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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read it in one day
I've read most of the de Warenne books from "The Prize" through "The Promise," and I still love this series. I think that people who have been following the de Warennes will not be disappointed with this book. It kept me engaged from beginning to end.

However, since these books were written out of order, we have already met Alexi and Elysse as a happy couple in...
Published on October 4, 2010 by Amazon Customer

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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extremely frustrating...
This book was one of the most frustrating books I have ever read. It was well written and there was a great beginning -- charged with emotion and drama. The failure of the book lies in the fact the male lead, Alexi, behaves like a horrible jerk in the beginning, and then never changes. Then the author tries to make Elyse, the female lead, take all the blame...
Published on November 2, 2010 by A


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extremely frustrating..., November 2, 2010
This review is from: The Promise (De Warenne Dynasty) (Mass Market Paperback)
This book was one of the most frustrating books I have ever read. It was well written and there was a great beginning -- charged with emotion and drama. The failure of the book lies in the fact the male lead, Alexi, behaves like a horrible jerk in the beginning, and then never changes. Then the author tries to make Elyse, the female lead, take all the blame.

Elyse is a vivacious, flirtatious, belle of Ireland who has always loved Alexi. They were dear childhood friends. He is young and gallant and likes to think himself her protector. Unfortunately, what he actually does is hurt her endlessly to protect himself from his feelings for her. He goes to great lengths to avoid her presence and makes sure she sees him with other women to distance himself from her -- all because deep down he loves her. In his mind, he exagerates her behaviors into major flaws -- her vivacious nature becomes selfish, silly and shameless. It was almost as if he worked to hate her because he didn't want to love her.

Alexi's role in provoking Elyse into a flirtatious frenzy at that ill fated ball where Montgomery dies is never addressed. He takes her aside before the ball and profoundly hurts her feelings, accusing her of "playing" men and jealously warning her away from his friend Montgomery, all under the pretense of "protecting" her. This sets the stage for it to be all Elyse's fault when Montgomery tries to rape her. Afterward, Alexi marries her to "protect" her, but this is the biggest joke of all, because really, he marries her to punish her. He abandons her immediately after the ceremony, and manages to avoid her for 6 long years.

During these 6 years he travels the world, keeps a very public mistress in every port, and when at home, gathers intelligence from gossips to fuel his bad opinion of Elyse. As usual, not only does he believe the worst, but exaggerates it, labelling her a courtesan because she allows men to escort her to events, rather than sitting at home, pining for him.

Finally, he returns to London, setting up a household without even telling her. When she forces the issue, by moving in with him, he ramps up his defensive efforts -- rejecting her in public, flaunting his affairs, trying to use sex as a weapon and of course, avoiding her when at all possible. She doesn't ask much, just that he not embarass her, but he never changes, nursing non-existant grievances and misunderstandings to maintain his anger and justify his behavior.

Alexi uses anger and cruelty to protect himself from love, and hurts Elyse unbearably. As I read, I felt myself growing angrier and angrier. When would he see the error of his ways? When was he going to get his comeuppance? Elyse did seem weak in ways too, always accepting blame and refusing to set certain things straight, but overall she gives and gives, repeatedly putting herself on the line to try to make things right. But the author never lets Elyse's efforts work. If the author would have allowed some sort of believable, well-developed resolution to the conflict, it would have been a powerful book, but it never happened. Alexi did have a miraculous change of heart at the very end, but it just wasn't believable, and he never atoned for his sins. As a consequence the book felt like a waste of my time, and just made me mad.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Big disappointment for a De Warrene story, October 25, 2010
This review is from: The Promise (De Warenne Dynasty) (Mass Market Paperback)
If you've followed the DeWarrene series, then you feel compelled to read this one. I know I did. Other than the beginning when their childhood connection and affection began, the story is almost insufferable. No thought was given to this story. NO effort either. First of all, I like how she called them friends and how close they were, when their parents are actually step brothers, but that's all brushed off and/or unexplained. It wouldn't be too big of a deal, except if you've read the other stories. No way would the parents allow Alexi to behave so hatefully through this entire book. And yet, she still writes Elysse to be in love with him. It made no sense to have her ridiculed the entire novel and then suddenly, without explanation, Alexi miraculously realizes he's an idiot. He, barely even apologizes. For the lifelong attraction and closeness these two "supposedly" had, he never gives her the benefit of the doubt or does or says anything nice to her. I don't know where Brenda Joyce's head was for this novel. Not to mention, the author kept making reference to Alexi's childhood promises of keeping Elysse safe and protecting her, when meanwhile, he was the one being so cruel through the book. That didn't even make sense.

