Review: Once a Soldier

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.

Review: Once a SoldierOnce a Soldier (Rogues Redeemed, #1) by Mary Jo Putney
Series: Rogues Redeemed #1
Published by Zebra on June 28th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 368

FINAL DECISION: This was an enjoyable read but not particularly compelling a re-read.  I enjoyed the characters and the story and was glad that I read it.  I thought that the hero was really sweet.

THE STORY:  Will Masterson went to war despite being heir to a title.  He was running from his past but years of war have made him yearn for home in England.  Now that the Peninsular Wars have ended, Will has one last mission to complete before he can return home.  Will escorts a group of soldiers back to their home in San Gabriel in order to see how the kingdom fares.  In San Gabriel, Will meets an Englishwoman Athena Markham.  There are sparks between Will and Athena from the beginning, but Athena’s past makes her distrust men especially titled gentlemen.

OPINION:  This story is heavy on the action as Will and Athena work to save San Gabriel.  The romance between them is slow and steady and wrapped in their duties toward the kingdom.  I didn’t feel that the romance was intense and sparkling but rather of two people who have the same values and loyalties finding one another.

While I enjoyed the story overall, I didn’t feel that there was a deeply compelling romance between Will and Athena.  I thought they were a match, but their story didn’t have the intense interest for me that I consider a requirement for a 5 star book.  On the other hand, I did believe that the book had a good overarching story (including a secondary romance) and likeable characters that I cared about.

Because the characters met in unusual circumstances, their behavior did not rely on convention which made their characters more interesting.  Because the action of the book takes place far from the ballrooms of London, the characters are not as restrained and seem more free and real. I liked how modern Athena feels (not improper for the times, just strong and independent) and how Will is drawn to Athena because of those attributes.

I think this book is a good kick off to the new series and I hope we see more of Will and Athena in the future.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This new series follows a group of men who met by chance when they were sentenced to die as spies and then escaped together.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ONCE A SOLDIER is the first book in the Rogues Redeemed series.  The hero in this book also appears as a secondary character in the Lost Lords series.  One doesn’t have to read that series, however, to enjoy this book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.


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