Forced to wed to keep her inheritance, independent Lady Jocelyn Kendal finds an outrageous solution: she proposes marriage to Major David Lancaster, an officer dying from his Waterloo wounds. In return for making her his wife, she will provide for his governess sister. But after the bargain is struck and the marriage is made, the major makes a shocking, miraculous recovery. Though they agree to an annulment, such matters take time...time enough for David to realize he is irrevocably in love with his wife. Haunted by her past, Jocelyn refuses to trust the desire David ignites in her. She never counted on a real husband, least of all one who would entice her to be a real wife. But some bargains are made to be broken - and his skilled courtship is impossible to resist....
©All Mary Jo Putney (P)All Mary Jo Putney
So many books, so little time...
I like this story and I've enjoyed other titles by this author, but I won't be listening to Emma Newman again, I'm afraid. Her performance is flat and emotionless and there is practically zero differentiation between the characters (the men and women basically sound the same, apart from the few characters to whom Ms Newman gives dodgy regional accents) and there is no difference between narration and dialogue.
Sorry, but no, for the reasons I've given above.
Audible - if you want to cut down on the number of returns you receive because of poor narration, you really need to start thinking hard about the way you select samples for this site, and stop just running it through a computer programme which just gives us the first few minutes. We need to hear a selection of character voices (hero and heroine especially if it's a romance), which are rarely found within the first few pages of any book.
"A Classic Worth Your Time"
I read this book some years ago and was glad to see it on Audible. Just the idea of marrying a dying soldier for convenience sake is filled with all sorts of delicious conflict for an upstanding young gentlewoman, and Ms. Putney didn''t miss any of them.
I am so happy to have this in my audio library and look forward to more by the same author coming available.
Will I listen to this again? Absolutely Yes.
"Wonderful story and exceptional narration"
A combination of the wonderful narration and the story itself. I am not always a huge fan of historical romances, because some authors get so caught up in describing historical facts that it detracts from the story itself. And in some romance novels, the authors sometimes try so hard to develop conflict between the characters that it becomes tiresome. You pretty much know that the characters are going to eventually get together, and a little friction is good - but when page after page after page is so full of the conflict it wears me down. Mary Jo put just the right amount of tension in this book. Plus, she didn't make it seem like a history lesson. There was enough detail of the era to make it interesting and to make the reader understand the period, but it didn't detract from the story. The characters were very well developed and I was drawn into their lives. I was very satisfied with the outcome at the end of the book, which makes me want to read more from this author.
I don't read a lot of historical romances, but I would probably compare The Bargain to Julie Garwood's novels set in Scotland and her Clayborn western series. Both authors did a great job of creating characters that draw the reader into their lives and make you want the best for them. Both authors also, while providing the historical information you need to understand the era where the story takes place, do not let the details bog down the story.
Emma Newman was amazing. I have a great respect for voice artists - I think their skills are often underrated. A good performance can make the characters come to life and do justice to the author and the story. However, a bad performance can make even a good book difficult to listen to. I have over 60 audio books, and I would put Emma's performance in the top 3. Her voice is beautiful and she performed the different characters in a way that you could tell who was talking simply by the voice she used, and she was able to perform both male and female voices without having the males sound odd. Some narrators try too hard and it can be distracting. I would definitely listen to more books that she narrates.
There were many pivotal moments in the story, but a particular moment doesn't readily come to mind.
Because of vision issues, I cannot read paper books, so I buy Kindle books so I can increase the font on my Kindle and on my computer. However, I am trying to get as many audio books as I can. Not only because of my vision issues but also because I can listen to audio books when I don't have time to sit down and read. I usually have one audio book in progress in my car and one in the house. I had "The Bargain" in my car, but was tempted on several occasions to bring it into the house because I was so caught up in the story. I would definitely recommend this book.
"Worth the time and credit"
Setting: London, 1815
Narration wasn't the worst I've ever heard, and it didn't 't detract from the story.
This is a lovely book. Lady Jocelyn comes across as a bit hard-edged, but her softer side and her vulnerabilities are shown over the course of the story. Major David Lancaster doesn't seem to have any hardness at all, so the only change/growth is the love he develops for Jocelyn. She, however, is madly in love with a Duke who has been raking his way through the bedrooms of every willing widow and discontented wife in the ton for his entire adulthood. He is not the marrying kind. His interest in Jocelyn comes forth only after she arranges the marriage of convenience with Major Lancaster. The conflicts of the story are David's health and Jocelyn's devotion for another man. There is a subplot, which is David's sister's animosity toward Jocelyn and a developing love interest of her own.
