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Based on the family from the bestselling Love in a Nutshell, the story of an heiress longing to marry for love or not at all... From The New York Times bestselling writing duo Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly, comes the story of a young woman's search for true love. Caroline Maxwell would like nothing more than to join her brother, Eddie, and his friend, Jack Culhane, on th Based on the family from the bestselling Love in a Nutshell, the story of an heiress longing to marry for love or not at all... From The New York Times bestselling writing duo Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly, comes the story of a young woman's search for true love. Caroline Maxwell would like nothing more than to join her brother, Eddie, and his friend, Jack Culhane, on their adventures. While Jack and Eddie are off seeing the world, buying up businesses and building wildly successful careers, Caroline's stuck at home frightening off the men her mother hopes will ask for her hand in marriage. When her mother sets her sights on the questionable Lord Bremerton as a possible suitor, Caroline struggles with her instincts and the true nature of her heart. She longs for adventure, passion, love, and most of all . . . Jack Culhane, an unconventional Irish-American bachelor with new money and no title. A completely unacceptable suitor in the eyes of Caroline's mother. But Caroline's dark hair, brilliant eyes and quick wit have Jack understanding just why it is people fall in love and get married. Set in New York City in 1894, The Husband List is an American gilded age romantic mystery. It evokes memories of the lavish lifestyles and social expectations of the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers―a time when new money from the Americas married Old World social prestige and privilege. Dresses by Worth, transcontinental ocean voyages, lavish parties, a little intrigue, and a lot of romance await in, The Husband List..


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Based on the family from the bestselling Love in a Nutshell, the story of an heiress longing to marry for love or not at all... From The New York Times bestselling writing duo Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly, comes the story of a young woman's search for true love. Caroline Maxwell would like nothing more than to join her brother, Eddie, and his friend, Jack Culhane, on th Based on the family from the bestselling Love in a Nutshell, the story of an heiress longing to marry for love or not at all... From The New York Times bestselling writing duo Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly, comes the story of a young woman's search for true love. Caroline Maxwell would like nothing more than to join her brother, Eddie, and his friend, Jack Culhane, on their adventures. While Jack and Eddie are off seeing the world, buying up businesses and building wildly successful careers, Caroline's stuck at home frightening off the men her mother hopes will ask for her hand in marriage. When her mother sets her sights on the questionable Lord Bremerton as a possible suitor, Caroline struggles with her instincts and the true nature of her heart. She longs for adventure, passion, love, and most of all . . . Jack Culhane, an unconventional Irish-American bachelor with new money and no title. A completely unacceptable suitor in the eyes of Caroline's mother. But Caroline's dark hair, brilliant eyes and quick wit have Jack understanding just why it is people fall in love and get married. Set in New York City in 1894, The Husband List is an American gilded age romantic mystery. It evokes memories of the lavish lifestyles and social expectations of the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers―a time when new money from the Americas married Old World social prestige and privilege. Dresses by Worth, transcontinental ocean voyages, lavish parties, a little intrigue, and a lot of romance await in, The Husband List..

30 review for The Husband List

  1. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Much better than Evanovich's usual stuff. As much as I've enjoyed her antics, Stephanie Plum is starting to wear a little thin. This is a nice change. Much better than Evanovich's usual stuff. As much as I've enjoyed her antics, Stephanie Plum is starting to wear a little thin. This is a nice change.

  2. 4 out of 5

    micki

    singularly unsatisfying on any level. well, maybe that's a bit harsh. it wasn't *terrible*, but it left me feeling cheated and felt unfinished. don't get me wrong, all was tied up in a neat little bow by the end, but i still felt like there should've been more to the story. at first i thought... hmmm... maybe i've read too many erotic romances so i can no longer appreciate a more restrained and conservative love story. but then i remembered i'm the biggest jane austen fan i know (and there is def singularly unsatisfying on any level. well, maybe that's a bit harsh. it wasn't *terrible*, but it left me feeling cheated and felt unfinished. don't get me wrong, all was tied up in a neat little bow by the end, but i still felt like there should've been more to the story. at first i thought... hmmm... maybe i've read too many erotic romances so i can no longer appreciate a more restrained and conservative love story. but then i remembered i'm the biggest jane austen fan i know (and there is definitely no S-E-X happening in austen-land (but there IS lots of longing and passion). i liked the hero and heroine in this story, but i feel like the authors barely scratched the surface of their story. i loved that caroline was honest, open and independent. no games. no silly "misunderstandings". both her and jack's attitudes were so refreshing i was sure i was in for a rousing good time as their love flowered--even without sex. sadly, i was wrong. i enjoyed what was there, but this book felt like an appetizer followed by... nothing. i'm still hungry. :-(

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cathleen

    Though my ratings reflect my personal opinion, I do try to ask myself, "who would like this and why?", especially if it isn't a book that was successful for me. It's been some time since I've read Evanovich, but I was curious about the genre change, and King can usually be relied on for a good listen. The only conclusion I can offer is that this book is for someone either who is looking for the lightest of escapism or who has a great deal of residual author goodwill built up (though I'm hearing f Though my ratings reflect my personal opinion, I do try to ask myself, "who would like this and why?", especially if it isn't a book that was successful for me. It's been some time since I've read Evanovich, but I was curious about the genre change, and King can usually be relied on for a good listen. The only conclusion I can offer is that this book is for someone either who is looking for the lightest of escapism or who has a great deal of residual author goodwill built up (though I'm hearing from several for whom even that isn't enough). There isn't any real chemistry between the characters, the setting is superficial window-dressing (the anachronisms -- oh, the anachronisms!), and there is a decided lack of substantial obstacles for the lovers to overcome. So, if you've disappointed historical fiction readers, romance readers, and those with tastes for story and/or light humor, who's left? The fact is that for many, a little diversion is all that is sought. As long as they know that's what they are getting, who am I to bring them down?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christina White

