Rogues RedeemedAs heir to a title and great wealth, Will Masterson should have stayed home and tended his responsibilities Instead he went to war Now, after perilous years fighting the French, he intends his current mission to be his last But all his plans are forgotten when he arrives in the small mountain stronghold of San Gabriel and meets her Knowing herself to be too tall, strong, and unconventional to appeal to a man, Athena Markham has always gloried in her independence But for the first time in her life, she finds a man who might be her match Two of a kind, too brave for their own good, Athena and Will vow to do whatever it takes to vanquish San Gabriel s enemies For neither will back down from death, and only together can they find happiness and a love deeper than any they d dared imagine Disclaimer I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review So here are my thoughts The book is set in the fictional San Gabriel, a small island country in between Spain and Portugal during the Napoleonic Wars When I saw the historical setting for the story, I knew it was a book I wanted to read The story centers on a romance between Athena Markham, an illegitimate child of a wanton Briton called Lady Whore and Will Masterson, a British war hero Athena is serving as an ad Disclaimer I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review So here are my thoughts The book is set in the fictional San Gabriel, a small island country in between Spain and Portugal during the Napoleonic Wars When I saw the historical setting for the story, I knew it was a book I wanted to read The story centers on a romance between Athena Markham, an illegitimate child of a wanton Briton called Lady Whore and Will Masterson, a British war hero Athena is serving as an adviser in San Gabriel due to connections that her mother had, while Will leads San Gabriel soldiers back home to evaluate the state of their country The two seemingly fall for each other at first sight and work together in helping the country get back on it s feet this has to be a TINY country I sadly did not care for this novel In the most basic terms the book was flat I felt no chemistry between the characters and I thought the dialog could have been improved greatly Moreover, I didn t feel particularly attached to either of the main characters at all, and therefore had no real vested interest in how their story played out Character development was non existent for Will, although some was given to Athena The secondary romance between the Princess Sofia and Will s friend Justin Ballard wasinteresting, and that doesn t say much In my opinion, the story neededdrama to be interesting The plot was great at first intriguing and well written then was slow going until about 65% into the story I actually really enjoyed the first segments of the book that featured Will s escape from imprisonment during the war Verdict 2 5 Stars I am sad I didn t like this book , and thought the premise had a lot of promise Sadly, it just had too many flaws for me to enjoy.Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this ARC Random thoughts and things I bookmarked potentially spoilery hidden beyond this line view spoiler How many exclamation points does this dialog need No one talks like that I am so tired of reading about how excellent the wine is in this fictional country Case in point after a French scout is captured, the characters treat him well and offer him food in an attempt to get information out of himThe young man almost inhaled the first sandwich Even cold, it was probably the best meal he d had in weeks Then he took a swallow of wine After a startled moment, he took a second swallow Your wine is very fine, Princess As fine as the Bordeaux wines of my home, but with its own soul REALLY This is how a captured soldier talks Athena is naturally anxious at the prospect of having a bastard child, since she is one herself and suffered torture by her peers She also refuses to marry Will due to her low birth But Athena has a change of heart once she and Will survive a surprise attack So imagine my surprise when this is thrown into the dialogDon t hold anything back, Will His brows arched Maybe you should clarify what you mean by that With difficulty, she said, I told you that I would never want to bring an illegitimate child into the world, but I ve realized that I want rather fiercely to have your babyWHAT Where did that come from And now several pages laterYou realize that now I ll start nagging you to marry me Athena rolled to her side so her back was to him I overcame my qualms about becoming lovers, but marriage is another matterREALLY You want his baby but you won t consider marrying him How unrealistic can this get hide spoiler After a taut silence, the rifle was lowered and a magnificentstepped from the shadows Now that Will didn t have a weapon pointing at him, he realized that the rich, low voice belonged to a female I honestly can t do this book justice, all I can say is that it isn t your typical HR This book surprised me all round At first glance it seems like every other historical romance I ve read but that wasn t the case at all The two main differences The romance was secondary don t get me w After a taut silence, the rifle was lowered and a magnificentstepped from the shadows Now that Will didn t have a weapon pointing at him, he realized that the rich, low voice belonged to a female I honestly can t do this book justice, all I can say is that it isn t your typical HR This book surprised me all round At first glance it seems like every other historical romance I ve read but that wasn t the case at all The two main differences The romance was secondary don t get me wrong at about 70% the author did intensified the romance and the connection between the love interests but I feel like that s not what this story was about Secondly there were two couples in this book and their stories were told simultaneously While Will and Athena were the lead characters, I was just as invested in Justin and Sophia s story I never expected to enjoy the story as much as I did, I hesitantly started it last night and found I couldn t stop reading.The two main characters Athena and Will are very well matched, Athena was a very strong and independent character because of how she grew up On one hand because of her liberal upbringing she was capable of doing many things a woman like her wasn t able to at the time, but on the other hand her differences set her apart which was another negative blow, you see Athena is the illegitimate daughter of a peer This book is set immediately after the defeat and abdication of Napoleon, in a small country called San Gabriel While fighting in the warWill and is captured and sentenced to death Luckily he escapes along with a group of soldiers, they become fast friends and form a club called Rogues Redeemed They re all seeking redemption, I assume because of tortured past But that another story.San Gabriel was very badly effected by the war and