A Previous Engagement: A Novel

Adult
Rated 4.60/5 based on 6 reviews
When lifetime friendship mixes with romance, things can get weird. More

Available formats: epub, mobi, pdf, rtf, lrf, pdb, txt

First 10% Sample: read online
Words: 69,440
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452441931
About Stephanie Haddad

Stephanie Haddad's earliest works featured unicorns and talking pumpkins who overcame adversity, evil, and the threat of being baked into pies. With age, her writing has evolved to more grown-up topics, like love and the complicated relationships between people. As a life-long lover of cheerful fiction, she strives to tackle real-world issues with wit, hope, and lots of humor. Her short stories have spanned many genres, but her full-length novels stay firmly planted in happy endings, via both romance and women’s fiction.

In 2009, Stephanie joined the Romance Writers of America to celebrate her addiction to perfect plot resolutions with other writers just like her. Combining a passion for the human condition with a penchant for the romantic, Stephanie strives to write every story as though it is a conversation shared between friends.

As she balances new motherhood, a freelance writing workload, and an independent publishing career, Stephanie continues her work on a planned three-book women’s fiction series, a collection of romantic urban fantasy short stories, and several single-title romances. Her first novel, A Previous Engagement, was released in July 2011. She lives, loves, and writes near Boston, MA, the home of all of her novels.

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Reviews

Review by: Robyn Whyte on Dec. 29, 2011 : (no rating)
I really enjoyed your book and purchased your other ebook on Smashworks. Keep writing.
Robyn
(review of free book)

Review by: Linda Ann Rentschler on Dec. 13, 2011 :
Tessie is a career woman who is just beginning to long for a mate. She has a thousand reasons why that mate cannot be her best friend until he appears interested in another woman—a relationship Tessie orchestrates. Told in a breathless, breezy fashion by Haddad, you will laugh, hurt, and thoroughly enjoy the charm of this well-written novel.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Romi Moondi on Nov. 08, 2011 :
I like a good modern romance with some humour, and the author did a great job developing just that within relatable everyday settings of friendships/work/social gatherings. What was really challenging and what the author pulled off was building romantic tension on an already-established friendship. These characters have known each their whole lives, so there's no opportunity to build up any tension with "first encounters"/getting to know, etc.

Yet, the author is able to put a twist on their friendship, and build and build this uncomfortable tension as the book goes on. This was the key to making the reader root for them, and for making all the challenges they had believable. Add to all of that a really well-written prose that flows for a very fast and addictive read, and you've got yourself a great book.
Look forward to more from this author!

-Romi
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Julia Hughes on Oct. 03, 2011 :
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Like many of us who yearn for somewhere over the rainbow, Tess Monroe discovers that happiness and her heart’s desire can be found in her own back yard.

This is a classic ‘boy next door’ story, romance in its purest form and I lapped it up unashamedly.

Although a tale as old as time itself, the author breathes life into her characters, and I practically experienced a New England Spring, and walked in the marbled halls of Prime Investments with Tess as she applied her talent for planning marketing strategies whilst learning how to deal with underlings in her new executive role.

Tess is determined to make a success of her career, especially as her romantic life is non-existent. Her best friends since schooldays Kendra (now a successful restaurant owner, wife and mother) and Christian (engaged, talented and sought after photographer) appear to be doing better in their personal life. So it is a shock when Marcy, Christian’s wife-to-be breaks off their engagement. Even more so when she cites the reason: Christian is too close to his old school friends, particularly Tess.

Feeling guilty at being the catalyst, telling herself the affection between her and Christian is platonic, Tess is on a mission to find Christian the perfect girlfriend. In any case, she tells herself she is a career girl, and has already accepted an even more executive role in Chicago. The fact that she promised to marry Christian ‘if no-one else came along’ when they were kids in the school playground – well that was just a childish game. The reader can see what Tess cannot. In a hundred different ways Christian silently proclaims his love for her.

Tess is very likeable: Always willing to help, albeit with disastrous results sometimes, considerate and willing to mentor her staff, courageous when facing down sexual advances from her boss. Yet I found myself wanting to shout at her – tell her to open her eyes and let go her pride and preconceived ideas and just kiss the man. When she finally does, she discovers Christian has the power to make her pulses race and set her skin on fire. But has Tess waited too long?
I wanted to find out so badly I read this story in one sitting.
The story is told by Tess in first person pov, beautifully framed by prologue and afterward in omnipresent pov. I enjoyed this book – the author has a gift for description, a light sure touch when it comes to humour and the bedroom scenes were handled with just the right mixture of decorum and passion.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Jason Halstead on Sep. 28, 2011 :
Either because of my testicles or because I'm just that way, I avoid romances. They seem to only be possible when incredibly stupid people are the characters. The main character in A Previous Engagement (a clever title, by the way), fits the category perfectly. I thought the male paramour did as well until I was most of the way through the book. Then I realized he wasn't suffering from a series of major concussion, he was just overly sentimental and emotional for a man. Definitely not a man's man, but perhaps he fits with the modern metrosexual kind of guy that's become so popular. I prefer the 80's action movie hero kind of guy. Or The Duke.

One other thing bothered me - the book leaves the impression that it's unfavorable for a woman to have a successful career. The main character strives to do so, but she's not complete without a partner and family in her life. I find that a flawed lesson. Why should a person be required to have a family to be complete?

That's the bad, here comes the good.

The book was very well written. The main character amused me time and again (when she wasn't aggravating me by being oblivious), thanks to the author's skill with putting words together. I faintly remember one chapter starting with a sentence that was too long and made no sense, but I was able to move past it easily and find no other flaws. Coming from another writer, that's a major success.

I read the book in a matter of hours, another feather in Stephanie's hat. I abhor the genre yet she kept me reading. I wanted to reach in and strangle the characters because they seemed to be inexplicably stupid from the very beginning, but still I read on. I say 'inexplicably stupid' but that does not mean they are without precedent. Virtually any romance movie available or even some distant relatives of mine have displayed similar or near exact levels of ignorance and dumbassery. So yes, I thought they were dumb but it's a dumb that I've seen many times before in fiction and in fact.

For someone who enjoys the genre, I recommend the book highly.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Melissa S on July 15, 2011 :
This book is out of my normal reading rotation, but I am glad it was recommended to me. I think most of us have had the same experience to varying degrees, or maybe I am just odd. Either way this book allows you to open up your imagination while tugging at your emotions. You feel the main character's panic, surprise and fear while wanting to shake her and say you need to do this, like watching that horror film where you scream at the tv/movie screen "NO Don't do that!". The author has done a wonderful job making this novel relate able and with a good dose of hope and romance.
I was not able to put it done... Will you be able to? I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the next Stephanie Haddad release!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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