    This was a fun, light read. The writing was easy to follow and the story flowed very nicely. The authors were able to successfully transport me to another time and place without drowning the story in boring unnecessary details like most historical fictions books I have read. The characters were also very well developed and each one had their own voice in my head. The romance left something to be desired though. There was just no chemistry between the two main characters. I felt no butterflies, t This was a fun, light read. The writing was easy to follow and the story flowed very nicely. The authors were able to successfully transport me to another time and place without drowning the story in boring unnecessary details like most historical fictions books I have read. The characters were also very well developed and each one had their own voice in my head. The romance left something to be desired though. There was just no chemistry between the two main characters. I felt no butterflies, there was no swooning and I never felt invested in their relationship. This is one of those books where I think if ever made the big screen, the movie would be better than the book. Character Casting. Jack: Paul Rudd Caroline: Kiera Knightly

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marla

    A co-worker's mom read this first, thought it was 'meh'. My co-worker read it, also thought it was 'meh'. I started reading it and thought 'meh' was being too generous, it was terrible. Just, bad. I wish I could give half stars or negative stars. Basically nothing happens in the first 222 pages. It should have been title "What Life Was Like for American High Society in the Late 1800's", granted that's a bit long. =P Finally in the last 100 pages they tried to bring in a mystery, but it just can't A co-worker's mom read this first, thought it was 'meh'. My co-worker read it, also thought it was 'meh'. I started reading it and thought 'meh' was being too generous, it was terrible. Just, bad. I wish I could give half stars or negative stars. Basically nothing happens in the first 222 pages. It should have been title "What Life Was Like for American High Society in the Late 1800's", granted that's a bit long. =P Finally in the last 100 pages they tried to bring in a mystery, but it just can't be done in 100 pages. The first 200 pages should have been condensed into 100 pages and the last 100 stretched out to 200 pages. There were some possibilities in the last 100 pages that could have given the book a half-way decent plot. The one minor plus, it was so terrible it was laughable. I laughed at the book several times, shaking my head at how terrible it was. I told my other co-worker to not waste her time with it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a Humor/historical romance, and this is the second book in the Culhane Family Series. I found parts of this book funny, and I could not see these characters in a historical Fiction book, but instead I could see these characters in a women's fiction/chick-lit. I finally did not like the storyline or the historical fiction parts of this book. (*) This is a Humor/historical romance, and this is the second book in the Culhane Family Series. I found parts of this book funny, and I could not see these characters in a historical Fiction book, but instead I could see these characters in a women's fiction/chick-lit. I finally did not like the storyline or the historical fiction parts of this book. (*)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    The Husband List is not your typical Janet Evanovich novel. It is not set in the modern day with a sassy detective named Stephanie Plum caught in a love triangle. It is set in 1894 Gilded Age New York with a sassy heiress, Caroline Maxwell and a love triangle between the Irish-American man of her dreams Jack Culhane and the English Lord Bremerton. The Maxwell family is one of the premier American families during the Gilded Age on level with the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers. Caroline’s mother has The Husband List is not your typical Janet Evanovich novel. It is not set in the modern day with a sassy detective named Stephanie Plum caught in a love triangle. It is set in 1894 Gilded Age New York with a sassy heiress, Caroline Maxwell and a love triangle between the Irish-American man of her dreams Jack Culhane and the English Lord Bremerton. The Maxwell family is one of the premier American families during the Gilded Age on level with the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers. Caroline’s mother has her sights set on getting Caroline married into English nobility. Lord Bremerton is the heir to a Dukedom, and in need of funds that he can get from marrying a rich heiress. As Mrs. Maxwell orchestrates a match between Caroline and Lord Bremerton, Caroline longs for the freedom to marry for love, explore the world, or even to explore her intellectual pursuits. As she begins to develop feelings for her brother’s handsome friend, Jack Culhane, she also meets Lord Bremerton and realizes that he is a cold, calculating man with a dark secret. Will Caroline fulfill her family obligations, or will she be able to find her own happy ending? This book was the April pick for the FLICKS Book and Movie club. Sadly we were supposed to discuss it last night, but the meeting was cancelled due to freezing rain. I listened to this book on audiobook as that is where I seem to do the majority of my reading these days. It was read by my favorite audiobook narrator, Lorelei King. As usual, King did a superb job as a narrator for this novel. She has unique, fantastic voices for each of the characters, complete with accents. The witty writing and excellent narration lead to a few laugh out loud moments on my trips to and from work. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I love this time period in general and the characters were all fantastic, especially Caroline and Jack. The dialogue and witty play between the two as their feelings for each other grew was wonderful. Bremerton and Mrs. Maxwell were a bit one dimensional, but that added to their humor. If you are a fan of Downton Abbey and wonder about the life that Cora could have possibly lived, The Husband List is your answer. This review was originally published on my blog at: http://lauragerold.blogspot.com/2013/...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    All hail the queen of fluff, Janet Evanovich. Do you the reader like books with well-drawn, predictable characters, sparkling dialogue that has nothing to say, and an ending, though mildly satisfying, that you can see from page 20? Then I have the book for you, The Husband List by the prolific bestselling author Janet Evanovich. This is the printed version of a marshmallow peep, sweet, likable, and all air and sugar. I apologize to the very large fan base of Ms. Evanovich but she is just not for All hail the queen of fluff, Janet Evanovich. Do you the reader like books with well-drawn, predictable characters, sparkling dialogue that has nothing to say, and an ending, though mildly satisfying, that you can see from page 20? Then I have the book for you, The Husband List by the prolific bestselling author Janet Evanovich. This is the printed version of a marshmallow peep, sweet, likable, and all air and sugar. I apologize to the very large fan base of Ms. Evanovich but she is just not for me. I found the premise of a headstrong society heiress in 1894 New York with an overbearing mother and titled unwanted suitor irresistible even though I have never liked anything else by the author. I should have resisted. I did manage to finish the book so I didn’t loathe it but I could have spent my time reading something so much more worthwhile. Don’t get me wrong, I am no book elitist. I just like a different sort of book trash. Having said all that, many people will love The Husband List. Evanovich is a talented writer with a deft hand at plot development and likable characters, that is why she sells a bazillion books. Just not to me.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I love to read Janet Evanovich. She makes me laugh and always puts a happy spin on things. This book had lots of great things. I enjoyed the read, although I really was waiting for a description of the wedding as it happened. And maybe told how brilliantly Jack made money in his beer making ventures. AND, I really wanted to hear Bremerton get his dues, in detail. But none of that happened. You have to "imagine" it. I hate when they do that! I've got a great imagination and can dream up all kinds I love to read Janet Evanovich. She makes me laugh and always puts a happy spin on things. This book had lots of great things. I enjoyed the read, although I really was waiting for a description of the wedding as it happened. And maybe told how brilliantly Jack made money in his beer making ventures. AND, I really wanted to hear Bremerton get his dues, in detail. But none of that happened. You have to "imagine" it. I hate when they do that! I've got a great imagination and can dream up all kinds of endings. I don't want to to that. I want the answers because I bought the book and read it for someone else to tell me THEIR story. Oh well. I thought the mother a witch, with a BIG B! Talk about no brain. The woman had none. I did love the story of Jacks Da and Flora. And I would have enjoyed some story about Caroline's two sisters. They are there, but that's it. Their like flowers in the background. They could have had something to give them a reason to be in the book. Same with her brother. They are used like "props". I did love the descriptions of all the homes and the towns and the clothing. Wonderful detail there. Most authors skip over the background around them, but the background makes you feel like you are walking in the house with them. I would have given this a higher score, but can't get past all the above to do so.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gail Guetersloh

