Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Review -- Never Less Than A Lady

Never Less Than A Lady
Lost Lords Book #2
By Mary Jo Putney
Publisher: Zebra (Kensington)
Release Date: April 27, 2010







As the sole remaining heir to the Earl of Daventry, Alexander Randall knows his duty: find a wife and sire a son of his own. The perfect bride for a man in his position would be a biddable young girl of good breeding. But the woman who haunts his imagination is Julia Bancroft--a village midwife with a dark secret that thrusts her into Randall's protection.

Within the space of a day, Julia has been abducted by her first husband's cronies, rescued, and proposed to by a man she scarcely knows. Stranger still is her urge to say yes. A union with Alexander Randall could benefit them both, but Julia doubts she can ever trust her heart again, or the fervent desire Randall ignites. Yet perhaps only a Lost Lord can show a woman like Julia everything a true marriage can be. . .

Major Alexander Randall has been notified by his odious uncle that he is now the heir presumptive to Daventry and must sell his commission in the army and return home. It's time for him to find a suitable wife, settle down and produce an heir. But the only woman who interests him, who occupies his thoughts is Mrs. Julia Bancroft--widow, midwife and not exactly "proper" wife material. After Alex returns from the war and is in the country visiting friends, he learns that Julia has been kidnapped, and he races to rescue her.

Lady Julia has been hiding out for the last few years, assuming the identity of midwife Julia Bancroft, praying her father-in-law never finds her. Julia married her husband at the tender age of sixteen, never imagining the monster that lurked under his handsome visage. When he falls and hits his head during an argument with her and later dies, both Julia's father-in-law and father accuse her of murder. Cast out, she has no choice but to fashion a new life. But fate can be fickle, and her father-in-law eventually discovers her whereabouts and sends his henchmen to kidnap her.

After Alex rescues Julia, he discovers that she was married to his cousin, the bully who made his childhood a living hell. Alex proposes marriage--something he has secretly desired--in order to offer her protection from his uncle. Given Julia's experience with marriage, she is reluctant to say yes, but there is something about Alex that makes her trust him, so she agrees. Alex fears this could be a marriage in name only---at least for some time--due to the abuse that Julia suffered during her marriage to his cousin. Alex must patiently woo his new bride and earn her trust so that they might have a chance at real happiness.


"I think this is one of the main reasons people get married," Randall said reflectively. "For touch. For warmth and closeness. Passion is all very well, but it's brief. Affectionate touching can be done much more often."


Alex wants Julia with a passion he fears may frighten her. They each bear scars, both physical and emotional, which probably makes them ideal for one another.


A wounded spirit could ache far longer than physical injuries.


Julia is truly physically attracted to Alex, but is understandably wary of having a physical relationship with a man after the horror she endured with her husband. But Alex is loving, patient and willing to let Julia decide when she is ready to be his wife in more than just name.


"My mind and body still have fears, but my heart trusts you," she said as she raised her hand to his cheek. The light brush of her fingertips was startlingly erotic.


For the space of perhaps two dozen heartbeats they held each other, adjusting both physically and mentally to the irrevocable change in their marriage. Then Julia raised her face into a kiss. She filled his senses with touch and taste and scent. His wife, the fulfillment he had longed for and feared he would never find.


Heartwarming, poignant and unbelievably romantic, Never Less Than A Lady will have you cheering for Julia and Alex and leave you smiling with satisfaction as you close the book. Ms. Putney has given her readers another treat with the second book of her Lost Lords series. It's not necessary to read the first book, Loving A Lost Lord. In fact, I did not, but I immediately purchased it when I finished Never Less Than A Lady. I can't wait to see which "Lost Lord" is the hero of Ms. Putney's next book!

~ Gannon


25 comments:

  1. Hey Gannon - I'm a big fan of MJ Putney's books. She has the ability to suck you into her characters; and after reading Loving a Lost Lord last year (which I loved) I was so excited to find out it was going to be a series. I'm been looking forward to reading Never Less Than a Lady for a while.

