“Once a Soldier” by Mary Jo Putney features my favorite kind of lead characters…capable ones who are not defined by gender. I love that Athena is comfortable defending herself, decisive, and intrepid, and the action and adventure that permeate this tale kept me enthralled from beginning to end. The eventful introduction of Will Masterson and his life-changing interlude with fellow prisoners slated for a horrible fate was a nice way to introduce the series and give a thumbnail sketch of the characters who undoubtedly will each have a time in the spotlight.
I really enjoyed the pragmatic nature of the characters in this story, who see things that need to be done and find a way to do them. The primary and secondary romances distract a little from each other and I thought the one was settled a little too pat, but I enjoyed watching the evolution of the relationships and the struggle between following society’s dictates and the desire to accede to the heart’s wishes. I was entertained that both hero and heroine were larger than life (literally as well as figuratively) and I appreciate that the negatives of war and its impact on the commoners who are eking out a living were aptly portrayed. This was a great introduction to a new series, and although I thought some threads were tied up a little too easily, I still thought this was an entertaining story and I look forward to reading about the other rogues.
This historical romance is the first book in the ‘Rogues Redeemed’ series and centers around Will Masterson, a man caught in the vicious events of war, who makes a pact with an eclectic group of fellow prisoners that changes his attitude toward life. A chance assignment to accompany a group of soldiers to their tiny country of San Gabriel allows him to encounter the remarkable Athena Markham, who has been pivotal in helping Princess Sofia, the ruler of San Gabriel, defend the beleaguered country. Romances bloom amid the uncertainties of battle despite the apparent unsuitability of the connections. Some fights are well worth the prize, and Will and his friend Justin are determined to be victorious…no matter how great the odds against them.
"Putney's endearing characters and warm-hearted stories never fail to inspire and delight." --Sabrina Jeffries
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. . .