    I wish I could give it 0 stars. This is a formulaic romance that I'm pretty sure Evanovich just sells her name to the co-author. Just like trump sells his name, but doesn't own the businesses. The first of this series was better, but I'll never read another. I wish I could give it 0 stars. This is a formulaic romance that I'm pretty sure Evanovich just sells her name to the co-author. Just like trump sells his name, but doesn't own the businesses. The first of this series was better, but I'll never read another.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chelsey Wolford

    I recently started reading the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich and I must say that I have become a huge fan of her writing. I have not read her first novel, also co-written alongside Dorien Kelly, which released this time last year. That novel, Love in a Nutshell, features the same family that we read about in their new novel and allows us to dig deeper into the Culhane and Maxwell lines. This book follows the American heiress, Caroline Maxwell, as her mother purges her into the arms of I recently started reading the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich and I must say that I have become a huge fan of her writing. I have not read her first novel, also co-written alongside Dorien Kelly, which released this time last year. That novel, Love in a Nutshell, features the same family that we read about in their new novel and allows us to dig deeper into the Culhane and Maxwell lines. This book follows the American heiress, Caroline Maxwell, as her mother purges her into the arms of an unlikely suitor in order to guarantee a marriage for her daughter and a flourishing future for their family name. Caroline, however, wants no part of even the idea of marrying a man outside of loving him. Plus, she has her sights set on a much more down to earth man, and one in which her mother will never approve. This book was such an easy, breezy read. The writing style is perfect for me as it flows so easily and humor is incorporated within its pages. Even though this is classified as historical fiction, it feels as if it is a light contemporary novel. At times historical fiction can be filled with too many facts and tiny details that it will actually take away from the story line. This novel, however, allows readers to emerge in the times while appreciate the subtly of the action and narrative itself. This novel was definitely a page turner and the characters were easy to follow as well. Evanovich and Kelly incorporated many secondary characters and they were all very likeable. My favorite was possibly Harriet Vandermeulen, who unlike Caroline was glad to be planning a wedding without even the slightest proposal! Caroline Maxwell was a charming and humorous character. She had some of the best lines in the entire novel and an extremely humorous obsession for chocolate cake. She is the exact opposite of what someone might expect an American heiress to be and this is why I loved her. I can’t stand the mothers of young girls that poke and prude in their daughter’s affairs until they finally have them married off. This was exactly how Caroline’s mother, Agnes, was in the novel and it only made me root for Caroline that much more. I wanted Caroline to take a stand for herself against her bitter mother. Caroline’s relationship with Jack Culhane, her brother’s long-time best friend, was enough to set her mother over the edge and I loved every second of it. Plus, Jack was the perfect match for Caroline and the romance was not too much, but rather just enough! I would highly recommend anything by Janet Evanovich to any reader that I meet on the street. Dorien Kelly as an accompanying author in this novel is only an added bonus and adds to an already amazing writing style. This book was easy to read and easy to get lost in. I enjoyed every second of it and I know you all will too! ***A copy of this book was generously provided by the publishers at St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest and unbiased review***

