I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Once a Rebel (Rogues Redeemed #2) by Mary Jo Putney
Series: Rogues Redeemed #2
Published by Zebra on August 29th 2017
FINAL DECISION: Childhood friends who become lovers, this story takes place in an under-represented time period which makes the events interesting. The story is a slow burn and the romance develops more slowly than I would like.
THE STORY: Callista Brooke is in the middle of the burning of Washington in the War of 1812. Widowed from the man her father forced her to marry, Callista is now raising her husband’s illegitimate children. In danger, a man rides up to save her. Lord George Gordon Audley has taken the job of bringing Callista back to England. What Gordon didn’t know is that Callista is his childhood friend. Callista is shocked by the appearance of her friend Richard who she believed died after being transported for “kidnapping” her. What had actually happened was the Richard had attempted to rescue Callista from her forced marriage, but the two had been caught by their fathers. Now Richard and Callista must make their way to safety during a war.
OPINION: I enjoyed the relationship between the hero and heroine here, but the actual ending seemed a bit wanting for me. This is a story of two people who are friends, are apart for almost half their lives and then find one another again. For Richard and Callista, there isn’t a “wow, my friend is now a hottie that I want and love” moment. That was not only okay for me but felt natural. The two begin a relationship based on respect and friendship as they navigate the dangers that surround them both from the war and also the personal problems. But I really wanted something to click with them sooner than it did and something more passionate and exciting to happen between them personally. Instead, this is a “we gradually realize that we must be in love” story.
I was a bit disappointed by this, because I liked there characters. They both have had difficult lives since they parted, but have made themselves survivors. This is an opportunity for them to finally find something joyous with one another.
I especially liked the time and place of this book as it begins because not many romances are set in America during the War of 1812. This book gives a glimpse into a different time period. The characters also manage to move back to more familiar England and a whole new set of issues arise.
Although the action in the last portion of the book happens really quickly, I ended up loving the relationship between Richard and Callista at that point. The two have found some joy and peace with one another and the drama is the catalyst that brings them finally to the realization that they truly love one another. (But the relationship never seems like a deeply passionate one).
WORTH MENTIONING: One thing that bothered me about this story is how Callista’s step-children are so important to her but they characters are jettisoned part way through the book. I felt the story should have committed to them or excised them completely.
CONNECTED BOOKS: ONCE A REBEL is the second book in the Rogues Redeemed series. While there are overlapping characters, this book can be read as a standalone without missing anything at all.
STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.