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The Bartered Bride [Mass Market Paperback]

Mary Jo Putney
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: £5.99
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Book Description

29 Jun 2004
After building a fortune in the exotic East, American adventurer and merchant prince Gavin Elliott sets his sails for London to begin a new life. Then fate intervenes on an infamous island in the East Indies where a European woman faces degradation and peril. Though saving her may cost Gavin his life, he cannot refuse to help the fierce beauty who touches his heart and soul with her indomitable spirit.

Alexandra Warren is returning home from Australia as a widow and mother when a pirate attack condemns her to a life of servitude. A miracle arrives in the form of a steely-eyed Yankee captain, whose reckless courage wins them freedom and a safe passage home to London. Intimate strangers joined by too many secrets, they slowly begin to heal the past with attraction and tenderness—until an old enemy reaches out to threaten the passionate love Gavin has found with his irresistible bartered bride.

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; 1st Mass Market Ed edition (29 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449003167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449003169
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.9 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable 17 July 2013
By Jangler
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book very much. The characters were well drawn and the storyline was interesting. Will definitely put it in my favourites and enjoy reading it again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Books, my favoutite passtime 27 Mar 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book arrived quickly, in excellent condition and was soon not only read, but re read! I thouroughly enjoyed the whole procedure! :-)
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bartered Bride 3 Jun 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I thought this was not one of Mary Jo Putney's best efforts. While the theme of the stoty was unusual, the storyline became monotonous. Make no mistake, I am one of Ms. Putney's fans and have enjoyed her other books thoroughly...this one though, I found lacking her special touch.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good parts, but overall, it needs some work. 1 Mar 2007
By Rebecca Huston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I like books that start off with a bit of a bang. This one certainly does.

In the Tower of London, an adventurer is awaiting trial for the murder of his wife, whom he loves quite dearly. For Gavin Elliot life on the seas and dry land has been a long series of hairbreadth escapes, and winning the love of not one, but two women. Now he's lost everything.

We get the heroine, the blond and beautiful Alexandra Warren in the middle of a pirate attack in the East Indies. Recently widowed, and with her young daughter, Katie, in tow, she's seeking to return to England and her family. But captured by pirates from a close by island, not only is she separated from her beloved daughter, she is subjected to a life of horrors.

Noted romance author Mary Jo Putney gives us another entry in her "Bride" series, with the title in this one coming from the events surrounding Alex's captivity by the decadent Sultan Kasan. The Sultan offers Elliot a choice -- to rescue Alex he must win at the challenges of the Lion's Game, or help the sultan build a merchanting empire. The fact that the sultan uses piracy to terrorize local shipping is a little matter here as well -- and Elliot has pressing business in England over a touch of revenge. How he manages to outwit the Sultan and rescue Alex and her daughter makes for one of the more entertaining sections of the novel.

Returning to England, our two main characters have managed to make a marriage of convenience, but further troubles await in persistant would-be lovers, a pack of in-laws (mostly characters from previous Putney novels that I found to be distracting), and that murder charge that the novel opened with. While I don't mind flashbacks as a plot device, sometimes it gets annoying. To the author's credit, her handling of the old tried-and-true "captured by pirates" storyline is here told in an inventive style, and kept my interest until the end of the novel. Both of the characters have emotional baggage that they cart along with them, and Putney handles the sensitive issue of rape and abuse in a dignified manner, much different than the usual "forcible seduction" that's a stock in trade of bodice rippers.

The bad part of the novel is that the villains are pretty much stock characters here, with only the Sultan being at all interesting (enough to make me wonder if Putney was setting him up as a future hero in a forthcoming book), but the others are pretty much one-notes. The really bad part is that the novel could have been more interesting if the extra characters had been cut out -- I kept getting distracted and bogged down with the little tidbits that Putney kept tossing here and there. Still, it's an interesting read for those of you who like their romance novels with plenty of adventure, and Putney has a deft touch in her writing style. Even the erotic bits are tasteful, and that's rare thing to find these days.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely *Not* a Light, Fluffy Romance! 4 Dec 2004
By ellejir - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mary Jo Putney is never afraid to tackle more complicated issues in her historical romances (i.e. alcoholism in "The Rake" and depression in "Veils of Silk"), and she takes on some doozies in "The Bartered Bride"--slavery, rape and its aftermath.

