The Gamble
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The Gamble

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  1,729 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Only the Gift of Love Could Free Their Lonely Hearts

AGATHA was the picture of primness and propriety although her green eyes could blaze with anger or sparkle with humor...

SCOTT was the picture of lazy charm and happy indifference to what others thought was right and wrong.

They were enemies, then friends. Then the sweet innocence of a child opened their eyes and their hear...more
Unknown Binding, 485 pages
Published 2000 by Harper Collins (first published January 1st 1984)
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Kristen (Peddler of Smut)
3 1/2 Stars

The Gamble is a book full of richly developed and endearing characters with an engaging and fleshed-out plot. This book overflowed withheart and soul. The ending was beautiful and left me feeling like a hopeless romantic. That said, I would not classify this book as a romance novel. It felt more like general historical fiction with a splash of romance. While the book had very little romance, what little it had left me feeling starry-eyed and dreamy.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the The G...more
This is my fourth book by this author. I fell in love with her work after reading Morning Glory and Hummingbird. She has a wonderful way of expressing her character’s emotions so that you feel a part of their lives. Their happiness, pain and sorrow, their hopes and dreams become yours. And with each book I become completely immersed hating when I have to stop and put the book down and somewhat sad when the book ends!

The Gamble certainly held all these attributes and I was not disappointed! In 18...more
I should review this. I have some strong opinions on it. Especially disliked her facile treatment of the post-slavery South. The whole "slavery wasn't so bad if your owner was a swell guy" and the whole "Mammy" thing with the old housekeeper made me angry. Add in a bizarre three-page-long scene involving horses mating and the brilliance of the preceding 300 pages just went up in flames. Just, no.
I recently found a copy of this book on a clearance rack at my local Half Price Books. I remembered reading it, uh, a couple of decades ago (how can I be this old?) and thought I would re-read it to see if it was as good as I remembered. It was -- though as is true in most paperback romances set in a particular historical period, the reader is asked to tolerate a GREAT deal of dramatic license. Still, this romance between Agatha, a spinster-ish temperance worker, and Scott, the owner of a rowdy,...more
“The Gamble” is without a doubt another very enjoyable read by LaVyrle Spencer. I have to admit I couldn’t put it down. I just had to know how the relationship between these two very incompatible people was going to work out. It did remind me a tiny bit of Hummingbird, but that’s one of my all-time favorite Spencer books, so I didn’t mind.
The story seems to be divided into two very distinct parts: the one in Profitt, Kansas and then the 2nd part on the “Weaverley” plantation, Mississippi. Both...more
Prim 34yo milliner is protesting the new saloon close to her store b/c it's taking away from her hat business. Saloon-owner Hero takes her protests as a business challenge & even hires her sewing skills for his dancers' customs. They establish a friendship of sorts along with Hero's unique family of employees despite their opposing views about alcohol. Their r/s broadens when Hero & heroine take on the care of a neglected 5yo boy. But growing sentiment for alcohol prohibition threatens H...more
I first read this in 1987 when it was originally published and loved it. I re-read it a couple of times and then lost track of it.
I got around to re-reading it recently and loved the romance part of it all over again. The setting is frontier Kansas around 1880.
Agatha is one of my favorite heroines--a true old maid(she's 35!) who feels that because of her physical disability (severe hip injury from her childhood that's left her with difficulty walking)and age, she is never, ever going find true l...more
Jenny E
I couldn't decide between 3 or 4 stars. There were a lot of things I really liked about this book, but also things I didn't like. I definitely would have given the book more stars had there been an epilogue with just a little future glimpse. I know they all live happily ever after, but I really like a little glimpse of that... it's like a little bonus for the reader at the end of a story and after reading 570 pages, it would have been the cherry on top.

This was one of two books my mother first gave me as a teen. Having a slight disability myself, I found myself falling for the imperfection of the character-how refreshing!-but besides that it was just a wonderful read. Great characters, that are both heartwarming, endearing and at times stubborn...I love it. I find myself picking it up every few years and rereading it again. I can never get enough of it. Will always be one of my top 2 favorite romance novels of all time....
great characters, great plot even 'though the ending was obvious to all but the 2 people involved
This is an old favourite - I read it for the first time about 10 years ago, and picking it up was like catching up with an old friend. LaVyrle Spencer's writing has the power to transport me into Scott and Gussie's world, and I was falling in love along with them.
I'm not much of a Romance reader, never have been. But this book was filled with details that brought the characters to life, like the description of a character's temptation by sewing machine. :)
Lindsey Pierson
My all-time favorite book. EVER! I can re-read this book, and still become giddy as the story unfolds.
Quite possibly my favorite LaVyrle book.
"Impressionou-a saber que ele era tão belo por dentro como por fora. Era uma dessas raras pessoas que julgavam as pessoas pelo que sabiam delas e não pelo que viam". (...)

Um romance que relembra os velhos clássicos, mas LaVyrle Spencer faz muito mais. Ela nos emociona profundamente ao demonstrar que ninguém é capaz de prever o que o futuro nos reserva. Essa é a história de Ágatha Downing e Scott Gandy, ela uma mulher solitária, ele um homem errante. Ao se conhecerem, ela lutava pela proibição da...more
4.5 stars. Before she retired, LaVyrle Spencer was probably my favorite author. I thought I'd read read every one of her books, but found a reference to The Gamble, which was unfamiliar to me. The style of the book is different than what's selling today. But I was just as caught up as I was 30 years ago.

