This is an Official Review by an Eye On Romance Official Reviewer
for Once a Soldier
Mary Jo Putney
Date of Review: 06/17/16
Official Reviewer for Eye On Romance
I love Mary Jo Putney’s books. She writes stories about heroic men and women who overcome obstacles to be together. Her books are never routine and they always end by making me smile. This latest book is as satisfying a read as all of her other books have been. I am so glad that she is starting a new series about men who decide, in the face of death, to redeem themselves. Will Masterson has spent years fighting against Napoleon. Now that the war is over, he wants nothing more than to return to England and pick up his life. His plans are derailed when an old friend asks him a favor. Will is to escort returning soldiers home to San Gabriel and to assess the damage done by the French. Since the citizens of San Gabriel have fought alongside the English, England wants to assure their health and vitality. Will agrees and finds more than he bargained for. Athena Markham has been the companion and advisor to the young princess of San Gabriel since her brother and father were taken by the French. Athena’s life story is a complicated one, but by helping Princess Maria Sofia, she feels like she has finally found a home. When Will arrives with the soldiers, Athena is shocked to find herself drawn to him. Hearing his plans for repairing the damage to San Gabriel makes him more attractive, but Athena knows that her background will prevent anything permanent from happening. The sparks fly between Athena and Will from their first meeting. Athena’s intelligence challenges Will and makes him want to help. Their dynamic is very unusual for the time. The disparity in their backgrounds becomes clearer and drives a wedge between them. Adding in the work needed to restore the country and the dangers that still lurk, this tale is thrill until the end. This book is a joy to read. There is a lot in the book about the anxiety soldiers feel as they head home—not only about rejoining their lives with the horrors they have seen, but also bringing news of lost comrades. Mrs. Putney puts a lot of historical evidence into her books. San Gabriel may be a fictitious country, but the attitudes and fears of the people who live there are real. What happens when a raiding party demolishes your home? How do you prepare for survival amidst war? What do you do when society says that you can’t be educated because you are a woman? I can’t wait to see what Mrs. Putney has in store for the rest of this series.
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