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Rogues RedeemedAs 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 vanuish 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

10 thoughts on “Once a Soldier

  1. says:

    After a taut silence the rifle was lowered and a magnificent 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 readingThe 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 warWill 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 storySan 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 uite 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 on the romance between Athena and Will One could never mistake their connection as insta loveWhat 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 uite different to what I normally read he was a strong and protective man but never overbearing I I guess he was of a beta hero I'll definitely be reading books in this series Mary Jo Putney is uite different to all the other HR authors I've read I uite 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 ueens and fewer kings ARC kindly provided by publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review

  2. says:

    I drifted off twice while reading thisThe hero and heroine meet and because insta lust would be too exciting they just kind of really like each other Ok so they are uite lovely together and talk and share and calmly talk some My kingdom for a scorned other woman devious uncle or some other over the top villain I bemoan these tropes but at least they give the story some lifeAlso I love myself some wine but reading over and over about how this fictitious country has the best and how were they ever going to recover the buried wine had me wanting to throw my bottles out JK JK I would neverI loved the beginning with the captured men escaping and loosely forming the Rogues Redeemed but the numerous mentions of the heroine's height and I'm an myself wine and extremely mellow romance that was pushed to the side in favor of discussing how the fictitious country could rebuild from the war was bland as naked toast

  3. says:

    I started reading Mary Jo Putney at least 20 years ago And I will always read her books If only the new writers had half of her talent She has a distinctive style that is evident in her latest book The conversations the maturity the characters have Putney written all over it I love this feeling of meeting an old friend when I read her books It israther comforting Once a Soldier features Athena an extremely tall like woman and Will a war hero and a baron The story took place in Southern Europe even though both Athena and Will were British The attraction happened very uickly so did affections I would usually hate such things But this is what I love about Mary Jo Putney her characters are nothing but practical They are usually pragmatic and mature making no fuss about I love you or I want you They are steady and reliable people even in their affections Not one volatile character And that makes the uick affections work for me I believe you can develop feelings in a fairly short time But most writers make it look like a joke But Mary Jo Putney through her level headed characters makes it a serious attempt at happiness After their initial meeting Will uickly came to the conclusion that he would not mind having Athena as a life partner and was open to the idea of marriage He was very adult about it too And that was the game changer for me I did not feel that the relationship was rushed I just accepted it as it was if 2 consenting adults hold affections and attraction toward each other why not? Their relationship developed through a national crisis of San Gabriel where Athena had been residing for 5 years Their joint efforts to help the small country brought them together and also brought together a secondary couple Will's Scottish friend Justin and San Gabriel's princess However this book belongs to the 3 stars group of Putney's books for me My first reservation has to do with Athena's warrior princess stature It was repeatedly mentioned that Athena was unusually tall an of a woman and magnificent was the word I have no doubt that s can be attractive There is no dispute about that I just have trouble relating to her as a person because of that I have in mind a female tarzan and that made it difficult to imagine her as a heroine in a romance My second issue with the story was the saving San Gabriel plot took precedence over the relationship Putney excels at building a complex backdrop While she does a fantastic job of it sometimes the plots took the spotlight away from the lead characters I feel that this was the case with Athena and Will They did not really have much attraction from where I saw it They did not really have enough romantic interactions for me to feel that the relationship was romantic While I appreciate Will's being practical Athena's image took root and made it difficult for me to picture her as my heroine In short I wasn't attracted to Athena and could not imagine why Will would be The third issue or rather observation was that I was much drawn to the secondary romance between the princess and Justin As secondary characters they had chemistry than Will and Athena When I read the blurb and saw that Athena was an unusually tall woman I already had my reservation I thought that I probably would not like her a lot and it turned out to be the case I understand that writers must attempt to write about different types of characters So there is nothing wrong with that I love her ability to build a complex story and create characters with depth Will and Athena's book isn't my favorite book from her but I am glad to see that Mary Jo Putney is still writing and also happy to see that her signature style is still evident in her storiesThis review is for an ARC from the publisher on NetGalley

  4. says:

