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Once a Rebel (Rogues Redeemed) Mass Market Paperback – August 29, 2017
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About the Author
Mary Jo Putney is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has written over 60 novels and novellas. A ten-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America RITA, she has won the honor twice and is on the RWA Honor Roll for bestselling authors. In 2013 she was awarded the RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Though most of her books have been historical romance, she has also published contemporary romances, historical fantasy, and young adult paranormal historicals. She lives in Maryland with her nearest and dearest, both two and four footed. Visit her at maryjoputney.com.
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Once a Rebel is the second book in Putney’s Rogues Redeemed series, but it is linked through the hero’s history as Lady Agnes Westerfield’s “one failure” and through his association with Kirkland to the Lost Lords books. Fans of the Lost Lords and those eager to hear more of the five “rogues” introduced in Once a Soldier will doubtless be pleased with the connections, but this book stands on its own quite well. It is rare among English historical romances in its setting, the War of 1812. It is even rarer in the perspective from which the story is told, the view of a civilian observer of battles. The reader sees less of the gore and horrors that soldiers go through and more of the effects of war on non-participants. Putney captures the tension, the fear, and the ordinary concerns of this population without sacrificing the central romance. History and fiction blend seamlessly as Callie, Richard, and Callie’s family watch the bombing of Fort McHenry and later pay a visit to Callie’s lawyer, Francis Scott Key, who shares with them the poem he penned during that anxious night.
I like these characters. Callie and Richard had cruel fathers whose treatment of them certainly shaped the adults they became, but neither protagonist broods over his/her wrongs or withdraws from commitment. I believe in them as individuals and as a couple, and that belief is based in large part on the growth the characters experience. The connection between them endures, but the adults who meet in 1814 have been tested and tempered. They are not the impetuous young people who eloped fifteen years earlier. Molly, Trey, Sarah, and Joshua--the freed slaves who make up Callie’s family--are also credible and interesting, and their roles in the story add dimension and poignancy. I also loved seeing more of Kirkland and Laurel. They are one of my favorite MJP couples. And Callie and Richard’s visit to Lady Agnes was delightful.
I read a Mary Jo Putney book with high expectations. Nobody combines adventure and romance better than she does. Her characters always face danger and find the resources to survive. They risk their hearts and often their lives with high courage. Putney calls her heroes “warrior poets” who are “brave and protective, vulnerable and kind . . . wounded by life, but not broken.” I find such heroes irresistible. Her heroines are strong and resilient, capable of toughness and tenderness, but they remain women of their time. They are practical enough to understand conventions and the price of defying them. I have been falling in love with MJP’s books for nearly three decades, and Once a Rebel (and I love the layers of meaning in that title) is another Putney keeper.
A couple of caveats: the business of the hero’s name changes can become confusing, and the last bit of the book that takes place in England is less powerful than the American-set section. But I found these minor niggles in an overall excellent novel. If you are a Putney fan, you will certainly want to add this one to your TBR list. If you like historical romance with the spice of danger and a romance with an HEA that is earned and believable, you should read this book.
This time we go with her hero and heroine to the hot, muggy East Coast of the US, and the War of 1812, to witness the burning of Washington, the Battle of Baltimore, the shooting of British General Ross, the evils of slavery, and the creation of The Star Spangled Banner...all through the eyes of some pretty wonderful characters.
We journey through the warn-torn cities with the rogue hero, Gordon (the biggest rogue of the Rogues Redeemed), and his dearest childhood friend Callista (he calls her Catkin), in a lovely, slowly-unfolding reunion story.
We also spend quality time with several other strong and memorable characters, including Callista’s quadroon stepchildren and their grandparents. And of course some gritty and despicable bad guys.
And as if it wasn’t dangerous enough to be in the middle of a war, then Gordan and his Catkin return to England, where even greater danger to their lives and future awaits them.
This story is full of wonderful Mary Jo Putney quality and heart, plus her usual vivid and believable settings, and highly recommended.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
This book also shows that sensual doesn't always mean explicit sex. This book has just enough to fit the plot and that instance in the story. This book is paced just about right and the description of the Baltimore area is so good I could feel the humidity and smell the smells of the place and only wish I could taste those biscuits they ate so often!! All the characters are fleshed in and you feel you know them and would be able to strike up a conversation with any and all.
It has one obvious dastardly villain and one hidden one! (that's the element of surprise that's so good!)
There was one phrase that I wrote down because it so perfectly describes the way I feel about good music--they were downstairs and had just received "Bad to the hero" news and after time to relax and take in the news they went to join the musical performance upstairs and it was said, "They headed for the healing river of good music" THAT IS EXACTLY what I've found when tragedy or bad times have hit my life-I listen to the good music I love and it heals my soul and gives me strength to travel on.