The heroine, Alexandra Warren, is a young widow who is traveling back to England from Austrailia with her young daughter when their ship is attacked by pirates in the East Indies and Alex is sold into slavery. Six months later, Captain Gavin Elliott is visiting the island of Maduri and sees Alex being sold in the local slave market and attempts to buy her freedom. The Sultan of Maduri refuses to let him, recognizing that Gavin's concern for the English slave woman may be a way to control the independent Captain. Gavin must risk his own freedom and even his life in a series of tasks known as "The Lion Game" before the Sultan will agree to release Alex.

Gavin is about as decent a guy as you will ever find in a historical romance and Alex is a *very* strong heroine. The story is complicated and the situations heart-wrenching as Gavin tries to help Alex recover from the abuse that she endured as a slave and resume her life. This is definitely *not* light, fluffy romance, but it is different and interesting and very well-written for the most part. (The boiler-plate last minute rescue scene at the end was a bit over-dramatic for my taste, but was fun to read if a bit predicable.)

A well-written book about a complicated subject with a wonderful hero and strong heroine.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad but heartfelt love story!! 27 Nov 2004
By J. Brennan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am with those that do not like to start out going backwards when I read - I prefer to read beginning to end. However in spite of that fact Putney creates a truly emotional read with her story of Gavin & Alex. When Alex is captured and enslaved early in the story you truly wonder how she will come out of it not permently scarred. How fortunate she is that Gavin Elliot comes along and becomes her protector and rescuer - He truly is the kind of man women are all looking for. I mean he has only even had one woman in his life - unique to these stories for sure. It will take much patience and trust between this couple to ever find true happiness though. And their horrors do not end with the islands of the East - when they return to London they still have demons to fight. Of course when a couple fears they have lost each other for good that is when they realize the love they have long felt. This is truly a wonderful love story!!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHY did it take me so long to discover this AWESOME author? 5 Aug 2002
By Mimmi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Okay, I have to share right off the bat, this is my first Mary Jo Putney book. How this writer escaped me, I'll never know. To say she is a SUPERB writer is almost an understatement.
Accosted by pirates while traveling back to London with her small daughter, Alexandra Warren finds herself sold into slavery. She immediately finds herself separated from her young daughter. Unable to accept this, or her captivity, she's passed from master to master because of her unwillingness to accept her fate. It's not long before she finds herself on the block in the market, being sold to the highest bidder.
Gavin Elliott, merchant prince of the high seas, finds himself touring a foreign island with a feared Sultan. Because the Sultan is trying to court his agreement on a business venture, he's giving Gavin the red carpet treatment. While touring the market area, Gavin finds himself entranced by the woman who's up for auction. When he realizes she's a European, he feels obligated to do what he can to help her escape her fate. The only way the Sultan will allow Alexandra to be free, is for Gavin to compete against him in an ancient challenge-if the Sultan wins, he gets Gavin in service for ten years. If Gavin wins, he gets
Alexandra, and the Sultan will trace her daughter. Finding himself unable to let the beautiful Alexandra suffer, Gavin agrees. He's faced with many tough challenges-but the toughest is something he'd never dreamed of. Can he betray Alexandra's trust and grant their freedom?
Alexandra is bitter and scarred, and can't imaging allowing a man to touch her and enjoying it. But she finds Gavin a beautiful person, both inside and out. A man who's good and moral, she wishes she'd met him long before. And Gavin is quickly finding himself falling for the spunky and courageous Alex...but how to gain her trust, and help her overcome her fears?
Wow! I think I read the first 50 pages without even blinking-this story is that riveting. Beautifully written, Ms. Putney paints such a clear picture with her words you can actually smell the air, hear the activity that's taking place, and feel every emotion the hero and heroine go through. This is one of those stories you reserve a special spot on your keeper shelf for. I know this reviewer is going to be out glooming Ms. Putney's back list-If they're even half so good as The Bartered Bride, I know I'll be impressed.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bartered Bride - Mary Jo Putney 20 April 2009
By R. Evangelio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The historical romances of Mary Jo Putney are usually peopled with eminently civilized and sensible characters, who know that passion is destructive if it is not governed by reason, friendship, and respect. They often find themselves in exotic locales and impossible situations, but love - and a stiff upper lip - always prevails. The Bartered Bride is a perfect example.