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    This proved to be a bit of a disappointment as Evanovich and Kelly try to latch onto the popularity of Downton Abbey with their usual flair of humorous writing. Caroline Maxwell is from an extremely wealthy and influential family in the Gilded Age. They have a home in Newport, Rhode Island, and there is talk of her probably marrying a British noble. Unfortunately, she would like to find happiness in the possibility of a less traditional life. She would like to be involved in business like her br This proved to be a bit of a disappointment as Evanovich and Kelly try to latch onto the popularity of Downton Abbey with their usual flair of humorous writing. Caroline Maxwell is from an extremely wealthy and influential family in the Gilded Age. They have a home in Newport, Rhode Island, and there is talk of her probably marrying a British noble. Unfortunately, she would like to find happiness in the possibility of a less traditional life. She would like to be involved in business like her brother Eddie. Eddie's friend Jack Culhane is out to make it rich. He is not moneyed, but he has plans of building an economic empire through beer. He is investigating various brewhouses in Providence and the nearby areas with the hopes that he will be able to life up his father's immigrant poverty to being a real power player. Not surprisingly, Jack and Caroline find themselves falling madly in love, throwing a major kink into the marital plans Caroline's mother as for her. The book actually has all of the humor, quirkiness, and action that generally makes Evanovich's books successful. i have no doubt that a lot of her fans will really like this book. I am a fan, but I am also really into historical ficiton, and this book struggles quite a bit with historical accuracy. She really messes up with the geography of Newport. Even worse, the characters read like modern individuals rather than the gentry and immigrants of the Guilded Age. As a result, the book reads as being off for people with a stronger knowledge of the period. I didn't hate the book, but it does make me want to tell Evanovich that it is probably best for her to avoid historical fiction and focus on what she does great: humorous cozy mysteries with just a touch of romance.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anna's Herding Cats

    Reviewed for herding cats & burning soup. Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mvkKT5 The Story: Whew. The Husband List took me a little by surprise. I wasn't expecting a jump back 100+ years to the ancestors of hero #1 who was also a brewer. So there was a lot of adjustment early on. I never totally got in sync with the story and it dragged a bit I think because of that. I still had fun watching Caroline try to keep her brothers best friend Jack from knowing she was in love with him, though. The two were enter Reviewed for herding cats & burning soup. Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mvkKT5 The Story: Whew. The Husband List took me a little by surprise. I wasn't expecting a jump back 100+ years to the ancestors of hero #1 who was also a brewer. So there was a lot of adjustment early on. I never totally got in sync with the story and it dragged a bit I think because of that. I still had fun watching Caroline try to keep her brothers best friend Jack from knowing she was in love with him, though. The two were entertaining together and just nice characters. I especially loved the wild streak in Caroline. She was expected to be so proper and she could pull that off but then would sneak a little wild on the side when no one was looking. There was a bit of dark suspense concerning her mother's match making and the man she wanted Caroline to marry as well. The Narration: Again with Lorelei King. She's just fantastic, yall. The male voices. Excellent. I think she's the first female narrator that didn't give me even a little pause over the male voices. She does a great job of making the characters sound unique, too. Different ages and accents are all very nicely done.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I have read everything Janet Evanovich has ever written. This was very difficult to get through, because it was just plain boring. Nothing like her usual books, with quirky characters that make them fun reads. I actually put this book down twice and read other books in between because it couldn't keep my interest. Worst Evanovich book, yet. I have read everything Janet Evanovich has ever written. This was very difficult to get through, because it was just plain boring. Nothing like her usual books, with quirky characters that make them fun reads. I actually put this book down twice and read other books in between because it couldn't keep my interest. Worst Evanovich book, yet.

  15. 5 out of 5

    BarbaraW

    Great little read. Wonderful details of the upper class during that time period. Independent and wealthy gal doesn’t want to marry a stuffy English duke. Falls for an Irish American family friend who was not a suitable husband at turn of century for a young woman of her class. Unknown facts about the duke cause things to heat up but Mother knows best....

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    A quick read with fun, romance...lots of laughs.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    I didn't realize when I picked this up that it was historical fiction, but was pleasantly surprised with the content. It was romantic with a bit of sass and a little creepy drama. I didn't realize when I picked this up that it was historical fiction, but was pleasantly surprised with the content. It was romantic with a bit of sass and a little creepy drama.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Darinda

    An heiress wants to marry for love, but her family has a different plan. Caroline has fallen for Jack, but her parents insist she marry Lord Bremerton, who they feel is a better match. A quick and amusing historical romance.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Light historical romance read. Enjoyed the main character and her desire to marry for love and not a business arrangement that her parents have set up.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mrs Giggles