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  2. I'm a long-time fan of Putney's books, especially her straight historicals. Can't wait to read this one! Thanks, Gannon!

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  3. Oh, My Gosh!! 5 STARS?! Great review, Gannon.

    I am new to Mary Jo Putney. In fact, just read my first one of hers 2 weeks ago. (ONE PERFECT ROSE). NLTAL sounds awesome! Can't wait to get it.

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  4. Marisa, I missed read Loving A Lost Lord, but it is now in my TBR pile! This is a fantastic series.

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  5. PJ, I know you'll love this one!

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  6. Thanks, Deb. It's a lovely story. Hope you get a chance to pick up a copy--enjoy!!

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  7. I have to admit I haver never read, as far as I can remember, a book by Mary Jo Putney.. But this one intrigues me.. I will have to put in on my tbr list...

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  8. Wonderful review, Gannon! MJP has been an autobuy for me since her trad Regency days. I read Never Less Than a Lady as soon as I had it in hand and loved it. I liked Loving a Lost Lord, but I think NLTAL is even better. I fell in love with the Lost Lords heroes in their first incarnation as the friends of Jack Langdon in The Marriage Spell, one of my favorite MJP books. I think Mackenzie is going to be the next Lost Lord hero. I can't wait!

    Deb, One Perfect Rose is one of my all-time favorite romances, and the new cover is gorgeous.

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  9. Kathleen, you will really enjoy MJP

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  10. Janga, I think Mackenzie is next too ..or at least I hope he is! *g*

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  11. Gannon, MJP has said that the next hero is a "lovable rogue" who appeared in NLTAL and was not part of her original group of Lost Lords carried over from the incomplete Stone Saints series. That souns like Mackenzie to me. I think we have a safe bet. :)

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  12. Definitely sounds like Mackenzie. Yay!!

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  13. Great review, Gannon. This book is on my TBR stack screaming out to me. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who can only read one book at a time. Especially if they are different genres (the book I'm reading now is Women's Fiction - Barbara O'Neal's The Secret of Everything).

    What I love about MJ Putney is the way she writes tortured heroines. Two of my favorite books by her are Shattered Rainbows and The Bartered Bride. Both heroines were victims at one point and suffered enormously, but she didn't portray them as weak or TSTL. They were sufficiently wary due to their history but very strong courageous women. And the men that healed them were to die for!

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  14. Irish, MJP does strong heroines who have been victims very well.

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  15. OMG, I am reading this as we speak!! And so far, I am loving it, was thinking of doing my own review, but I don't think I could top yours!!
    Wonderful, Gannon!

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  16. Great review Gannon! I haven't read a MJP book in a while and this sounds like the perfect one to start back on.

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  17. Buffie, this is a great MJP book to "start back" with. :-)

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  18. Terrific review, Gannon! I was going to post earlier, but I wasn't at home and couldn't remember which MJP I've read before. It was One Perfect Rose and I loved it. I bought it a long time ago when they did a trial run with the smaller hardbacks. Does anyone else remember that? I believe Diana Palmer and Elaine Coffman each had one, too.

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  19. Andrea, I still have my copy of One Perfect Rose in the small hardback!

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  20. I am going to have to check this one out as well, if I have read MJP I don't remember so it would have been quite a while back. So should I get the first one then read the second one ladies? Will I be lost if I start with NLTAL?

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  21. Dianna, you won't be lost if you don't read Loving A Lost Lord first, but it may be more enjoyable. I didn't read it first, but I bought it immediately after I read NLTAL. Fantastic series!!

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  22. This one is high on my wish list. I love her books and have for years. The wounded hero or heroine, in this case both, is a favorite story line of mine. Thanks for a review that she a little more light on this story for me.

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  23. The wounded hero or heroine, in this case both, is a favorite story line of mine.

    Librarypat, you're sure to love NLTAL if you like that theme. :-)

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