Dearly Beloved

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

This book was marketed as being new but after downloading and beginning to read it, it seems to have been a republishing if an older title.
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Available now: Dearly Beloved
**** 3.5 stars: High seas adventure, restrained passion - exactly what you want in a historical romance.

Recommended readers:

If you like Mary Jo Putney
If you like English historical romance
If you like rekindled love stories

Here's my Rankings:

4/5 for characters
3/5 for plot
3.5/5 overall
Diana Lindsey has been raising her son quietly in the countryside - but something has been calling her to the city.  When she finds herself much desired in the city but meets the Viscount St. Aubyn, who's equally attracted. The two find their attraction unstoppable, but secrets dangerously threaten them both. Mary Jo Putney's Dearly Beloved is a fast-reading, passionate historical romance.

Available now: Dearly Beloved
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Once again, Ms Putney has brought us a tale that causes us to think.  How brutal were some fathers towards their daughters?  How does a child survive having never been loved?  After the first chapter I wanted to stop reading, but decided that I needed to see where it led.  I'm glad I stuck with it. You will learn so much about these two people...and for me. I am happy they found their HEA.
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Dearly Beloved by Mary Jo Putney is a reissue that is an intensely emotional read with discomfiting elements, as two damaged souls who have never known real love are brought together. 

Gervase Brandelin is made to marry a fanatical clergyman's daughter whom he unwittingly compromised.  After forcibly consummating the marriage, he sends his "wife" away with instructions that he will provide a living allowance but never wants to see her again.

Fast forward several years, and Gervase meets and is fascinated by beautiful courtesan Diana Lindsey, not realizing she is the spouse he sent away.  Gervase and Diana both have to come to terms with their past before they can have a future.

Putney is a skilled writer and, while I have enjoyed many of her works, this is not one of my favorites. 

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Content Warning:
Extreme Misogyny 
I received this as an early review book and it was a struggle to the end. The "Hero" begins our story enacting violent rape as revenge and then feeling sorry for himself. He is meant to grow and redeem himself which only happens in the last 25 pages and only in a very shallow way. We get to spend the previous 485 pages watching as his rape survivor tries to heal his wounds and make him a better man while he does everything in his power to prove he is nothing but trash.
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#DearlyBeloved #NetGalley

**Thanks to the author and netgalley for the advanced copy of this book. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.** 

There are no words for this book. I mean literally. I don’t think I even made it to the end of the first chapter. And that in itself says a lot. I’m disgusted with the “hero” of this story, if hero is what he is. 

A drunken Englishman enters the wrong bedchamber in a Scottish pub and is caught by a overly religious father. Who immediately damns that the Englishman marry his daughter. The wedding ceremony is rushed and for all appearances both are devastated by the outcome. 

This is the story plot that has started many a historical romance. The drunken fool usually try’s to make up for his stupidity. And how I wish this novel had gone down that route. To have developed this human hero who would make mistakes. 

But no... the hero was no hero. He raped her — at no point can you justify what the hero is doing. His blatant disregard and the callous way he demands to never set eyes on her again. 

How are you meant to grow to love his? You can’t. He’s the perfect “bad” guy and yet she’s painting him as the hero. 

I can’t bare to turn another page ... and to be frank I wish I’d read the reviews before requesting. The author is usually a solid historical romance author but this... this is something else.  

It’s a 1 star and DNF from me
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When it comes to strong women, author Mary Jo Putney always delivers. Her novel, Dearly Beloved, written in 1990 and re-released in 2019, is no exception. But instead of just one tough lady, this novel boasts three! Each woman has suffered and struggled. Because of the hardships and heartaches, these ladies have endured, they have become better versions of themselves.

Despite these strong female characters, I took issue with several aspects of this novel. Sadly, the first chapter concluded with a less-than-fatherly father forcing the male protagonist to marry his underage daughter. The protagonist takes out his frustration on the unsuspecting girl, raping her. Fast forward several years: This same man now treats women with barely concealed contempt while, lurking is a villain, who is much, much worse.

Like all late-20th-century bodice-ripper books, Dearly Beloved's women are used and abused, all in the name of love and romance. That is a no-no for my modern sensibilities. And no matter how likable or admirable the female characters are, I still felt slightly sullied after reading this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zebra Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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Copyright says 1990, 2019. I haven't found any reference by Putney that says anything about any revisions or updated. If not it didn't need it. 
Unpleasant circumstances leave two people scarred. Years later Diana Lindsay seeks love in London. Little did she realize that the man she was forced to marry would become her lover. Once secrets are revealed, love may be lost. Set during Napoleon's war, spy's become another problem. A very emotional rollercoaster that tears the heartstrings and leaves you inevitably drained. But that HEA makes it worth it.
Putney is a master craftswoman in creating an excellent story. A free copy from Netgalley for an honest review.
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Awful. It was awful. I know it’s a re-release, and there was some dodgy romance written in the 80’s & 90’s which doesn’t age well, but this was AWFUL. It begins with a rape. Our “hero” is bitter, angry, and horny. Our heroine is barely legal, a total stranger to him, and zonked out on laudanum. He rapes her, not a coerced into consent/compliance rape, but an actual, violent rape. It doesn’t get any better from there.
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Dearly Beloved is a republishing of a book first published in 1990. 