the attack of a militia led by the French General Bodain and when Will arrives he has his work cut out for him The author focused quite a bit on the details of the war at the time and the cultivating of vineyards and wine making and at first I was a bit worried, I mean I was a expecting an historical romance but like I said, surprisingly I enjoyed this part of the book but I did wish for a deeper connection or maybeon the romance between Athena and Will One could never mistake their connection as insta love.What I loved about this book the most was probably Athena, I mean her name says it all The goddess of wisdom and war, and she definitely lived up to her name But she did have her hang ups, we call them daddy issues these days and rightfully so Athena went through so much public ridicule because of her parentage Will s character was quite different to what I normally read, he was a strong and protective man but never overbearing I I guess he wasof a beta hero I ll definitely be readingbooks in this series, Mary Jo Putney is quite different to all the other HR authors I ve read I quite enjoyed the way she told her storyI ve met some female guerrillas as fierce as any man, but, in general, you re right Perhaps the world needsqueens and fewer kings ARC kindly provided by publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review I drifted off twice while reading this.The hero and heroine meet and because insta lust would be too exciting, they just kind of really like each other Ok, so they are quite lovely together and talk and share and calmly talk someMy kingdom for a scorned other woman, devious uncle, or some other over the top villain I bemoan these tropes but at least they give the story some life.Also, I love myself some wine but reading over and over about how this fictitious country has the best and ho I drifted off twice while reading this.The hero and heroine meet and because insta lust would be too exciting, they just kind of really like each other Ok, so they are quite lovely together and talk and share and calmly talk someMy kingdom for a scorned other woman, devious uncle, or some other over the top villain I bemoan these tropes but at least they give the story some life.Also, I love myself some wine but reading over and over about how this fictitious country has the best and how were they ever going to recover the buried wine had me wanting to throw my bottles out JK JK I would never I loved the beginning with the captured men escaping and loosely forming the Rogues Redeemed but the numerous mentions of the heroine sheight and I m anmyself , wine, and extremely mellow romance that was pushed to the side in favor of discussing how the fictitious country could rebuild from the war, was bland as naked toast I started reading Mary Jo Putney at least 20 years ago And I will always read her books If only the new writers had half of her talent She has a distinctive style that is evident in her latest book The conversations, the maturity, the characters, have Putney written all over it I love this feeling of meeting an old friend when I read her books It is.rather comforting Once a Soldier features Athena, an extremely talllike woman and Will, a war hero and a baron The story took p I started reading Mary Jo Putney at least 20 years ago And I will always read her books If only the new writers had half of her talent She has a distinctive style that is evident in her latest book The conversations, the maturity, the characters, have Putney written all over it I love this feeling of meeting an old friend when I read her books It is.rather comforting Once a Soldier features Athena, an extremely talllike woman and Will, a war hero and a baron The story took place in Southern Europe, even though both Athena and Will were British The attraction happened very quickly, so did affections I would usually hate such things But this is what I love about Mary Jo Putney, her characters are nothing but practical They are usually pragmatic and mature, making no fuss about I love you or I want you They are steady and reliable people, even in their affections Not one volatile character And that makes the quick affections work for me I believe you can develop feelings in a fairly short time But most writers make it look like a joke But Mary Jo Putney, through her level headed characters, makes it a serious attempt at happiness After their initial meeting, Will quickly came to the conclusion that he would not mind having Athena as a life partner and was open to the idea of marriage He was very adult about it too And that was the game changer for me I did not feel that the relationship was rushed I just accepted it as it was if 2 consenting adults hold affections and attraction toward each other, why not Their relationship developed through a national crisis of San Gabriel, where Athena had been residing for 5 years Their joint efforts to help the small country brought them together and also brought together a secondary couple, Will s Scottish friend Justin and San Gabriel s princess However this book belongs to the 3 stars group of Putney s books for me My first reservation has to do with Athena s warrior princess stature It was repeatedly mentioned that Athena was unusually tall, anof a woman and magnificent was the word I have no doubt that s can be attractive There is no dispute about that I just have trouble relating to her as a person because of that I have in mind a female tarzan and that made it difficult to imagine her as a heroine in a romance My second issue with the story was the saving San Gabriel plot took precedence over the relationship Putney excels at building a complex backdrop While she does a fantastic job of it, sometimes the plots took the spotlight away from the lead characters I feel that this was the case with Athena and Will They did not really have much attraction from where I saw it They did not really have enough romantic interactions for me to feel that the relationship was romantic While I appreciate Will s being practical, Athena simage took root and made it difficult for me to picture her as my heroine In short, I wasn t attracted to Athena and could not imagine why Will would be The third issue, or rather, observation, was that I was muchdrawn to the secondary romance between the princess and Justin As secondary characters, they hadchemistry than Will and Athena When I read the blurb and saw that Athena was an unusually tall woman , I already had my reservation I thought that I probably would not like her a lot and it turned out to be the case I understand that writers must attempt to write about different types of characters So there is nothing wrong with that I love her ability to build a complex story and create characters with depth Will and Athena s book isn t my favorite book from her but I am glad to see that Mary Jo Putney is still writing and also happy to see that her signature style is still evident in her stories This review is for an ARC from the publisher on NetGalley