    Caroline Maxwell, an American heiress, is not a happy person. She loves, in that order, Jack Culhane and cake, both of which are denied to her by her mother. That harpy insists that Caroline marries a titled English bloke, after all, while Jack is half-Irish. The list in the title refers to the one Caroline's mother created for her, and Caroline is determined to ensure that she scares away everyone on that list. Of course, Jack is always nearby, but oh, Caroline is determined to marry for love an Caroline Maxwell, an American heiress, is not a happy person. She loves, in that order, Jack Culhane and cake, both of which are denied to her by her mother. That harpy insists that Caroline marries a titled English bloke, after all, while Jack is half-Irish. The list in the title refers to the one Caroline's mother created for her, and Caroline is determined to ensure that she scares away everyone on that list. Of course, Jack is always nearby, but oh, Caroline is determined to marry for love and she's not sure whether Jack can love her back, even if she really, really, really loves him and doesn't want anyone but him, so oh! This is simply the most complicated problem in the world and the poor dear must be feeling truly distraught by the whole thing. On the bright side, this is a historical romance set in the 1890s, so it's a groundbreaking effort of sorts by two authors whose previous works are set in contemporary times. Having said that, The Husband List is such a crudely unsophisticated effort that it is best used as an elementary reading material for people who are new to the romance genre. This book is practically a cliché list, with each cliché exaggerated to cartoon-like proportions that it is almost charming in its bumbling shambling. There's the obligatory "rich people are all SNOBS, except for our fabulously loaded main characters of course, and that's only because, despite our snobbery against rich people, we all acknowledge that romance is a hundred times less amazing if it isn't consummated on the promise of a huge bank account" nose-up-in-the-air attitude displayed by Jack and Caroline. Caroline hates her lot! She wants to run wild and free with Jack! She hates dressing up and she hates being nice to people who aren't Jack! But that's okay, her anti-social nature, because those people she snubs deserve it for being caricatures of self-important rich tossers or English (those two are interchangeable here). The good secondary characters are usually middle or lower class folks, the better to preen beside our main characters to tell us, "See? Caroline and Jack lower themselves to be nice to us, AREN'T THEY WONDERFUL?" Jack detests the snobs too, although he doesn't mind Caroline because she shares his blanket attitude that money is ghastly if it doesn't belong to him. After a while, I really wish someone can just pauper these two and make them bag cabbages for a living. Let's see how happy they will be after a few days of being "free from the gilded cage". Honestly, I may be less irritated by the constant reminder of how unworthy everyone that doesn't agree with our hero and heroine is, if the authors had portrayed these characters' snobbery in a more realistic, or at the very least, somewhat mature manner. As it is, these two basically stomp their feet and say that everyone else sucks because they say so, so there. The other elements of the story are exaggerated to an obnoxious degree too. Caroline's mother is a cartoon character, and not once does anybody acknowledge that she may be right to want her daughter to marry into security and financial stability. No, it's either you root for true love or you kiss the main characters' boot. The villain is so over the top that, coupled to Caroline's annoying passive nature in this story despite her various temper tantrums, make that whole subplot look like a Looney Tunes cartoon. Jack and Caroline have an equally shallow romantic conflict that is mostly based on wrong assumptions. If I was reading romance novels for the first time, I may find this one more palatable. With me being who and what I am, however, I find the exaggerated one-dimensional over the top portrayal of practically everything in this story more perplexing than anything else. The Husband List is like a very young adult story with some sex scenes thrown in to let readers imagine that they are reading grown-up material.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brooke Banks

    I won this book in a First Reads Giveaway and am really glad I did. I loved it or at least really, really liked it. There are a few minor things that I wish was more flushed out, more brought out but it was such an enjoyable, quick, funny read. The story line isn't new or shocking or original. It was pretty standard fair but I thought it was well done and there's nothing wrong with liking this kind of story. The titled Husband list is mentioned only a few times and I thought the book would take I won this book in a First Reads Giveaway and am really glad I did. I loved it or at least really, really liked it. There are a few minor things that I wish was more flushed out, more brought out but it was such an enjoyable, quick, funny read. The story line isn't new or shocking or original. It was pretty standard fair but I thought it was well done and there's nothing wrong with liking this kind of story. The titled Husband list is mentioned only a few times and I thought the book would take a different track due to the title. I actually liked how the romance wasn't peddle to the metal like in typical romances. I felt the connection between the two and loved seeing it blossom. I found it sweet. Maybe this cynic has a soft spot after all. I must admit though I loved Jack's response to Romeo & Juliet. I think it did the historical time very well and I think that shows from the romance, the clothes, the attitudes. It wasn't bogged down in a lot of information regarding the times or anything. It was mostly little things that kept it real for me like the ridiculous claim of having a Cherokee princess as a great grandmother. That's inline with the time and reasoning given behind these claims. Of course, that claim is still around passed down from generation to generation but anyone who does research knows that it's wrong. The story kept it pretty tight to what was needed for what was included in the story and left it as that. It was wonderful diving in and seeing how this outspoken woman would be in the time. I found Caroline very funny and witty and liked her very much. Caroline does have the spoiled rich girl syndrome but let's face it, most of the characters do. Caroline does admit to feeling selfish and bad about it. The ending made her appreciate things and drove the point home to her. The ending and the mystery was a bit of a let down. I wish it was more thorough, and well, just more. The mystery was minor and the ending felt rushed. It was merely pages to wrap it all up and it really would have benefited from taking more time on it. Honestly, I was expecting more from our bad guy here as well. It felt so lame. It didn't match up to how great the story was going. All in all though, I still enjoyed it. If there's another book about the sisters, I'd probably pick it up. (Though if there's another book and they don't go into detail about what happened in this ending, it will be disappointing.) I can see it going bestseller but the ending knocks it down from great to good. I think this would be a great book for those who like historical romance though I don't think it's a proper bodice ripper. It's really a short, easy beach kind of read. FYI : Admittedly, I loved Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series until she dragged out the love triangle, didn't progress Stephanie's character and the plots were just..ugh. So I give low marks to the later books and wished Janet had given the series a proper ending and kept up the standards. I've never read her other work and am tentative about her work due to the let down of Stephanie Plum. I've never read a Dorien Kelly book. I'm not big in the historical romantic genre but I like exploring and delving into a bunch of different genres. I also haven't read the book Love In A Nutshell where the family first appeared. (Though after reading this book I am interested in reading it. ) So my context is reading it as a stand alone novel.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Davie

