Early Book Review: Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney

Not Always a Saint is the seventh book in the historical romance series, The Lost Lords, by Mary Jo Putney. It is currently scheduled for release on August 25 2015.  This is a book that can stand well on its own, but reading the previous books might give a better sense of some of the secondary characters. I have only read one of the previous books.

Daniel Herbert has spent most of his life focused on his medical studies and his passion for healing. Viewed as saintly by those who know him, he never quite manages to live up to his own high standards.  Daniel is appalled because the burden of wealth that comes with an unexpected inheritance, and the likelihood that it will interfere with his medical work. Warily he accepts that he must enter society and seek a wife, preferably a sensible woman who can oversee his properties, leaving him free to continue his work. 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.

Not Always a Saint is an solid read, with my only complaint that it got a little too complicated and dramatic for my tastes. Daniel is a good, honorable man that loves his work and honestly cares about the welfare of other people. Jessie is a woman with many secrets, and two dead husbands. Rumors abound, and a greedy nephew plots to take over her daughter's unexpected inheritance- and he will stop at nothing to get his way. When these two run across each other in the ballrooms of London, each looking to marry for their own reasons, their plans all go awry. Neither planned for each other; but attraction, plots against Jessie, and similar needs draw them together against the odds. Marriage is only the start of their journey, as secrets from the past and that greedy nephew keep creeping up to cause danger and drama. I really enjoyed the honesty and banter between such honestly good hearted characters. Jessie has pretty much face every bad thing that could happen to a woman, and managed to stay a loving and compassionate woman. Daniel has faced hard times as well, and has focused all his grief and disappointment into helping others. While problem after problem arises, they actually talk things out and face everything head on. Most often, the conflict in romance comes from conflict between the main characters, rather than outside sources, so that was a change of pace.  I also liked that they were not instant bed mates, although they got to that pretty quick, since the wedding is fairly early in the book.

Not Always a Saint is an entertaining read, with plenty of action and witty banter. I think everything got a little too complicated, with several 'big reveals' but I enjoyed the character's banter and connection. All of the big drama worked, but I did not think it was absolutely necessary, a few more deep conversations between Daniel and Jessie would have covered all the ground needed for their happy ending without so many near death experiences.

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