If you want to read a good DeWarrene story, read Cliff and Amanda's. It's my favorite in the series. Alexi is Cliff's son and I wish the author would have left him young and not given him his own story. AWFUL!! Nothing likeable about Alexi in this.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 80's romance redux. **lots of spoilers and me hating on the leads**, October 19, 2010
This review is from: The Promise (De Warenne Dynasty) (Mass Market Paperback)
I will get right to it with my dislike for this book.

'The Promise' is an 80's romance novel throwback where the protagonists show each other contempt, anger and disrespect *and it would have been cleared up in an adult conversation*.

Now BJ creates stubborn male leads, but we tend to sympathize with their characters as we realize that even though they don't want to fall in love , get married etc , they love the heroine and show it by their actions. So for example in 'A Lady at Last' (one of my fave books) Devlin thinks he's too old for Amanda, she needs to grow up etc etc which is why he resists her. Amanda has no problem with that and sets out to seduce him and we get fireworks from the New World to Old Ireland. Throughout that book though, we see where he genuinely cares for her.

In the 'Promise' however both leads -not just Alexi- are just stubborn for the sake of being stubborn and proud. Alexi starts off as being sweet yet strong, but by the middle of the book he is terrible. I am sorry folks, but under no circumstances to do I excuse a hero sleeping with and having mistresses during a marraige when he abandons his wife after marrying her.

With that said, the heroine wore me out emotionally with her silliness. I had no problem with her in the first part of the book- at the end of the day, I she was accurately portrayed as a spoiled miss. She was not spiteful or mean to others, she was merely hurt by Alexi and wanted to get back at him. I think that any female with no real independence or autonomy of her own, would resort to flirting to making someone else jealous.

I do have a problem with her in the latter parts of the novel where she embraces the persona of a loose wife. Now Alexi actually took women, which I can not forgive, but for her to want to create that appearance is ludicrous. Make up your mind lady! How can you claim to love Alexi but then want to run around town with men to create the appearance of having lovers? She did this with the excuse that she didn't want anyone to see how humiliated she was. I get that ...but couldn't she have thrown herself into doing charity rather than dinner parties?! Bear in mind that as a virgin she could have gotten an annulment, but didn't want to because of that being too humiliating. IMO she loved herself and her pride more than Alexi.

Now as the book moves on, Alexi is back in England 6 years later and hell bent on hating his wife, and buys a house to live apart from her. She decides to move in with him, her first move of having sense in the entire book. Then things get a bit strange- she wants him to appear to be the doting husband, yet doesnt want to give up the goodies in bed. That honestly always gets me in historical romances. I mean I could understand if she didn't want to for fear of a foreign disease but to not give it up based on principle is odd to me. I thought she loved him and wanted to reconcile? Wouldn't being in his bed be a start? . Now throughout alllll of this, Elysse is pretending a tendre for someone else. Then Alexi thinks she is in love with him then gets super mad. And then she is hurt that she is mad. Arrrrrrgggh!

So by the end- he is incensed because he thinks that she is in love with someone else and moves out the house. But the fact that she may love someone else doesnt sit well with Alexi the Adulterer. After all, its okay for him to soothe his loins overseas and throw his mistress name in his wife's face, but for said wife to find genuine affection is unthinkable.

He drinks heavily, grills the butler, searches through her things, overturns her desk, accosts her when she comes in, and after some tussling they make love. Now this is where the plot goes bizarre. I was at least expecting a good grovel when Alexi realizes his supposed harlot wife is a virgin. Nope. No such thing. He even seens the blood stains the next day and thinks its because he 'hurt' her in some way. He is apologetic, but because he thinks he forced himself on her.

So he does what any romance un-hero does- he leaves the heroine that he hurt and decides to sail to China. Elysse then does her 2nd and final act of having sense in the book and decides to go after him. We then have the requisite kidnapping scene (I am going to ignore the fact that this silly heroine decides to sail to China with just a freaking lady's maid.)

Another wierd this is her parents are nowhere to be found throughout this. Or his parents. These two kids are just lone ships in the ocean acting like angry hard headed idiots on a collision course.

