Once a Soldier
by Mary Jo Putney
Page Count: 343
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Format: Mass Market Paperback
How got: personal buy; @ local Albertsons
First attention getter: the author
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...
Star Rating - 4
A great way to pass the time, this romantic tale of the Napoleonic wars checkmarks all the boxes of a good romance, not a great one, but a good one. It keeps the readers tuned into the lives of our leads and their relationship, even if we aren’t sucked in completely. I wouldn’t say no to more of this series.
The author gives us a unique setting amongst the horrors of war. The fictional country of San Gabriel is really Andorra with a very slim veil. It’s a perfect, hidden-away setting for a dramatic tale of war, ruffians, and suspense during the Napoleonic Wars, given its out-of-the-way nature. How the author uses that setting to flesh out our leads and romance also pleases the palette.
I liked our leads as individuals. Athena’s a strong woman who knows her own mind, isn’t afraid to pick up a gun in defense of her adopted country, yet vulnerable when it comes to her emotions and position in society. Will, also, stands as an honorable man with a strong mind for strategy and a deep well of emotion in his heart. He’s bound and determined to win her heart and she’s just as determined to give up a love for the ages for his position betterment.
It’s the main relationship where this book falls a bit short. Make no mistake; this is still a romance one can get behind. I loved how Will and Athena played off each other. Their love and emotional attachment are evident for all to see. Yet, there were times when that special spark was missing. Some scenes read flat emotionally, and the whole “Athena is a bastard” stick was used far too often. There was never a time where I stopped rooting for these two. But I wasn’t as emotionally invested as I have been for other relationships.
Great leads, sweet romance, and a detailed setting make this a great read. While it didn’t resonate emotionally with me as much as I would have wished, it might be a different story for someone else. This is the start to another series so things look promising. Give this one a gander!