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4.2 out of 5
(75)
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Engaging, Historical Drama!

    Major Lord Masterson, Will, has been captured by the French and is scheduled to be executed in the morning; he's able to escape, taking his fellow P.O.W's with him. After the war, Will's contacted by one of those P.OW's to request assistance with the kingdom of San Gabriel. There he meets Her Serene Highness, Princess Maria Sofia and Lady Athena... Engaging historical, post war drama/adventure and romance. Another story within a story, flows nicely. Problems/conflicts resolved smoothly, characters and dialog well written, kept me turning the pages. Book free for honest review thru Netgalley.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Simply magnificent!

    Napoleon has just been exiled to Elba, and as a precarious peace settles on Europe, Will Masterson decides it’s time he went back home. Will has had enough of war, but to his chagrin, his trip will be delayed as he is asked to escort cavalrymen to the kingdom of San Gabriel. While he is there, Will is also to evaluate how Britain can best help the tiny country of San Gabriel ravaged by Napoleon’s troops. Upon arriving at his destination, he is met by a rifle-toting Amazon aptly named Athena. Athena Markham, an unconventionally pretty, too tall, and fierce Englishwoman is officially Princess Maria Sofia’s companion, but even more so, she is actually the brains behind the doddering Prince Regent; Princess Sofia is too young to rule and her father has vanished. And thus begins the wondrous voyage through space and time that is ONCE A SOLDIER. How wonderful to read a Regency romance where barely a few pages take place in London. Ms. Putney’s remarkable descriptions of San Gabriel had me googling the name mid-way, wondering if my memory was failing me, but no. San Gabriel is a fictional country, and Ms. Putney had me completely fooled because it is imagined it so carefully and realistically; San Gabriel is the best fictional country I have ever read about. There are so many wonderful things to say about this fabulous book! Besides the aforementioned vivid descriptions, which extend to everything and everyone, the writing is exceedingly smooth and elegant, the dialogues are easy and natural, and every single character is splendid. The romance between Will and Athena also feels entirely genuine: they’re both honest, brave, and not boring for a single second. Ms. Putney has a rare talent of making the most mundane things enchanting. Will and Athena also have very intriguing backstories. ONCE A SOLDIER is a comfortable and pleasant experience until the tension sets in when San Gabriel is threatened, and where some spectacular action scenes take place. And gentle readers, when you reach about three-quarters of the book, do not even think of being able to put it down, and make sure to have some tissues nearby. ONCE A SOLDIER is a magnificent story about friendship, honour, courage, heroism, and true love. As a bonus, there is also a second romance, which is at least as splendid as Athena and Will’s. Mary Jo Putney has written a book I never thought I would be lucky enough to read one day. I don’t know what Ms. Putney has in store for us next, but I will be waiting with bated breath. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Intense...

    Athena is who I aspire to be. Not the conventional beauty, she focused on her strengths: character, smarts and the freedom to make her own way and decide for herself what direction her life took. I applaud Ms. Putney for creating a character that was inspirational and not a victim. She was not a damsel in distress, did not need to be rescued. That was not who she was she thrived on the element of surprise and her sense of adventure. Will was harder to figure out. He was a loner through and through. Ms. Putney is an author that marches to the beat of her own drum. Her characters are full of fire and her stories are built on suspense. That sometimes makes me wary of her work but Once a Soldier is a story that has intense spirit and will be an asset to any book shelf.
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    Historical Romance

    What a wonderful historical romance! It captured me and kept me enthralled from beginning to end. I felt I was back in the early 1800’s with all of the characters and what well-crafted, delightful people they were! There were many that I would have enjoyed spending time with or having as friends. Will Masterson and Athena Markham make a splendid couple. Both were multi-faceted people formed by their circumstances to become almost bigger than life though still humble. Not wanting to give the story away I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed their romance and how it all played out. Throw in Princess Sofia and Justin Ballard who fall in love at first sight but had little chance of having a happily ever after since one was royalty and the other a Scottish merchant and you have two romances for the price of one. I loved the setting, the well-crafted characters, the slow build of the story, the fast-paced war scenes, the supporting characters and…well…I really enjoyed this story and found it had everything I look for in a historical romance. This is the first book I have read by this author and it will not be my last. I am eager to find books she has written already as well as read more of the Rogues Redeemed series as it comes out. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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    Once a soldier

    The story over all is good but I found the lead female character frustrating. Since bastardy isn't really frowned on any more I suppose I feel she had no need to be so afraid.
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