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The Gamble

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,206 Ratings  ·  103 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
Unknown Binding, 485 pages
Published 2000 by Harper Collins (first published January 1st 1984)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
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.
Feb 17, 2013 Sheri rated it it was amazing
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
Jane Stewart
This was ok. But I wasn’t excited to keep reading.

The author writes well, but the underlying story just wasn’t as interesting as some of her other stories.

Agatha is a 35 year old spinster who sews and makes hats. She was injured as a child and has a limp. Gandy’s wife and daughter were killed at the end of the Civil War. He has been wandering since, and recently opened a bar with gambling and dancing girls.

Agatha works to help pass laws to prohibit alcohol in Kansas in 1880.

Narrative mode:
Apr 15, 2013 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
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
Feb 08, 2016 Tanya rated it really liked it
Fun short book.
Feb 02, 2015 Jan rated it it was amazing
What a book!!!!!! This is one of those books you file under 'keeper and never will let it go' because it's just the kind of book you wish EVERY historical novel/romance was---so completely absorbing you won't notice clocks, calendars or other pesky things like jobs and laundry.
RomReader *Spoiler Giver*
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
Oct 17, 2014 Trea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenges-2014
This is my very favorite of all LaVyrle Spencer books I read when I was younger! The story is so touching, the romance very believable. It is set in 1880 around Kansas becoming a "Dry" state, and the war that is waged in the streets of a small town.

Agatha and Scott are on opposite sides of the war, but a series of events brings them together to the point where they fall in love with one another. Their love happens slowly, like a flower blooming, and is a joy to watch. There is a huge cast of su
Sep 19, 2015 Robin rated it really liked it
When Scott Gandy opens the Gilded Cage Saloon in Proffitt, Kansas, the ladies of the Temperance Committee are not happy. Led by Agatha Downing, the committee visits each saloon, handing out pamphlets, carrying a petition, and praying for the souls of the inhabitants. Scott tires to charm the ladies. When that doesn't work, he tries to outsmart them by bringing in dancing girls to fill the seats at the saloon. Agatha and Scott may have their differences, but those take a backseat when they come t ...more
Sep 23, 2011 Aleisha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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....
Una historia muy interesante e intensa, llena de cuestiones morales y de dudas. A pesar de que el final es un poco lento, es un libro maravilloso.

Reseña completa en http://beldevoradoradelibros.blogspot...
Jenny Jo Weir
Feb 26, 2016 Jenny Jo Weir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did this as an abridged production audio book and it was good, but since I had never done an abridged production before, I didn't realize how condensed the stories become.

I think I would have really enjoyed the unabridged production much more but it was perfect seeing that I only had a few hours and it filled the need perfectly.

I'm still giving it 4 stars because it was very good and I liked the story. A lot happens and its a good book. I can only imagine how wonderful the full version is.

Nov 30, 2011 Marleen rated it really liked it
Shelves: lavyrle-spencer
“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
Mar 24, 2010 Barbara rated it really liked it
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
Jul 12, 2011 Audrey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
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
Nov 05, 2014 Fatma rated it liked it
I really liked this book but it had some problems, first it was boring sometimes..a lot of the scenes were unnecessary and I had to skip them. Also the romance started halfway through the book and it irritated me that the love story didn't seem to be the main focus of the author. I loved Agatha and Scott and I wished the author gave more attention to their love than the other things happening.
Nov 02, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it
One of my favorite romance novels. Have read it many times ever since I discovered it in high school.
Sep 20, 2015 Lucimar rated it really liked it
LaVyrle Spencer é uma escritora que sei que ao pegar um livro dela, me fará derramar lágrimas. Sua escrita sensível me deixa sempre um sabor agridoce. E nesta não foi diferente. Lá estavam todos elementos que compõe uma boa história: pessoas simples e solitárias, perdas, os vilões a espreita, etc.
Em The Gamble (A Aposta) encontramos a doce e solitária Agatha Downing que encontrará em Scott Gandy um adversário com quem travará algumas batalhas por conta do "Saloon" do qual ele é o proprietário. E
Jenny E
Aug 05, 2011 Jenny E rated it really liked it
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.

Jun 11, 2015 Becky rated it it was amazing
In 1880, Scott Gandy roams from town to town gambling and opening saloons to escape the memories he lift behind n Mississippi. In a small, dusty town in Kansas, he just opened the Gilded Cage saloon with a large life like picture of a naked woman and voluptuous dancing girls. Agatha Downing, a slight cripple with her own past demons, is a spinster who owns the millinery across the road. She is dead set against drinking spirits and gambling. The two become enemies and try to outwit the other rega ...more
Michelle Robinson
THis is such a good novel. THe characters feel real and believable. The child feels authentic as well. He is not too sweet, nor is he a terror.

I found hero and heroine to be believable and relatable. Agatha is forthright an stands for what she belives in without being shrewish or judgmental. Scott is laid back and intresting. He is not an alpha male but he is not beta by any means.

The fact that Scott is involved in a sexual relationship also feels like it would be authentic.

I did not like the
Apr 25, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
I just reread this book, which was probably my favorite romance novel when I was growing up. It was condensed into a shortened form by Good Housekeeping magazine, which my mother subscribed to. I read it there, and went looking for the actual book. I was young enough that I'm pretty sure I learned some stuff about sex from this and other LaVyrle Spencer books I read at the time. But that's not really what I loved about it. I simply loved the two main characters and their relationship, and I love ...more
Natália Eduardo
Feb 26, 2016 Natália Eduardo rated it really liked it
Belo romance. Amei cada um dos personagens e suas histórias de vida. Agatha é uma mulher maravilhosa, com muita garra, coragem e honra, além de ser justa e reconhecer seus erros. Scott é um homem que luta para manter seu negócio e tenta não ofender ninguém com isso. É inteligente, esperto, protetor e sagaz. Os dois encontram um ni outro o que viviam ansiando. É um amor que nasce com a proximidade, a amizade, o reconhecimento das imperfeições um do outro e com uma causa pela qual lutarem.

Jan 06, 2014 Lucy rated it it was amazing
great characters, great plot even 'though the ending was obvious to all but the 2 people involved
Jan 29, 2013 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 23, 2015 Christen rated it liked it
I really wanted this to be a five star book. Agatha was the perfect character and almost had the perfect romance. However, her "mister right" sucked. Nothing about this man was romantic at all. And the authors rosy view of slavery was extremely off putting.

Do you me to tell me that an ex-slave owner named "LeMaster" - a man who fought in the war for slavery - is treated like a hero by his slaves? That his slaves excitedly run back to the plantation and work for him for free? That in the 1800s b
May 08, 2007 Mrelia rated it liked it
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
Jun 18, 2013 Lindsey Pierson rated it it was amazing
My all-time favorite book. EVER! I can re-read this book, and still become giddy as the story unfolds.
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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 about LaVyrle Spencer...

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