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Spouse Trap (The Madeline Dawkins Series Book 1) by [Hamilton, Cynthia]
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Spouse Trap (The Madeline Dawkins Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 146 customer reviews

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Length: 302 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Some years ago I reviewed Cynthia Hamilton's novel, "Lucky at Love" and since then she has published three more, the latest of which is Spouse Trap in which Madeline Ridley, a Santa Barbara fundraising socialite sees her perfect life collapse in a swirl of blackmail, sabotage, and deceit...This is the first installment in a new series and provides lots of provocative, interesting reading.
              --Bookviews.com

About the Author

Cynthia Hamilton has recently embarked on a mystery series and has become hooked on working in this genre. The author does extensive research for all her books and her latest are no exception. To gear up for "Spouse Trap", the first book in the series, she took a detective course and spent countless hours investigating Guam, "virtually" living there so she could navigate her protagonist through a quickie divorce, with a little mayhem on the side.

"Spouse Trap," set in her hometown of Santa Barbara, CA, is the prequel to the series. It tells the story of how Madeline Ridley becomes Madeline Dawkins, and the dual careers she forges after going to hell and back. It was released in February 2013 and has received very enthusiastic feedback.

Because of what she put her heroine through in the first installment, the author realized Madeline needed to have martial arts training in the subsequent books. To that end, she has taken up karate, a discipline she has fallen in love with - so much so, she incorporated her instructor into her latest book. 

The author's other works include "A High Price to Pay: A Madeline Dawkins Novel," "Lucky at Love," "Alligators in the Trees," "Golden State," and her first non-fiction "Once Upon a Lyme..." which chronicles the onset of a mysterious illness and the unexpected dividend of becoming a writer. To learn more about the author and to sign up for updates to the series, please visit cynthiahamiltonbooks.com.

Product Details

  • File Size: 986 KB
  • Print Length: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Woodstock Press (February 8, 2013)
  • Publication Date: February 8, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BDB63AQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417,280 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Arkypam on March 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I gave this book 3 stars because the premise is good. In fact, I was so intrigued by the first couple chapters, I stopped reading and went to the computer to see if a sequel existed. I was happy to see that one was in the works. However, about a third of the way through the book, I found myself checking my Kindle to see how close I was to the end. In my opinion, the book bogged down in detail. The story takes place over the course of a few weeks and during that time, we are privy, in tedious detail to every meal the protagonist eats and every thought that passes through her mind. I believe this book could be shortened by half and be a better book. I may give this author another try if I can find a free book, but I probably wouldn't spend money for one.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Good read with lots of twists and turns. The relationship between Mike and Madeline was not developed well enough to be plausible as the only one she could turn to. The evil husband was done very well. However, it was very distracting to see the author gushing over the lifestyle of the rich and famous. It would have been just as interesting without the constant spending sprees.
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I love a good mystery; whether it's pulp, neo-noir, urban fantasy, or sci-fi, I will gobble it up. But a solid mystery is hard to find, especially one that has the gripping momentum of Spouse Trap. This novel brings to mind the early Kinsey Millhone books by Sue Grafton, but combines a quick witted heroine with the lavish lifestyle found in stories by Mary Higgins Clark.

I loved that Madeine was human. She broke down & cried, she numbed herself with scotch, & chowed down on comfort food. But she also has the vulnerability of a socialite sheltered from "real" life. Whereas Higgins Clark's characters drive me crazy with their bubble baths & tea, Madeline's self deprecating bewilderment at having to cope without unlimited credit & hired help was actually endearing.

The plot of Spouse Trap shot out of the gates at a dead run, & was gripping enough for me to read in one sitting! The pacing did falter a little at the end, with a few scenes that felt overly dramatic a la Dynasty, so I knocked it down half a star (if only Amazon let me give half star marks!). But don't let that dissuade you from reading this fantastic book, you won't be disappointed!

The ending hints at a possible series, & I will definitely be picking up the next novel!
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The novel started out well, interesting premise. But it quickly turned into a paean to shopping-excess and then hit the skids. A spoiled Montecito housewife turns to the internet to learn how to debug her hotel room after the P.I she hires is ... well, no spoilers. I'll say no more than this: thank the literary gods that it was free.

I suppose the subtitle (A Madeline Dawkins novel) suggests that there will be more. Kinsey Millhone she ain't.
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After the first several pages I was questioning my decision to purchase this book. I mean, the heroine came off as a self absorbed rich society snob and I never really felt too much sympathy for her situation. A couple of chapters in however I found it hard to put down. The mystery of who was really behind the whole set up intrigued me and out weighed the lack of character development -almost. Overall, it was interesting, a decent "beach read".
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I will not be reading any more books in this series due to the ending of this book. The author treated us to excruciating details of Madeline's
thoughts, movements and meals throughout the book, especially on her trip to Guam. The author gets the reader emotionally involved with her plight. We readers are rooting for her, hoping that she will not suffer further at the hands of her conniving husband and his demand for a divorce.
We want desperately for Madeline to see justice for herself despite all of her adversaries coming right and left at her. Suddenly the book ends with just an offhand mention about the fate of her husband and his security team. I wanted to read about the final take-down and big dramatic apprehension of them by the police. Nope, did not happen. I felt very cheated. It is as though the author either ran out of steam or had to wrap up the book to meet a deadline. Other issues which were not resolved, her divorce settlement and the other woman. Did Madeline end up with the house, or any money, or even the necklace set which "the other woman" was wearing? What was the other woman's reaction to these events, realizing she had been duped. No details offered about any of these important questions but I can tell you what she ordered from room service and other meals she ate in Guam.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Disclaimer: won this book through Goodreads.com.

Pros: This is a very good, pretty quick read; maybe quick because it’s hard to put down. I even tried reading it at work before everyone else got in, with the book on my lap under the desk just to see where this was going and ultimately winds up! I don’t take that chance with too many books.

The plot is written kind of like an episode of “Columbo” in the sense that you know at least one of the antagonists pretty early on, and that the immensely wronged Madeline Ridley (Dawkins) will probably ultimately prevail. But you still go along for the ride to see how she’ll prove it.

Unfortunately, there are a few cons. But as you can tell from the pros, they’re certainly not deal breakers. And let me say up front, some readers may not find these cons, reading a book is partially subjective. First there – again for me – was just too much designer name-dropping. I understand initially it helps define Madeline – and the life she had before it all fell apart. But it needlessly goes on throughout the whole novel. Second, we get a description of every meal she orders over the course of 291 pages. We get it: she was used to the best clothes, accessories and foods life had to offer. No need to carry this through the whole book.

Lastly and this is the biggest flaw. Madeline vacillates – often within the same paragraph! – between a resigned-to-be-strong, independent, newly-single woman – out to avenge being unjustly wronged - and a whiny, blubbering mess. No one will question that what happened to her is totally unjustified and I’m not discounting the seriousness of her initial ordeal, nor that her husband is a total sleaze-bag.
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