"The Bargain" is a sweet, unusual story, and one I could not stop listening to. I did not read the original version published in 1989 as "The Would-Be Widow", but I certainly enjoyed this revamped version.
The strong willed heroine, Lady Jocelyn Kendal, has deeply buried emotional issues, which effects her decision making. So, when she is faced with having to marry before her twenty-fifth birthday or lose her inheritance to her uncle and wicked aunt-by-marriage, according to her father's will, she is at a loss as to what to do. She refuses to marry without a love match, and she has only been interested in one man, the Duke of Candover, despite the many men who have tried to woo her. Although she thinks he has feelings for her, she knows she can not convince him to marry her in the 4 weeks before her birthday, besides he has never seemed interested in commitment.
While visiting a friend recuperating at the Military Hospital she realizes she may have come across the answer to her prayers. Major David Lancaster has been fatally wounded and is not expected to live. He is not afraid to die, but is worried about his unmarried sister's well being and future. So when Jocelyn learns of this she sees an opportunity that she simply can't pass up.
I enjoyed Emma Newman's narration, although soft spoken she did well defining the different characters.
I recommend "The Bargain" to all Historical Romance lovers.
"Terrific narration of an exciting Regency romance"
I listen to such a wide variety of audiobooks across so many different genres, it would be difficult for me to attempt to make that kind of ranking because I would be comparing not just apples to oranges, but bananas and peaches and pears.
I enjoyed the entire course of this highly entertaining "marriage of convenience" plot. The heroine is strong and dynamic, and the hero is intelligent, compassionate, and both physically and ethically strong.
For a novel to work well as an audiobook, two factors are essential: (1) It must be exceptionally well written in order to thrive beneath the intense scrutiny of being read out loud at a quarter of the speed it would take a reader to read the book silently to herself. The Bargain definitely passes that test. (2) The narrator must be a very good performer, able to convincingly portray every kind of character, from old to young, male or female, and often different nationalities. Ms. Newman is a fine performer able to deliver these dramatic necessities really well.
A beautiful aristocrat must wed by her 25th birthday in order to inherit a fortune under the terms of her father's will. With the deadline only days away, in desperation, she makes a mad marriage bargain with an impoverished officer dying of wounds from the Battle of Waterloo, but her presumed immediate widowhood becomes instead a marriage in fact when her convenient husband inconveniently recovers.
I was delighted to discover this recording, which offers me the opportunity to enjoy one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors in the form of an excellent audiobook.
"A great listen"
So many historical romance novels (or romance novels in general) have terrible villains that at the least are dishonorable and vulgar, and at the most have the intention to commit murder or some other offensive crime. This creates conflict needed for a plot, but is also repetitive and uncreative. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to like all of the main characters in this book. The conflict comes from their backgrounds and how their circumstances intertwine themselves, and I greatly appreciated it. My only complaint with the book was that I thought David forgave a bit too easily in the end, but overall it was a good listen and good story. I will definitely check out more of Putney’s books in the future.
"Interesting story, poor naration."
Whilst the story line was quite interesting, the narrator just lacked the ability to give this listening experience its full potential. The engrained British class system so epitomised by voice, appeared beyond this narrators range.
"Not all I bargained for!"
I remembered liking this book when I read it years ago but unfortunately, the audio book just wasn't very captivating. The narrator was kind of annoying as was the heroine of the story. The premise of the story was interesting but it couldn't overcome the other difficulties that hold this one back. Not horrible but not great either.
"romance with a difference"
No. I felt that reading this book would be preferable. The narrator was good but not suited to this book.
This is a good historical romance and is well written. It is slightly more detailed a story to the normal romance but enjoyable.
I have listened to other books narrated by Emma Newman and enjoyed them much more than this one.
A good romance that is well written. The story of the soldier on his death bed and the beauty is lovely and slow. The romance blooms between them with a few hitches and lots of love. It has a good ending.
"Not much going on here"
More plot, more action
Something more than two people falling in love needs to happen.
I have not but the narration was good -not at all the problem.
Boredom and frustration.
If all you need from a romance is two people falling in love, you will enjoy this book. If you need action, surprises, originality, this is not the story for you.
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