    An historical romance set in 1894 Newport Beach at a time when the poor lords of England were hunting the rich American heiresses. My Take This is not what I was expecting from an Evanovich tale. It was too bland, too banal, too over the top. Sure, there was some humor in it, but it was somewhat heavyhanded, especially with the women's suffragette message thumping throughout and the evil Snidley Whiplash villain. No, I don't object to the message. Not at all. I'm all for the cake-loving Caroline t An historical romance set in 1894 Newport Beach at a time when the poor lords of England were hunting the rich American heiresses. My Take This is not what I was expecting from an Evanovich tale. It was too bland, too banal, too over the top. Sure, there was some humor in it, but it was somewhat heavyhanded, especially with the women's suffragette message thumping throughout and the evil Snidley Whiplash villain. No, I don't object to the message. Not at all. I'm all for the cake-loving Caroline to get her way. I simply expected much more of Evanovich. Most of the story was based in Newport Beach, providing the background, setting up the character conflicts, bracing us for the melodramatic reveal in England. Light, fluffy, yawn. It was sweet how very much Caroline envied Jack's ability to travel and explore. Makes you want them to be able to marry. I did like Caroline's intelligence and determination---must have gotten that one from her mama. The Story A lightweight romance about the poor beset heiress who simply wants her independence and the singleminded mother who wants her daughter to marry a duke's heir whom even the duke doesn't want to inherit. Caroline much prefers an upstart Irishman who buys up breweries. The Characters Caroline Maxwell knows what she wants---chocolate cake and Jack. Her two sisters---Amelia and Helen---are unable to lie to their determined Mama, Agnes Maxwell. A lady who is determined that Caroline will marry a title. Annie is Caroline's new, complicit maid; Miss Peek-Jacobs is the martinet Mrs. Maxwell hires to force feed Debrett's Peerage into Caroline. Bertha is mama's maid. Bernard Maxwell is her indulgent father. Jack Culhane has expanded on his Irish father's efforts, and now Jack concentrates on buying up breweries. He'll do anything it takes to get the ones he wants. He's best friends with Eddie Maxwell, Caroline's brother. O'Toole is his valet. His dad is Patrick, who realizes what a mistake he made. Flora Willoughby is an old flame of his father's, who preferred to tread the boards. "Gustav Muller is Jack's brewmaster from Liberty Brewery in Philadelphia." Heinrich Krantz is the latest brewer whom Jack intends to conquer. Friends of Jack and Eddie's include Charles Vandermeulen, Robert Conable, and Harold VanAndel. Mildred Longhorne is a bosom friend of Mama's. Harriet Vandermeulen is the very determined friend of Caroline's with a very unrealistic goal. Lord Bremerton, Marcus, is the heir of the Duke of Endsleigh. He'll be perfect. Mrs. Parker is the housekeeper at Bremerton's country house, Chesley House; Cora is the sole maid married to Jamie; Lady Carew is a relative of Bremerton's and rather dotty; and, Adele is Bremerton's first wife. The Cover The cover has a brilliant glossy white background encircled with frilly golden curlicues. The authors' names are prominent and you can almost find the title in all those lines. The title is very accurate as mama has The Husband List of who is acceptable.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Peer

    I enjoyed this book and the dynamics between Jack and Caroline. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction but the weaving of the clothing and mindset of the time was well done. I want to read more of the Culhane series now and am in search of the next one.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Patrice

    I chose this book mainly because I like previous stories by Janet Evanovich that I have read or listened to on audio book. I was quite happily surprised when I picked this book up from my library and read the inside jacket cover, to find that it was a historical romance. This story is about Caroline Maxwell, an American heiress. She is the eldest of three daughters to Agnes and Bernard Maxwell. Caroline longs for travel and adventure, not a husband but, that is all her mother can think of. H I chose this book mainly because I like previous stories by Janet Evanovich that I have read or listened to on audio book. I was quite happily surprised when I picked this book up from my library and read the inside jacket cover, to find that it was a historical romance. This story is about Caroline Maxwell, an American heiress. She is the eldest of three daughters to Agnes and Bernard Maxwell. Caroline longs for travel and adventure, not a husband but, that is all her mother can think of. Her mother has created the husband list for her. Caroline is 21 and well past the first blush of a young debutante. Her mother is determined to see her married by year-end. Caroline has eyes only for her brother, Eddie’s best friend, Jack Culhane. Jack is a first generation Irish-American, an unsuitable match for Caroline, according to her mother. So Caroline says nothing and tries to scare off the men her mother introduces her to by being the intelligent, sharp-witted, forthright person she is. Jack Culhane is well-off, although not nearly as rich as the Maxwell’s, and buying breweries in the Eastern U.S. Beer is his passion and he is looking for the next one to add to his growing business. He laughs at Caroline’s aversion to the “marriage mart” and figures that there really isn’t anything unusual about her mother wanting to see her married and settled. Until, another young American heiress sets her sights on Jack, then it isn’t as humorous as he first thought. Then when a Lord arrives from England looking to marry an heiress, Agnes Maxwell has decided that he will suit her plans to a “T”. Jack doesn’t like the thought of Caroline married to the Englishman. Then Caroline kisses Jack outside the museum and his thoughts start going in a different direction. I don’t want to give a complete summary of the story here, so I will just say that Caroline is feisty when she needs to be and an obedient daughter when she has to be. I love her strength of character without breaking the mold of how we would expect a young woman in 1894 to behave. There is also a bit of intrigue surrounding English Lord Bremerton and Caroline can tell that he is not all that he pretends to be. So, if you like romances that have are historical, albeit ever so slightly, this should be a delightful story to read. Enjoy!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Keri