The Gamble is a friends-to-lovers story. An oh, it takes forever to get to the lovers stage. What an enticing wait it is. There was plenty of sexual tension, and even the kisses--once they finall...more
Siamo in una cittadina del Kansas nel 1880, dove la monotonia del posto porta gli uomini a passare il loro tempo nei saloon a bere e a giocare a carte. Le donne, dalla mentalità bigotta, sono stanche di veder i loro mariti lasciare la famiglia ogni sera per cercar diversivi altrove così, si organizzano in gruppi, cominciano a prendere decisioni a farsi sentire, creano volantini di propaganda, gridando al proibizionismo; cominciano, a modo loro, la lotta contro l’alcol: la Temperanza.
Agatha è pro...more
3 1/2 stars

The Gamble is a thoroughly well written book full of memorable and sweet characters. Despite the author taking most of the book developing the relationship between Scott and Agatha, it was a pleasure to read.

I also love how Spencer writes her characters flawlessly so that you can visualise what they look like. She has a way with words -- that's my favourite part.

A lot of people on here have been saying that the romance in this book takes a back seat in this novel, well quite the...more
I picked this book up to re-read because I really felt like reading a romance with a western theme. I couldn't remember the title, but I knew that this was one of my favorite Spencer books. I have read this story three times and love it more each time. It is definitely one of my favorite romances of all time, and one of my top favorites of any kind of book.

Setting :1880s Kansas and Mississippi

Agatha has resigned herself to a life of spinsterhood. She is 35 years old with a bad hip from a childho...more
I love this book, I love all the characters, but I absolutely adore Agatha.
The story was highly emotional but so real, that one felt like it is a real life story, a story about a neighbor or someone you knew.
A man like Scott Gandy, who once upon a time was a prince in a very large estate and happily married to a fairy and who was accustomed to the finest that life had for him. All that before the war of course, because he undoubtedly changed in the war, I don’t think there is a human being, whic...more
3+ overall. My first LaVryle Spencer book. Finely detailed imagery and setting, but the story and romance ran a little too slow for my tastes. The secondary characters (and subtle secondary romance) help make the story. Although it was realistic considering his feelings at the time, the nit picky and idealistic romance reader in me didn't like the sorta-cheating-lite aspect (view spoiler)...more
La prima nota positiva è l'ambientazione nel selvaggio West, tra saloon, mandrie, cowboy e proibizionismo, affascinante e originale in ambito romance.
Ma in questo caso ci troviamo di fronte a un romanzo che è qualcosa di più di un romance. E' una storia d'amore struggente, delicata, toccante e profonda, con momenti tenerissimi di pura poesia, ma è anche una straordinaria storia d'amicizia e di conforto tra un gruppo di persone diversissime, ma vicine di animo.
Tenerissimo il personaggio di Willy,...more
In other books where we read that the hero sleeps with someone other than our heroine (which happens before the hero and heroine develop any feelings for each other) its usually told once and glossed over and we as readers can pretend everything is fine. In this book the author give us details on what happens between our hero and someone he decides to sleep with...not something I want to visualize as a reader, especially since this person seems like she'll be sticking around for the remainder of...more
This has to be one of my all-time favorite "romance novels"--though it's really more historical fiction with romance added. Still, the characters are well developed and the writing is great. Spencer paints the images of the Kansas saloon life (circa 1880's)so clearly and carefully--she must have done a heck of a lot of research to get us all there. One last comment: I would love, love, LOVE, to see this book turned into a movie... anyone else with me here?? Sometimes I sit around and try to figu...more
I loved this book. The characters, the plot, and the way they slowly realised they had feelings. everything felt realistic even while there was a sweet overtone to it.

My favourite aspect is the fact that the main characters didn't so much change as get a chance to see the other person for who they truly were.

my only complaint would be the addition of the ghost and the ending. I didn't see the point of the ghost and the ending dragged a bit. It felt like someone said there had to be a sex scene...more
random nitpicky complaint: The characters misuse the word "y'all." Y'all is plural. Y'all. You all. Meaning an audience of more than 1. The characters in this book use it when speaking to only one other person, and to a southerner, this is like nails on a chalkboard. It glares out every single time. It's like reading something in Spanish but having all the genders reversed on the words.

Obviously, I gave this book 3 stars anyway, because the plot is good, and an interesting look at late 19th cent...more
This was the 5th or 6th time I have read this book. I loved it the first time and I loved it this time.

Each time I read this I want to go back to that time frame and live. It was the first book I have ever read in the romance category. I was covering for a PBX operator years ago and it ws in the desk. There were no calls coming in so I was able to get into the story of Agatha and Scotty and borrowed it and finished it in 2 days.

When I got my nook a couple of years ago I repurchased as I had lon...more
I feel mean to give two stars only but my rule is that if I end up skimming big chunks of the story it's got to be two stars.

This is a nice book, well written, with interesting characters, but the pace is too, too s-l-o-o-o-w for me. If you enjoy lots of lingering description and sweet scenes about secondary characters, including a little orphan boy, you might like this.

If you haven't tried this author, I recommend you start with Hummingbird, which I read right after this one and thought merited...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
One of the least impressive L. Spencer books I've read.
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LaVyrle Spencer is an American best-selling author of contemporary and historical romance novels. She has successfully published a number of books, with several of them made into movies. Twelve of her books have been New York Times bestsellers, and Spencer was inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame in 1988.

Spencer is known for creating realistic characters and stories that focu...more
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