Gavin Elliott is a prosperous merchant. While trading with the Sultan Kasan, tyrant of an Indonesian island, he spots a beautiful European woman being sold as a slave. Appalled, he tells Kasan that he wishes to buy and free her. Kasan, who desires to control Gavin, acquires the woman himself. The two men make a wager: if Gavin succeeds in completing a series of Herculean tasks, he will win the woman to do with as he wishes. If Gavin fails, he must work for Kasan for a period of ten years.

The woman who is the prize of this contest is Alexandra Warren (those who follow Putney's works will recognize her as Amy, the intrepid daughter of the heroine of Shattered Rainbows). On her way home to England after being widowed in Australia, Alex and her daughter Katie were taken by pirates. Alex has been raped and brutalized by her captors, and she is desperate to find her daughter. She recognizes that Gavin is a good man and trusts him with her friendship.

The last task in Gavin's contest with Kasan puts Gavin and Alex together in a painful situation that jeopardizes the fragile trust that is building between them. This is only the beginning of their adventures together.

The first half of this book, which takes place in Indonesia, is a real page-turner. Putney excels in her description of the frightening Kasan and of the imaginary Indonesian island he rules. When Gavin and Alex return to England, the romance heats up while the adventure slows down.

Gavin is an engaging hero. A strong man, he is secure enough in his strength to forego the swaggering that so many romance novel heroes seem to enjoy. Born in Scotland and raised in America, he has staunch republican convictions and a deep contempt for Europe's aristocracy. Upon returning to England, it will come as a shock to him that, not only is Alex closely connected with the nobility, but he is, as well. Gavin's obvious love for Alex is touching, and his patience and understanding with her make him thoroughly sympathetic.

I had a more difficult time imagining Alex, who I found to be serene beyond belief. Admittedly not all women respond to rape and abuse the same way, but Alex's reactions were sometimes difficult for me to imagine. For instance, immediately after being rescued from slavery, we learn that "Despite nightmares, the next days were the happiest time Alex had known since she'd married and left her parents' home." I thought, "She is so in denial." Throughout the book, Alex will have some difficulties in the marriage bed, some emotional ups and downs, but overall she is so reasonable and sensible that I found myself having a hard time believing in her at all.

I don't expect that all readers will agree with me about Alex. She is definitely admirable, and I liked her - I just found her so heroic that I couldn't identify with her. Sometimes I found myself wishing that Gavin and Alex were both more passionate and flawed, less controlled and logical. They are both experienced people, but they're also young - their sage comprehension of their own emotions made them seem, perhaps, much older than they are.

I also didn't care for the way suspense plot in the second half of the book panned out. I found it somewhat predictable (and whatever surprise it might have contained is given away by the book's unnecessary prologue). The villains are a TSTL lot who eagerly give Alex all the information she needs to foil them, which she does.

I've read all of Putney's books. I've passionately loved some and was bitterly disappointed by others. This book reaches neither extreme; it is as comfortable and soothing as a bathrobe just out of the dryer, but it didn't make my heart pound.

Of course, in my opinion a medium Putney is better than even good efforts by many authors. With its great hero, exotic locales, and sympathetic (if somewhat flawless) heroine, The Bartered Bride is more than worth reading.
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