Welcome to my stop for Not Quite a Wife, the sixth book in the Lost Lords series from Mary Jo Putney. Please be sure to check out the other tour stops, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win one of three Print copies of NOT QUITE A WIFE.
My first encounter with this author or series, and I couldn’t wait to see if my expectations were met: it also feeds into my obsession with all things historical, and who doesn’t love a bit of trial and redemption?
James and Laurel were married young, she very sheltered and exceptionally pious, her upbringing even discounting the fact that she is female was vastly different from James’ early years, a key factor in their marital issues. James was a ‘difficult’ child, and was sent to what would today be thought of as an ‘alternative’ school for difficult children, where he reformed his ways to ultimately work for the Crown during the Napoleonic Wars as an intelligence agent. Now he has fallen ill and after a mugging has landed on his estranged wife’s doorstep.
These two really had a desire to honor their vows and move forward in their relationship: James never lost his feelings for Laurel, her convictions, her goodness: in some ways I thought he was looking to find redemption in all things when he re-gained her esteem. For her part, Laurel had retreated to her brother’s care and was busily working as a sort of social-worker, dealing with victims of domestic violence and other human rights issues, long before it was a ‘popular’ or even ‘acknowledged’ issue. In their time apart, Lauren had exposure and experiences that fueled her maturation: she really needed to see that life is not only black and white, but that shades of grey do exist.
James was almost instantly three-dimensional with characteristics and a personality that was both endearing and honest. His desire for Laurel, and his desire to support her emotionally and in her chosen work with the abused strikes a chord, and it doesn’t hurt that she is pregnant with his child and heir presumptive. Unfortunately it took a while for that reason, a very good one in the time, to lose the ‘forced’ feeling, and that is lost in a series of mini-recaps of all the other characters in the series – becoming less about Laurel and James and their relationship, and more about the other couples and their happy endings. Perhaps some of my difficulties with Laurel came with the piling on of traits and characteristics that often were at odds: her religious fervor contrasting with her willingness and excited participation in the bedroom after an eleven year absence, her constant need for approval from her parents who she doesn’t seem to particularly care for, even the odd way of push-pull communication and signals she sends to James that show her decided lack of ability to apply information learned to her own self and situations.
I was not in love with this book, but I did find a desire to see others in the series: the little windows into lives and relationships from the earlier series has me curious, and Putney’s information about social customs, events and the changes in society that were just starting to come to light in England at the time brought a whole new level of interest to the story and series.
Title: Not Quite a Wife
Author: Mary Jo Putney
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington, Zebra
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦Audible
Marry in haste, repent at leisure.
James, Lord Kirkland, owns a shipping fleet, half a London gaming house, and is a ruthlessly effective spymaster. He is seldom self-indulgent…except when it comes to the gentle, indomitable beauty who was once his wife.
Laurel Herbert gave James her heart as an innocent young girl—until she saw him perform an act of shocking violence before her very eyes. That night she left her husband, and he let her go without a word of protest.
Now, ten years later, a chance encounter turns passionate, with consequences that cannot be ignored. But as they try to rebuild what was broken, they must face common enemies and a very uncommon love….
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.