Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, Heather continued recounting her recent trip to England with fun stories and beautiful photos of the grounds at Hampton Court. Sim gave us more family stories and described her trepidation at visiting a barely known grandmother in north England. Becky reviewed the third book in the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd, A Bitter Truth, and the biography that Elizabeth Gaskell wrote about Charlotte Brontë, The Life of Charlotte Brontë.
Book: Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney, book #7 in the Lost Lords series
Publisher: Zebra Books
Publication date: 2015
Source: Provided by the author via NetGalley for a reviewer fan club that I joined. I don’t normally do that sort of thing, but Mary Jo Putney has been my favorite author for, oh, say, twenty-five years. I guess that makes me a fan!
Summary: Daniel’s life is full — he’s both a doctor and a vicar. He runs a busy clinic in Bristol alongside his sister’s project, a home for abused women. Daniel’s familial relationships, though, are practically at zero. His sister reunited with her husband and spends her time in London and Kent, his parents recently passed away, and the love of his life died years ago when he was away at college. He was fine with all of that until he unexpectedly inherited an estate and a title. Taking advice from his brother-in-law, who is more experienced in this business of being a lord, he heads off to London as a man in want of a wife.
Jessie is also adjusting to changed circumstances. Her elderly husband has died, leaving their young daughter an heiress but also in danger. She is in want of a protector. But, her hidden wicked past causes her to reject Daniel. She doesn’t need a saint as a suitor.
Thoughts: As I wrote last week (a review of the most recent books in Jo Beverley’s Company of Rogues series), I enjoy historical romances set in England. The majority of those take place during the Regency period, from 1811 to 1820, thanks to Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Mary Jo Putney was one of the novelists who bridged the transition from the sweet, short Traditional Regency Romance to the longer format Historical Romance set during the Regency. I started reading these novels at that time, since I much preferred the deeper characterizations and varied settings of the Historical Romances.
Putney’s specialty is complex characters with tortured pasts. The glory of the romance, of course, is that the reader can count on love as a healing force — no matter the problem, love is the answer.
Daniel is a character that Putney readers already love — he’s the brother of Laurel, the heroine of the previous book in this series, Not Quite a Wife. It’s not necessary to read the whole Lost Lords series to enjoy this book (although, it’s lovely, so I definitely recommend it), but I think it’s best to read Not Quite a Wife before reading Not Always a Saint so that you enjoy the full effect of getting to know Daniel over time.
Jessie is a new character and the more tortured one of the pair. Often, it’s the Putney hero with the darker past and the heroine who provides the healing, so this is a nice twist in the genre.
The English settings, especially the interiors of the various houses, are wonderfully drawn in Not Always a Saint. I went to bed each night after reading this book with the fantasy of yet another beautiful home.
Check out the Word Wenches blog — it’s Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, and a slate of other authors who mostly write historical romance. They take turns writing posts and have kept it going for over nine years!
Appeal: For lovers of the historical romance in England.