ROMANCE

Once a Soldier

Zebra: Kensington. (Rogues Redeemed, Bk. 1). Jul. 2016. 368p. ISBN 9781420140927. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781420140934. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
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OrangeReviewStarWith Napoleon's abdication and impending exile, Major Lord Will Masterson is ready to leave the battlefield and head home to England to take up his neglected responsibilities. However, a request takes him instead to San Gabriel, a tiny, war-ravaged kingdom in the mountains between Portugal and Spain, where he is caught off guard by his attraction to the magnificent Athena Markham (who greets him at gunpoint!) and is dragged into the vulnerable country's problems. A strong, independent, sometimes stubborn heroine who considers love beyond her reach and a fearless, risk-taking hero discover each other amid chaos and danger in a beautifully rendered romance that deals poignantly with the issues of self-worth, illegitimacy, and social class, as well as the cruel aftermath of war.
VERDICT Exquisitely developed characters, a stunning setting, and the perfect amount of history and engineering detail make this an excellent start to what promises to be another of Putney's insightful, riveting series. Here, spies bond (and then escape) on the eve of their scheduled execution. Putney (Not Always a Saint) lives in the Baltimore area.

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