We have the entire story wrapped up in the last 2 pages and there we go. The Promise. 80s romance redux.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No very romantic- some spoilers, September 30, 2010
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This review is from: The Promise (De Warenne Dynasty) (Mass Market Paperback)
This book was not awful, but it was not good. The hero spends more than 97% of the book sleeping with other woman and being really cruel to the heroine. The only expression of feeling from the hero was hate and resentment. The heroine was not very likable but never deserved that much nastiness from the hero. I just kept waiting for the h to move on with her life. I would have liked this book more.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cheat novel, not a romance novel, October 12, 2010
This review is from: The Promise (De Warenne Dynasty) (Mass Market Paperback)
The audacity of the publisher calling this book a Romance novel. In the first 280 pages of the story the hero sleeps with everything that moves, degrades his virginal wife by calling her a harlot and a Wh***, and treating his wife as such. The story begins when Alexia comes back to Ireland from a recent trip to China and brings his captain home with him. He is supposedly in love with the heroine but chases and sleeps around with a widow while his captain courts the heroine. Elysse was 18 and a débutante, one of the most beautiful woman in all English Isle. She had 5 marriage proposal and plenty of suitors and she is a flirt. Elysee finds herself attracted to Alexia who used to be her best friend; she tries to make him jealous at his parents ball by flirting with his captain. The captain almost rapes Elysee, Alexis comes to her rescue, there is some struggles, the captain hits his head against the stone stairs and dies. Two of the guests see Elysee with her ripped clothes,... Elysee and Alexis father get rid of the captain body. Alexis marries Elysee to save her reputation but leaves right after the ceremony without consummating the marriage. He offered to marry Elysee but somehow he turns to Mr. Hyde becomes hateful and vengeful toward Elysee. He shows up in London 6 years after he left his wife at the alter with a grand reputation of having multiple mistresses in every land he sets foot at. He hasn't contacted his wife in 6 years. His father treats Elysee like a common street woman because she allows men to escort her to dinner parties and opera instead of sitting home and wallowing in her sorrow. We see Alexis chasing after one skirt to the next for the next 200 some pages and being a hateful, despicable man parading all these woman in front of his wife who only asks him to act like a devoted husband few times a week to keep the gossip down. He assumes one of the guy who escorts his wife is her lover so he makes her life a living hell. He comes back home from a three weeks trip with one of his mistress after stopping by few brothel and gets drunk because the man he assumes is his wife lover has sent her flowers 5 times when he couldn't keep his pants up. In his state of drunkenness, he takes his wife virginity but he with all his sexual experience doesn't know the difference between a harlot and a virgin. He dismisses his wife the next day who somehow had come up with the idea that since they slept together they are going to be happily married. He decides to go back to China on a earlier day so he spends his days at work and his nights with other women. Elysee decides to seduce him to save her marriage. They sleep together, he dismisses her after the act and moves to a gentleman club until he leaves for China. She sends him a letter and begs him to take her with him. He refuses. Of course lets not forget he tells her he never promised her respect and Fidelity in their marriage and he is very fond of and has deep feeling for his Singapore mistress. He leaves, she decides to follow him to China to again save this so called marriage. The last 70 pages of the book is about Elysee getting setup and kidnapped on her way to China, Alexis mysteriously finding himself in love with his wife and turning the ship back to London after 4 weeks, learning the guy he assumed was his wife lover was considered only a good friend by his wife, going after his wife.

Anyhow, I read about 5 romance novel a week. If there was a rotten tomato award for romance novels, I would give it to this book.
Her master of time stories are great, but this book was nothing but a huge disappointment.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unlikable characters, really angry hero and a spoiled heroine, September 30, 2010
This review is from: The Promise (De Warenne Dynasty) (Mass Market Paperback)
For me to enjoy a romantic tale I have to sympathize with the characters, especially the heroine and I never warmed up to the heroine in Brenda Joyce's latest deWarenne novel, The Promise. I wasn't overly fond of the hero either.

Heroine Elysee O'Neill is a spoiled, self-centered and haughty twenty year old who is described as beautiful by everyone she knows. She might well be the most beautiful girl in Ireland. She is prissy and not all that mature. She has been friends with hero Alexi de Warenne since they were children. When she turns twenty, she sees Alexi after a two year separation, he is a ship captain. She suddenly recognizes her feelings for him, she is infatuated and desirous of his attention and when he does not pay court to her, she flirts outrageously with him and other men hoping Alexi will finally realize how absolutely stunning she is. How can he not see how dazzling she is when everyone else in Ireland thinks her beautiful?

