Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: No Longer A Gentleman by Mary Jo Putney

From the Back Cover:

Grey Sommers, Lord Wyndham, never met a predicament he couldn’t charm his way out of. Then a tryst with a government official’s wife during a bit of casual espionage in France condemns him to a decade in a dungeon, leaving him a shadow of his former self. Yet his greatest challenge may be the enigmatic spy sent to free his body—the only woman who might heal his soul.

Cassie Fox lost everything in the chaos of revolution, leaving only a determination to help destroy Napoleon’s empire through her perilous calling. Rescuing Grey is merely one more mission. She hadn’t counted on a man with the stark beauty of a ravaged angel, whose desperate courage and vulnerability thaw her frozen heart. But a spy and a lord are divided by an impassable gulf even if they manage to survive one last, terrifying mission….

My Thoughts:

I was excited to get a double pack of Mary Jo Putney romances for review, and not having read her before, I decided to start with her newest, No Longer A Gentleman. Besides, I have a weakness for historical spy romances, so I really wanted to read this one!

The story takes place in France and England during the Napoleonic War and follows British agent Cassie Fox as she helps break fellow agent Grey Sommers out of the French prison that's been his home for ten years. But breaking him out was just the beginning. Now she has to get him through hostile territory to the coast and smuggle him across the Channel, evading police, soldiers, and angry citizens along the way, and all while trying to deny her feelings for Grey and the bond growing between them. After all, it's only natural that a man so long without human company would latch on to the first woman to come along. But that's all it is. Once Grey is safely back in his family's fold, he'll take up his duties as the Earl of Costain and find a rich society bride, and Cassie can go back to her life of anonymity. But Grey has other plans. Can he convince Cassie that he wants her to remain by his side as he returns to the family who's given him up for dead, and that he needs her by his side for the rest of his life? Or will he lose everything when an old enemy lures them into a trap to settle a grudge once and for all?

The thing I like best about this novel is the characterization. Simply fantastic. Cassie is utterly convincing as a woman used to blending in and fading away. She's been playing parts for so long, that no one knows who she really is, possibly even she herself does not know who the real Cassie is. And Grey is just devastating as a newly freed prisoner. Ten years in solitary confinement have taken their toll, and it is very difficult for him to readjust into society. The attachment he forms to Cassie is realistic and both touching and heartbreaking.

So, I really wanted to love this. I loved the characters and I loved the story, but this book really dragged for me. There was a lot of repetition, a subplot with Cassie's relatives that went nowhere and seemed to just eat up space, and I found myself skimming quite a bit toward the end. Still a worthwhile read for being different from typical Regency romances, but not special enough to really stand out from the crowd.

My Rating:  3.5 Stars out of 5

*Please Note:  Though I received this book from the publisher for review, these are my honest and unbiased opinions, and I was not compensated in any other way for this review.

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