas just appearing randomly in already ongoing thought. The author used new instead of knew (I found that inexcusable). There were some funny moments in the book that had me laughing out loud. I loved that camaraderie among the characters and the relationship between Max and his daughter. I would definitely read another book by this author.

  • Shannon Rose Lee
    2019-06-23 10:47

    I quite liked Jolene despite the fact that she started off as a rather unlikable character. She warmed and opened up as the story went on, which was nice to see. I felt Max was a little flat in terms of character. He didn't seem to have much personality outside of his desire for Jolene but I didn't particularly mind it. I wish there had been more mention of his previous wife because what is said is that she and Max had this great love and marriage, but he rarely mentions her when he speaks or in his internal monologue. All in all, I enjoyed the book. There could have been extra editing to round out the edges, as it often read as a First Draft. It was a pleasant enough read, but the lack of characterization and character progression for anyone other than Jolene forces me to give this book two stars.

  • Luccia Gray
    2019-06-27 10:32

    Historical marriage of convenience Jolene accepts a marriage of convenience to a widowed millionaire, Max and his daughter. She's very unpleasant and aloof to everyone at the hacienda, at first, but things gradually improve to the final hea. It was predictable, but a pleasant read.