Classic Putney Fare, strong characters, but a less believable plot,
This review is from: No Longer A Gentleman (Mass Market Paperback)First off, I am a Putney fan and I will always read her novels fondly and review them leniently. She is a gem of a writer who focuses on her characters more than on the extraneous details, and for this, there will always be room on my shelf.
Cassie Fox was introduced (ASFAIK) in Nowhere Near Respectable. And in this she is tasked with recuperating one of the Lost Lords who was previously thought to have died in France. She rescues Grey Wyndham, but he is a shell of his former self. Though at the time, PTSS had not been described as a medical condition, Grey exhibits the classic signs, and if anyone is able to understand his situation, Cassie can. She can relate, having braved countless dangers during her time as a secret agent. The two become close, but in society a great gulf separates them. When they must go back to France to settle old debts, the two must sort out whether their need of each other overcomes their differences.
First off, Cassie is so much more sympathetic as the heroine than as a secondary character in the previous book. Then Grey Wyndham is also an interesting hero, having been a golden boy for whom everything was a fete and having acquired a great deal much depth in his ordeal. Also though the romantic conflict sometimes seems a little stretched thin, Putney writes with conviction and makes me buy into it, so to speak. It is interesting that in this novel, it is Cassie who is the rescuer, and who is the strong one on whom Grey must depend. But it also closely mirrors the relationship of all those men of years past, coming home after having lived through countless ordeals who were literally pulled from despair by the quiet support of the women they had fought for. Though Cassie is a spy and a rather tough lady she does have that quiet acceptance in her that complements not only Grey's wounded spirit, but also his former very outgoing nature. They are a great match romantically speaking. And because they mingle well together, I tend to forget the parts where the plot makes little sense.
Unfortunately this plot does have parts where it's stretched past suspension of disbelief to further the character's story. Grey having been held ten years just for the sin of having been caught in bed with his gaoler's wife seems a little extreme. Had he been held, tortured and killed, it would have made sense, but to hold onto the grudge that long, and not even have tried to make the best of having a strong political hostage after having cooled down a year or two, when one is ambitious in a country at war. I don't know. There are other instances, where the plot takes a backseat to the need for action or the need for drama. Like I said it is hard to complain when the romance is this good. Still, Putney sometimes does better.
A good book, Fans of Putney will rejoice for an original romance title, others might enjoy a not so typical historical romance, and might come to want to read the rest of Putney's work.