ARC REVIEW: Once A Soldier by Mary Jo Putney

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Rogues Redeemed

As 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...

After a taut silence, the rifle was lowered and a magnificent Amazon stepped 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 war...Will 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 maybe more on 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 was more of a beta-hero.

I'll definitely be reading more books 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 story.

"I've met some female guerrillas as fierce as any man, but, in general, you're right. Perhaps the world needs more queens and fewer kings.

ARC kindly provided by publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review

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