Meet the Rogues in Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney

The Story:
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...

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My Thoughts:
read all types of romances, I'm sort of a junkie, so I'm always looking for my next fix. When I received an email from NetGalley concerning their publishers' summer romances to read, of course I wanted to request them all, but even though I'm a romance junky, I'm also a realist. There's no way I was reviewing all of those books in a month! I chose this book by new-to-me author Mary Jo Putney and I'm glad I did. 

Even though it is far from being an all-time favorite, Once a Soldier has a few things going for it. First things first, the setting. This isn't your typical English ballroom tale. Set in 1814, after Napoleon's exile, in the fictional kingdom of San Gabriel, it offers readers a unique atmosphere to start off the story. There's no ton, there are no debutantes, but there is wine and there are weapons! Throw in a few well put together men and there you have it. It looks as though this series is going to be built around said men, this book's hero Will Masterson and the men who became the self-named Brotherhood of Rogues Redeemed.

While the setting is certainly different from many other romances, I found the love story itself lacking. Will and Athena certainly complement one another and clearly respect each other, and I felt their banter as "friends only" to be flirty and fun, with the consummation and the relationship thereafter to be downright painful. For a few chapters I thought I was reading a different book. They were SO awkward -- and not in a way that made them an endearing couple, but sort of robotic. I'm glad to report, however, that the story came back round and there are not one but two HEAs! It was a liiiiittle rushed, but still made up for the few previous chapters that threatened to derail the story for me. 3 out of 5 stars. 

~My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

* I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

Happy Reading!


  1. Renee, thanks for an honest review of this romance. I hope you're having a restful weekend.

    1. Thank you so much! I am! I hope you are as well!


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