    Originally posted at Desert Island Book ReviewsI wanted to like this book I wanted to be able to say that I enjoyed it because I like historical romance and in the past I’ve liked Mary Jo Putney’s work Unfortunately however I barely made it through this bookOnce a Soldier is purportedly a historical romance but it’s missing both accurate historical details it’s set in a fictional country and the characters freuently do things that are unbelievable for the time and a compelling romance despite the fact that there are not one but two romances in this book The majority of the book is either related to war and battles or to wine or to rebuilding San Gabriel the fictional country following the Napoleonic wars in the mid 1800sI generally found the first 85% of this book to be dull and lifeless full of details that for me didn’t add anything to the story The events weren’t what I was looking for in a historical romance and I didn’t care about the characters at all Their romances and struggles were flat and unrealistic I will say that I thought the ending read like a historical romance and wasn’t too bad although the happy coincidences are a frustrating way to deal with conflicts and struggles the characters facedThe women in this book were completely wrong for the time period Athena our heroine is supposed to be different; she’s supposed to be tall independent and strong Sure fine I can handle that I don’t need cookie cutter characters What I don’t like though is that she does things that I can’t see any woman of the time doing For example — and this is a spoiler but honestly since I don’t recommend this book I’m not too worried — Athena and Princess Sofia a twenty three year old who is supposedly the heiress to the throne of San Gabriel caused a landslideavalanche to save the country’s wine when the French invaded Another time Athena dressed up like a nun in a war zone to save real nuns and children Even for a “different” character in this period I just don’t think either of these things is plausibleThe characters didn’t seem to have much chemistry with each other and the romances were “lightning strikes” types where the characters were immediately in love with each other without knowing each other at all Additionally they were all way too informal and modern in addressing each other — at one point Princess Sofia invited a wine merchant she’d just met to call her by her first name This just wouldn’t have happened in this time periodThe main romance between Major Lord William Masterson called Will by everyone in the book and Athena an illegitimate daughter of an unnamed until the end lord was boring and also completely unbelievable for the time A few years ago there was an article circulating about getting to know a potential mate through asking a series of difficult uestions which helps to build intimacy and trust This book adopted that method in the early nineteenth century and Athena and Will spend time asking each other personal uestions I just don’t think this would have happened then and I can barely see it happening nowOne thing about Athena that just really drove me crazy was her attitude about sex For the majority of the book she tells Will she doesn’t want to be his mistress an irrational leap she made after one small kiss because she doesn’t want an illegitimate child This isn’t so bad Fast forward through a lot of pages and on the eve of an impending attack by a rogue French force she decides she doesn’t want to die without having sex with him Okay fine not sure it would have happened but sure Then we find out that she’s been someone’s mistress before Her excuse through the whole book falls totally flat at that point I just don’t think those two beliefs and behaviors are consistent and it drives me crazyI honestly wish I had positive things to say about this book but it really wasn’t for me It’s possible that someone who doesn’t mind a romance novel sans romance would like it or maybe someone who’s not so focused on whether characters’ behaviors make sense for the time For me though it wasn’t a good fit and I don’t recommend it I gave it one starARC from Kensington Books via NetGalley

  5. says:

    While preparing to meet the hangman's noose at sunrise a group of captured men reflect on what they would do if they were saved from their impending deaths With the toss of an empty liuor bottle by English officer Will Masterson the men have a reprieve from execution and flee to safety Before going their own ways they agree to keep in touch in the future by way of a book shop in London Will Masterson goes back to his troops where he survives to see Napoleon's surrender Just when he's about to sell out of his commission Major Lord Masterson is given a final mission of heading to a scenic sovereignty bordering Portugal and Spain to assess the damage the French forces committed against San GabrielAwkwardly tall for a woman and having nothing left for her in England but a father who wants nothing to do with her but to keep her illegitimacy secret Athena Markham finds herself in San Gabriel as a savior of sorts The fiercely independent woman with a tumultuous past finds herself useful as aid to San Gabriel's Princess Sofia and importantly to the whole community after the French wrought destructionWhen Will Masterson appears in San Gabriel both he and Athena share an immediate desire that shows promise if either one would allow Athena dreads Will discovering about her past but with their evolving friendship comes a trust she has never found in another which allows her to unburden her soul The task at hand though is to protect San Gabriel and the Princess from enemies who lurk in wait of the perfect time to attack the struggling country and while this is first and foremost Athena's and Will's desire growsWill have never met a woman as magnificent as the ian like Athena with her height and a admirable fortitude he wants her badly Not only in the physical sense does he desire Athena but in the emotional and binding sense as well But Athena can't see passed her illegitimacy and the legacy her mother left her Convincing the proud and difficult Athena to allow him in is uite the journey in Mary Jo Putney's ONCE A SOLDIERThis amazing romance set against a beautiful and exotic background is perfection for me Reading Mary Jo Putney describe the Douro River Valley and its environs brings back my memories of trips to Portugal and Spain I could tell by the way she speaks that she felt an affinity for the country Meeting Will Masterson in The Lost Lords series and enjoying his rapport in that series it's a joy that he finally gets his own story It's as if his character was calling Ms Putney's name He is a wonderful hero and one who will remain with me for uite some time Athena Markham is remarkable to say the least This heroine asks for nothing and deserves it all Her fears about what her life will be like back in England are real but her insistence of pushing Will away is for nought because the has met her match and what a great match it isThis new and exciting book ONCE A SOLDIER by Mary Jo Putney is a must read I look forward to the next installment wonder which hero will have his day

  6. says:

    'Once a Soldier' by Mary Jo Putney is book one in the Rogues Redeemed This is the story of Will Masterson and Athena Markham Will and some other men had been taking and would be put to death at dawn They all but said what they would change about their life if they could make it out When the men all came together to escape they formed a alliance with each other and called themselves Rogues Redeemed Once Napoleon surrendered Will had one assignment that has lead him to meet Athena Athena is a somewhat different than most women of that time Athena was and illegitimate daughter who was raised with knowledge and to think for herselfshe is a very strong person I found Will and Athena were a good fit as a historical romance couple that I found very hard to put this book and their story down I just can't wait to read the other story to come and see what happened to the other Rogues I received an eARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review Please follow reviews at the below sites

  7. says:

    At not uite 60% I'm going to call this done I'm kind of figuring out why by writing this review so I hope there's some clarity by the end hereI like all of the characters immensely Will and Athena are meant for each other perhaps a little unrealistically? and I love their banter and mutual admiration The secondary characters are nearly as strong and I want them all to end up happy And together Unfortunately there are barriers Even unfortunately the biggest is a huge negative motivation by Athena where she doesn't want to marry Will because she's a bastard and thus much beneath him socially Also he'll be mocked if he marries her and she can't stand that Which is silly because it isn't like he doesn't know his society at least as well as she does and if she's going to be worried about anybody she might as well own up to her own anxiety It's particularly silly because she's otherwise uite intrepidTheir friends suffer similar barriers to their obvious happiness So it all feels like something of a pile onAnd the problem is that I put the book down and just haven't been able to convince myself to pick it up again I think this may be yet another manifestation of my newfound skill in identifying that I like the story just fine where it is combined with my superpower of editing stories in my head Likely that makes me a coward though a creative one but I'll own that if it lets me avoid plots that pretty much have to hurt people I kind of like to make any forward progressAnyway I'm not going to rate this as most of my enjoyment or lack is bound up in the story in my head countered by my need to resort to that device It's a good story and I'd love to hear what others think of it Just so long as I don't have to actually go through it myself Negative Motivations I kind of hate that the term negative motivation isn't widespread yet Since it isn't I'm going to save off this little jag to append to my reviews that feature the term Jennifer Crusie blogged about it a bit back and it changed how I understand story The problem with the term is that if you've never heard it before you'd assume it meant motivations that are harmful or immoral Not so What it refers to is motivations not to do something The thing is that many of us are motivated to not do things for a lot of different perfectly valid and reasonable reasons The problem is that in a story motivations to not do things are a huge drag on the plot—particularly considering the fact that most negative motivations are overcome by the character simply deciding they don't care any or rather that they do care and are now motivated to do the thing So not only do you have a counter to action but you also have a situation where to overcome it all a character has to do is change their mind Which means eventually the reader is rooting for the character to get over himherself already and do the thing we want them to do Conflict drives story Conflict between a reader and a main character drives readers away from story

  8. says:

    It's hard to explain why this book by a wonderful author was one I could easily put down and not stay up reading 12 the night The book is well written but for me something is lacking Maybe the chemistry between the hero and heroine or the pace of the storyMajor Lord Will Masterson has served in Spain and Portugal during the Napoleonic war Before he heads home to England he is asked to accompany some troops from San Gabriel fictional country between Spain Portugal home and evaluate their security Athena Markham English and bastard daughter of a Duke is a friend of the royal family of San Gabriel She is visiting when war breaks out and stays to help Princess Sophia as her father and brother were taken prisoner and their fate is unknown Will falls for Athena and I like they take time to get to know each other Athena does not think marriage would work between them as he is a lord I do like Will for not caring about her parentage They work well together on protecting San Gabriel from a large band of French soldiers and rebuilding the country's wine business However I felt something lacking in their relationshipWill has his friend Justin Ballard bring him supplies to rebuild and replant the vineyards Justin and Sophia are a lovely secondary romance Everyone does get their HEAs and I'm sure some readers will love this book For me it's somewhat disappointing and not a keeper Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an ARC

  9. says:

    This may have been the first book I read of Mary Jo Putney but I really enjoyed it Will Masterson having been at war for years finds himself in a mountain town San Gabriel when the war ends but his mission is to protect it not expecting to meet a beautiful English woman Athena Markham among the locals The story evolves into a suspenseful adventure that throws the two of them together There is also a romance between the secondary characters which adds to the story Two for the price of oneHighly enjoyable read and will read of this authorARC provided by Netgalley thank you

  10. says:

    Disclaimer I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review So here are my thoughtsThe book is set in the fictional San Gabriel a small island country in between Spain and Portugal during the Napoleonic Wars When I saw the historical setting for the story I knew it was a book I wanted to read The story centers on a romance between Athena Markham an illegitimate child of a wanton Briton called Lady Whore and Will Masterson a British war hero Athena is serving as an adviser in San Gabriel due to connections that her mother had while Will leads San Gabriel soldiers back home to evaluate the state of their country The two seemingly fall for each other at first sight and work together in helping the country get back on it's feet this has to be a TINY countryI sadly did not care for this novel In the most basic terms the book was flat I felt no chemistry between the characters and I thought the dialog could have been improved greatly Moreover I didn't feel particularly attached to either of the main characters at all and therefore had no real vested interest in how their story played out Character development was non existent for Will although some was given to Athena The secondary romance between the Princess Sofia and Will's friend Justin Ballard was interesting and that doesn't say much In my opinion the story needed drama to be interesting The plot was great at first intriguing and well written then was slow going until about 65% into the story I actually really enjoyed the first segments of the book that featured Will's escape from imprisonment during the war Verdict 25 Stars I am sad I didn't like this book and thought the premise had a lot of promise Sadly it just had too many flaws for me to enjoyThank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this ARCRandom thoughts and things I bookmarked potentially spoilery hidden beyond this lineview spoiler How many exclamation points does this dialog need? No one talks like that I am so tired of reading about how excellent the wine is in this fictional country Case in point after a French scout is captured the characters treat him well and offer him food in an attempt to get information out of him The young man almost inhaled the first sandwich Even cold it was probably the best meal he'd had in weeks Then he took a swallow of wine After a startled moment he took a second swallow 'Your wine is very fine Princess As fine as the Bordeaux wines of my home but with its own soul'REALLY? This is how a captured soldier talks? Athena is naturally anxious at the prospect of having a bastard child since she is one herself and suffered torture by her peers She also refuses to marry Will due to her low birth But Athena has a change of heart once she and Will survive a surprise attack So imagine my surprise when this is thrown into the dialog 'Don't hold anything back Will' His brows arched 'Maybe you should clarify what you mean by that?' With difficulty she said 'I told you that I would never want to bring an illegitimate child into the world but I've realized that I want rather fiercely to have your baby WHAT? Where did that come from? And now several pages later 'You realize that now I'll start nagging you to marry me' Athena rolled to her side so her back was to him 'I overcame my ualms about becoming lovers but marriage is another matter REALLY? You want his baby but you won't consider marrying him? How unrealistic can this get? hide spoiler