    2 STARS - IT WAS OK AUDIOBOOK I decided to give this book a try because I just recently read my first Janet Evanovich book, Love in a Nutshell, and I really liked it. This one, not nearly as much. This is a historical romance, and I read a lot of historical romances, so I think I've become a bit of a snob in this genre. Historical romances have the potential to be such fantastic stories, but most times the authors just fall into what I like to think of as the HR format. In the HR format there must 2 STARS - IT WAS OK AUDIOBOOK I decided to give this book a try because I just recently read my first Janet Evanovich book, Love in a Nutshell, and I really liked it. This one, not nearly as much. This is a historical romance, and I read a lot of historical romances, so I think I've become a bit of a snob in this genre. Historical romances have the potential to be such fantastic stories, but most times the authors just fall into what I like to think of as the HR format. In the HR format there must be: *an oh so innocent girl *a man who knows his way around the female body (if not a complete manwhore) *at least one of them is adamant about avoiding marriage *very convenient situations that keep bringing the two together *a villian that is out to spoil the innocent girl *the innocent girl and the manwhore are drawn to each other as he works to seduce her *she just keeps feeling this strange thing builing up in her body but she has no idea what it is *there is a terribly frightening situation where the villian is about to get his way *the manwhore rushes to the rescue and makes it just in time *the girl and the manwhore realize they should be together *they live happily ever after Every once in a while I come across a really exciting HR, one that feels fresh and different. However, that is rare. Most of the time the books are enjoyable enough but nothing that stands out. This book definitely follows the HR format but it was also very simplistic on top of it all making for a dull read. I shouldn't say this book was dull, it was ok. It had likable characters, but it was just too cutesy. Too easy. Too predictable. Too TV-14. The drama was very mild, the villan was very mild, the relationship buildup was very mild, the sexy scenes... well there were maybe two but they were very mild. So I guess what I'm saying is is that this book was too mild for me. It wasn't bad but it wasn't anything that stood out. This author is very popular, and I did enjoy her contemporary Love in a Nutshell, so maybe it's just the HR stuff by this author that I should steer clear of. I am still willing to give this author another try.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I really liked this story. It was a fun, light read. Caroline Maxwell was my favorite type of female protagonist: smart, witty, and with a mind of her own. Jack Culhane was pretty great, too: also smart, witty, and willing to fight for what he wanted. I was really loving the story for the first 200+ pages: I loved Caroline and Jack together, and really despised Lord Bremerton. I had hoped Caroline and Jack would end up together ((view spoiler)[They did. :-) (hide spoiler)] ) and feared that Lord I really liked this story. It was a fun, light read. Caroline Maxwell was my favorite type of female protagonist: smart, witty, and with a mind of her own. Jack Culhane was pretty great, too: also smart, witty, and willing to fight for what he wanted. I was really loving the story for the first 200+ pages: I loved Caroline and Jack together, and really despised Lord Bremerton. I had hoped Caroline and Jack would end up together ((view spoiler)[They did. :-) (hide spoiler)] ) and feared that Lord Bremerton would attempt or cause some harm to Caroline ((view spoiler)[Beyond a few threats, he didn't. (hide spoiler)] ) I think I started to feel dissatisfied with the story when reading the dialogue sections that included Jack's Da. Patrick Culhane was Irish, and supposedly had an accent. Unfortunately, it bothered me that I couldn't detect the Irish in his speech. Somewhere in the last 50 or so pages, I actually had the unfortunate thought that "if Nora Roberts had written of Patrick Culhane, I would not have had a doubt that he was Irish." This realization was enough to sort of ruin the story for me, though I still liked Caroline and Jack and hoped they'd end up together. But then the end... What can I say about the end? It was not very exciting. (view spoiler)[Caroline's mother left her at Bremerton's house while she returned to London per Caroline's father's summons. Bremerton had a chance to try and force Caroline into a situation where she'd be compelled to marry him. And then all he did was go to her room. Caroline pulled her gun on him. Jack arrived, punched him, and tied him up. Caroline's mother finally saw that Bremerton was not who she thought he was and changed her mind about Jack. Jack and Caroline were allowed to get engaged with her parents' blessing. (hide spoiler)] I know I've written this spoiler in a pretty bare-bones "blah-blah-blah" fashion. Hopefully, if you read it, you can see how this ending left me feeling flat. I really liked this story, and the events were all tied up by the end, but I wish there had been more. (But what that "more" could have been, I don't really know.) So four stars it is.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Silvestrini

