ROMANCE

Once a Rebel

Zebra: Kensington. (Rogues Redeemed, Bk. 2). Sept. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9781420140941. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781420140958. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
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Lord Gordon Audley accepts a mission to America to rescue an English widow and return her to her family during the final days of the War of 1812. He arrives just in time to prevent her from being attacked and is shocked to find that the widow in question is his childhood friend Callista. Viciously torn apart as teenagers, they were sent from England—Callie to marry a Jamaican planter and Gordon to the Australian penal colony—and they hadn't seen each other since. Yet the connection between them hasn't weakened, and as they make their way through the war-torn countryside toward Baltimore and what remains of Callie's stepfamily, they see their childhood friendship slowly growing into something more. With superbly drawn characters (including historical figures such as Francis Scott Key); a setting so vivid one can taste the lemonade and smell the gunpowder; and a gripping plot that addresses the harsh realities of slavery, prejudice, cruelty, and abuse.
VERDICT Valiant, resourceful protagonists fight for each other against incredible odds in a story that deftly balances fascinating historical detail, adventure, and menace with a passionate romance. Another "redeemed rogue" gets the future he deserves. Putney (Once a Soldier) lives in Baltimore.

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