This is my first book by Mary Jo Putney, and I guess I am overdue when you consider the fact that I am a historical romance fan and she has written something close to a hundred books in the genre. Obviously, she is doing something right. I didn’t love this one, though I liked it ok. It didn’t move me, but I didn’t have to force myself to finish or anything like that.
This is the 7th book in The Lost Lords series, though it holds up fine as a standalone. The hero is Daniel, a doctor and surgeon committed to helping those in need. He never dreamed he would become a peer, but a fever outbreak at a family reunion essentially wiped out everyone between him and the title of Lord Romayne. He wants to keep practicing medicine, but he’ll need a wife to help manage his new estates, which is where Jessie comes in.
Jessie wants to get married, but for very different reasons. She is newly widowed by her second husband and her daughter has inherited something that the next heir in line wants desperately. She worries that he will try to take her child away from her unless she finds a husband with more money and connections who can keep them safe. Daniel is the last man she expects to become a suitor. In fact, she actually tries to avoid him, afraid he will remember tending her after her first husband beat her nearly to death. But necessity throws them together and they try to make a real go of it.
I liked the characters well enough. Daniel is a good man, though kind of beta. I can see why Jessie likens him to a saint. He’s actually almost too good to be true at times. Jessie, meanwhile, isn’t nearly the horrible woman she considers herself. She has been through horrible times and survived. And she puts her child first, which I can respect. It’s just that the romance felt lukewarm. I am skeptical of Daniel’s need for Jessie after simply seeing her from across the room. I am even more skeptical of them marrying within days of meeting. And I am even more skeptical (and then some) of them falling in love in just a week or two after that.
I felt like I spent half the book being set up for the romance and then rushed through everything after that. There was one surprise at the end, but otherwise, the story played out exactly as you would expect after reading the first couple of chapters. And I felt like we really missed an opportunity to explore Daniel’s sexual awakening.
Again, not a bad story. It’s written well and delivers on what’s promised in the blurb. But for me, it could have been so much more.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
Not Always a Saint
by Mary Jo Putney
Release Date: August 25, 2015