    LOVED it! First of all, in audio books, the reader can make or break them for me. Luckily in The Husband List, the reader actually made the story seem more real and I was able to get lost in it in a way I typically can’t with audio books. I didn’t find myself tuning out at all which is a testament to a great audio book! She really did justice to Evanovich and Kelly and brought their story to life. Taking place in the late 1800’s we see a lot of class prejudice, tradition and the importance of fol LOVED it! First of all, in audio books, the reader can make or break them for me. Luckily in The Husband List, the reader actually made the story seem more real and I was able to get lost in it in a way I typically can’t with audio books. I didn’t find myself tuning out at all which is a testament to a great audio book! She really did justice to Evanovich and Kelly and brought their story to life. Taking place in the late 1800’s we see a lot of class prejudice, tradition and the importance of following the rules. The things that our society tolerates now were unheard of back then. There were certain standards to live by and those that didn’t live up to them would certainly pay the price. Caroline Maxwell is in high society and is expected to marry someone who will bring her family more wealth and prestige. The goal is to marry up, not equal and never down! Her mother has quite a lot of influence in this area and is pressuring her to marry Lord Bremerton (title is important too) who is at the top of The Husband List, Caroline has an extreme dislike of him and wants nothing to do with him. She has her eye on her brother’s best friend Jack Culhane but it would never be accepted for them to be together because of his lower class. Their forbidden love cannot be discovered or there will be dire consequences. This is the classic story of love versus money and how much influence ones family has over such a monumental decision that these days fall to the bride and groom alone (at least in our country). I found myself rooting for Caroline and praying she would not give in to the pressure to marry without love. What decision do you think she made? You’ll have to read it (or listen to it) to find out! The Husband List is an entertaining romance focusing on diversity among social classes and the prejudices and assumptions that are made about those that are different. I loved the easy style of writing that flowed along so smoothly I drifted away to the 1800’s whenever I got in the car and listened. It was original and insightful and touched on important issues while maintaining a light hearted romance and I enjoyed every moment!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Goodreads ARC first reads, As sweet as Caroline's beloved chocolate cake, and just as easy to devour. The Husband List focuses on the adventures of American heiress Caroline Maxwell and her mothers desperate attempts to marry her off to an English (almost) Duke. This is much to the chagrin of the free thinking, and rebellious (by Victorian standards) Caroline. Pros: I found the whole thing extremely well written. Having never read any of Evanovitch's previous work, or particularly having an inte Goodreads ARC first reads, As sweet as Caroline's beloved chocolate cake, and just as easy to devour. The Husband List focuses on the adventures of American heiress Caroline Maxwell and her mothers desperate attempts to marry her off to an English (almost) Duke. This is much to the chagrin of the free thinking, and rebellious (by Victorian standards) Caroline. Pros: I found the whole thing extremely well written. Having never read any of Evanovitch's previous work, or particularly having an interest in doing so, I was slightly hesitant, but this dabble into historical romance was wonderful. I was immediately enamoured with the characters and the lavish world in which they lived. Now this isn't necessarily a pro for everyone but, I'm a bit of a .... prude, I supposed that's an appropriate word. This novel was extremely romantic and did have sensual (perhaps you could call them sexual) situations but none of them were overt or "erotic", they were appropriate to the characters and the time period in which they lived and for a change of pace in recent romantic lit these scenes were very tastefully done. Cons:I'm going to attempt to do this without spoilers but be warned that small hints may be here even if not outright spoilers. There wasn't much of a climax involved at the end and I almost felt like Mrs. Agnes Maxwell gave up a little to easily especially considering her aversion to Jack. The climax of the novel lasted all of two pages and we were left with three pages to wrap things up. All of this being said, perhaps that's just me wanting the novel to last longer and therefore it should be filed in the pros bracket.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kati

    Caroline Maxwell's mother has been prepping her daughter for years to make a good marriage and even has a list of suitable husbands. Unfortunately, Caroline is already in love with someone else and finds the gentleman at the top of her mother's husband list to be most unsuitable -- she also thinks he's hiding something. Can she stall the proposal and wedding planning long enough to find out what he's hiding, and get her mother to agree to let her marry the man she truly loves? You'll have to rea Caroline Maxwell's mother has been prepping her daughter for years to make a good marriage and even has a list of suitable husbands. Unfortunately, Caroline is already in love with someone else and finds the gentleman at the top of her mother's husband list to be most unsuitable -- she also thinks he's hiding something. Can she stall the proposal and wedding planning long enough to find out what he's hiding, and get her mother to agree to let her marry the man she truly loves? You'll have to read Evanovich's "The Husband List" to find out. This book is definitely different than Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. I will admit to having started the first book in that series a few years back, but put it down about 1/2 way through. It wasn't my cup of tea ... I didn't even consider this one based on that previous experience with this author until someone brought it to my attention again, and after looking into it further, I realized it wasn't along the same lines as the other book, so I gave it a shot, and I'm very glad I did. I listened to this on audio on my commute to and from work -- there were times I wished I had further to drive as I was anxious to find out what was going to happen next in Caroline's story. It's a romance to be sure -- so reader's who have not read Evanovich in the past because they aren't into mystery fiction may want to give this one a try.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maya

    I was very fortune to get this book from goodreads first read. Caroline is an independent young woman who wants to marry for love but it's being forced by her mother to marry an English Lord. She is what they considered a bluestocking, preferring to go to museums and lectures than husband hunt. Jack is an Irish/American with new money and beneath Caroline's mother husband list. He is Eddie's friend who is Caroline's brother. Lord Bremerton has a secret past that makes him an unsuitable husband but I was very fortune to get this book from goodreads first read. Caroline is an independent young woman who wants to marry for love but it's being forced by her mother to marry an English Lord. She is what they considered a bluestocking, preferring to go to museums and lectures than husband hunt. Jack is an Irish/American with new money and beneath Caroline's mother husband list. He is Eddie's friend who is Caroline's brother. Lord Bremerton has a secret past that makes him an unsuitable husband but Caroline's mother refuses to see what is in front of her. Not to mention he makes Caroline's hair stand on end. You will come to despise Caroline's mother as much as me, she pushes Caroline to a future she does not want and is blind to everything else. Many times I thought Caroline had a "poor little rich girl" woes going on until Flora told her that is better being rich than poor and leaving her family behind is a very last resort. The most amusing part of the story was Harriet. She tried the whole book to marry Jack, even start planning the weeding. I read this book from start to finish in one day. I only wished it had more naughty parts, it has no sexual content apart from kissing.

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