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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review: Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney

Even in the best series there is going to be a book that lets your down. This was it for me.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Release Date: August 25, 2015

After the death of his sweetheart when he was at university, Daniel Herbert buried his grief in medical studies and his passion for healing. Viewed as a saint by those who know him, in his own mind he never quite manages to live up to his own high standards.

Most men would be thrilled to learn they've inherited a title and estate from a distant relative, but Daniel is appalled because the burden of wealth will interfere with his medical calling. Warily he accepts that he must enter society and seek a wife—a sensible woman who can oversee his properties, leaving him free to continue his work. He does not expect to become intoxicated by a woman called the Black Widow, who is as mysterious as she is shockingly beautiful…

Jessie Kelham’s looks have always been a curse. Now alone with a young daughter and a perilous secret, she is in need of protection. But dangerously attractive Daniel Herbert is not the kind of husband she has in mind. If he recognizes her, the demons of her past will surely erupt. Yet they cannot keep apart—and soon they are drawn into a union that may bring joy—or shattering danger…

I’m not sure what went wrong with this book because up until now I’ve enjoyed this series by Mary Jo Putney so Not Always a Saint was a bit of a letdown and to me seemed like it was part of a totally different series.

The plot revolves around Daniel Herbert, a doctor who still grieves for the woman he lost when he was in medical school. When Daniel inherits a title and estate he is less than thrilled at what he sees as an interference with his passion for healing. He reluctantly accepts that he must now find a wife and his plan is to find someone who won’t interfere and who will oversee his properties. His plans are quickly ruined when he meets Jessie Kelham, who is known as the Black Widow. Jessie needs protection for her and her young daughter from the secret she carries and her attraction to Daniel makes him the last man she should consider for a husband, she doesn’t have much of a choice.

It sounds like a good read but the reality of it for me was that Not Always a Saint was too stiff in both plot execution and characters. I’m such a fan of the Lost Lords series and was looking forward to Daniel’s story but I really felt like this book just wasn’t up to par with what I was used to from previous books.

I don’t like perfect characters. At all. They’re boring and do nothing to push a story forward, nor do they keep my interest for long. Daniel was that character which caught me off guard because in the previous book he was anything but boring. Daniel was just too good of a character, heck, he was a goody two shoes parading as a doctor and I just needed more from him in order to see him as a flesh and blood man. I didn’t think he was going to take the “Saint” part of the title to heart! To me, Daniel pretty much remained the same guy at the end of the book as he was in the beginning.

Jessie was the more interesting of the two but I did feel like she came with an unbelievable amount of baggage for just one character and made the balance between her and Daniel feel one sided. She was more like a tornado, all chaos and turbulence. The resolution of her conflicts was done rather quickly and without a feeling of real effort from Jessie or Daniel. I did like how she brought disorder to Daniel’s quiet, boring existence and in a small way, made him a bit more believable as a character as he tried to sort out his feelings towards Jessie.

Final Verdict: Not my favorite read by Mary Jo Putney, I kept having to put this one down and pick it up again much later because it couldn’t really hold my interest for long. There are a few little gems in the book but they’re few and far between. Not Always a Saint didn’t feel like a Lost Lords novel to me and the characters lacked that spark that previous characters in the series had.

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