Elysee gets in over her head with one of her suitors and Alexi must rescue her from a situation that has no good end for anyone. Alexi acts honorably when he doesn't really have too and he absolutely resents Elysee for ignoring his advice and playing the coquette. He is so infuriated and so young, he's only twenty-one, that he sails away and does not lay eyes on Elysee for six years. Their reunion is fraught with problems and neither really knows how to mend their broken relationship.

Eylsee is still a vain, spoiled and imperious woman at twenty-six(she is described with these adjectives by members of the ton). Elysee still makes the same mistakes she made when she was twenty. She does not seem to have female friends (an exception being Alexi's sister, who shows up here and there) preferring the company of men instead and she simply must have someone who absolutely adores her, even though she can make no promises in return. She does not often listen to good advice and she is obsessed with keeping up appearances for the ton but she fails to realize that she adds to gossip with her own actions. She blames Alexi for her unhappy life when she actually had the power to change it years ago.

Alexi is angry, unforgiving and prideful (a trait Elysee shares in abundance). These two are so angry with each other that Elysee slaps Alexi at least twice and he taunts her repeatedly. Supposedly Elysee has loved this man since childhood and Alexi has sworn to protect her since he was twelve but their actions were less than kind and far from loving throughout much of this book. It is only in the final chapters that Alexi becomes more respectful toward Elysee. I have so enjoyed other tales by this author, some are among my favorite books but this will not be going on my keeper shelf.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It hurts to say this but....a stinker through and through, November 22, 2010
This review is from: The Promise (De Warenne Dynasty) (Mass Market Paperback)
I won't go into the plot since other reviewers have done that already- this is simply just my reaction to the book.

I'm a HUGE fan of the deWarenne books and I still get the 'awww' feeling when I think of the Masquerade and A lady at last, but the last two books have been just horrific.

I read the reviews on how there is no romance in The Promise, but thought I'd give it a try anyways. I wish I did not- it took me a week to finish it and the only reason I did was because I paid full price for it. To give Brenda some credit, she actually started the book with what could be a very sweet love story, but somehow it all turned out into grueling 350+ pages of domestic abuse. Granted- there is no physical violence between the characters (at least I don't remember it- but I'm not 100% sure), but there is hatred and major issues that I feel were artificially closed out at the end for the sake of an obligatory HEA (umh, last 20 pages).

This recent trend of Brenda's books in the new deWarenne generation actually has me worried about her personal experiences with men. There is a lot of rejection and darkness from her heroes without any real romance. This last book also lacked any real passion.

Word of advice if you're thinking about reading/buying it- just don't do it. Go back and reread some of her previous novels if you like her writing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars i wouldn't want to know either of these characters, November 11, 2010
i can only say that the spoiled ,self centered heroine in this book is only outdone by the more self centered and vicious hero. how much pain can he inflict on one
person only to suddenly turn around and realize he loves her?? not in any world i can think of. she is no better,only caring what the ton thinks about her and not
doing anything with her life except wearing jewels and throwing dinner parties. on second thought maybe they do deserve each other. definitely the worst brenda joyce
book i have read. if she sincerely has run out of new ideas then perhaps it's time to put her pen back in its holder and just re-read some of her earlier works to reclaim
that glory.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars First and Maybe Last Time reading this author, October 25, 2010
This review is from: The Promise (De Warenne Dynasty) (Mass Market Paperback)
This was my first Brenda Joyce romance. I thought the 6 year separation plot line might be interesting, so I picked it up. The prologue speaks of these two being best of friends, but the story line never explained it. And for the remainder of the book Alexi is such a creep. He was SO mean to Elysse, over and over again, it was painful to read. "SPOILER"...after they have sex, his reaction to her is so off the wall. ...and then she's going to sail to China. It was then that I turned to the last few pages, skimmed, and finshed with an eye roll.

Other reviews said her De Warenne series is good, but I was so turned off by this book, I don't think I could bring myself to buy another. Also, the sex in this book was very "closed door". Are all her books that way?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Promise, November 7, 2010
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This review is from: The Promise (De Warenne Dynasty) (Mass Market Paperback)
I am a huge Brendy Joyce fan. I have read nearly all of her books. This one is questionable whether Brenda Joyce actually wrote it???? Very dissapointed because I love Brenda. So inferior to all her other books. Sorry!
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The Promise (De Warenne Dynasty)
The Promise (De Warenne Dynasty) by Brenda Joyce (Mass Market Paperback - September 28, 2010)
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