An Amazing Transformation! Contract to Wed by Holly Bush

Posted March 13, 2015 by Jonetta in Book Review | | 2 Comments

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

An Amazing Transformation! Contract to Wed by Holly BushContract to Wed by Holly Bush
Series: Crawford Family #2
Published by Self Published on February 5, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 180
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Goodreads

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 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?


icon TEAR JERKER icon ROMANCE icon historical
I 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 summary

At 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 Jolene

Jolene 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 loved

I 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 line

This 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.

About Holly Bush

Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states, booked two years out. Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject.

Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800’s. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer’s group. She is always a member of Romance Writers of America.

Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, and was the vice-president of her local library board for years. She loves to spend time near the ocean and is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more than a few years her junior.

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I LOVE reading and am just crazy about so many series and writers. I’m open to exploring new authors and genres and appreciate those who not only write well but can deliciously craft a character and a tale. Your suggestions for new authors and titles are very much welcomed.

I also love to talk about books. There’s nothing more exciting than to finish a great story and cover it A to Z with other people, exploring different perspectives and points of view. So, if you see something on my shelf you’d like to talk about, send me a message and we’ll talk!

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