Diana Lindsay yearns for a new life for her and her son. When a chance encounter with a former courtesan opens up new opportunities for her, she sets out with her new friend to become a courtesan, on her first night 'out' she meets the one man she never expected to attend. 

Gervase Brandelin, the Viscount St. Aubyn, is seeking to atone for the sins of his past. Now an elite spymaster he has no interest in a paramour, but when he meets Diana, he finds himself unable to resist.

Both have secrets in their past that could prove challenging to overcome, and with danger lurking around the corner, the two lovers face an uphill battle.  

This book is not for the faint of heart, I find it difficult to say too much without giving spoilers, but both characters are horrible with the "hero" being particularly loathsome. The first chapter features the hero raping a teenage girl. Do not read this book if you are sensitive to abuse. 

I received an arc of this book, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I was very divided by this book. It started off very  disturbing,  it had alot of negativity and violence in it. 
Not just one rape ( described in detail), but 2 (the 2nd told in retrospect). 
I found the abuse these 2 characters suffered at the hands of their parents and then hurled upon each other was just too much. 
It had the potential to be such a good story. I actually liked seeing the relationship between Diana and Gervase develope. I liked seeing Gervase thaw.
But the conclusion of the book was so harsh. It just left you feeling  numb because of all the bad things that happened.  
So I give it 3 stars for the middle of the book. But the beginning and the end need to go.
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I don’t think I have read a book by Mary Jo Putney which I have not loved.  The writer crafts a sensitive, dark but compelling story with a strong female lead.  


I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.
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Diana Lindsay has been sheltered all her life.She wants to see the world as she grows more unhappy with her life at present. She wants to see it with her young son that she is raising by herself. Due to a certain circumstance, she cannot marry. Maybe as a courtesan, she will find  protection and happiness. Due to a bad experience in her past, a life as a courtesan may be the answer to her problems. She decides to move to London to find her fortune. Her beauty and charm make her sought after by the richest men of the ton. There is a secret that she carries that make her unmarriagable. Gervase Brandelin, the Viscount St. Aubyn, has spent his life trying to overcome a past from when he was young. He is a spymaster, who has his attention on only one thing. He cannot afford for anything to distract him. When he meets Diana, he knows she can never be his completely.
Diana and Gervase have secrets that will tear them apart. There is a scene that may be disturbing to some readers. I loved the book and how the characters came together. I received this book from Net galley and Kensington Books for a honest review.
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Here is my fair and honest review for this ARC.  Here is an example why Mary Jo Putney is the star in her genre that she is!  Superb story, characters,  sensitivity and a depth of histiry that not everyone can portray.  One of the best books i have had the pleasure of reading in some time.  I do not give out 5 stars easily but this one was an easy decision.
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Diana Lindsay finds herself and her son moving to London where she finds herself the cities most desired woman. She knows she can’t marry and only one man Gervase Brandelin, the Viscount St. Aubyn has captured her attention.  Gervase has spent his life in service to England, but his past still haunts him that is until he meets Diana. This is a story of two wounded souls both yearning for love and hope for a life filled with happiness.  A love that heals the heart and soul, if only they didn’t have secrets and a deadly enemy waiting to tear them apart. A captivating story into the lives of people both with scarred and wounded souls, each looking for redemption and love, finding a love of a lifetime isn’t only a dream if they have the courage to believe in it and live HEA!!!  I voluntarily read and reviewed this book.
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Ms. Putney has been a long time favorite author.  This story is very thought provoking and left me with very mixed feelings. The first paragraph is extremely dark and almost distasteful and seems an aberration as the story picks up in a very different place.  Of course she cleverly ties the present to that episode as the story unfolds. 
We fast forward to a cold snowy night and a dying woman in search of shelter which she finds in a small cottage. Thanks to the care she receives the woman recovers and tells her hostess a young single mother tales about her life in London as a courtesan. Diana, a young single mother looking for some zing in her life  decides to pursue a life as a courtesan. At her first outing she immediately catches the eye of the reclusive Gervase and so begins a relationship. 
Even as Diana tries to keep her young son isolated Gervase soon breaches the boundaries that she places between her personal and professional life and against all odds becomes friends with her epileptic son. Gervase's spying activities for his country and on his new girl friend and Napoleonic plots create a nice touch of excitement to the background of Diana and Gervase's romance.  There is a nice trail of breadcrumbs for readers to start seeing the threads fall into place even as Diana continues to resist exclusivity. 
The author raises many difficult subjects in this story: rape, epilepsy, woman's role in regency England as she weaves a deft tale together but some of the elements of the plot did not feel real to me.
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I must admit that I have loved many of Mary Jo Putney’s books, but I found “Dearly Beloved” a difficult read. Whilst her characters of Gervase and Diana are troubled, with many past secrets, I didn’t find the story line as developed. The story follows Gervase, Viscount St Aubyn, in his younger days where he works as a spy for the Foreign Office. He meets a young girl, Mary, after his mistress leaves, and believing her to be a prostitute, rapes her. Whilst they marry, Gervase abandons her. Several years on, he meets Diana, but is unable to offer her marriage. However, Diana’s life is intricately bound to Gervase, of which he is completely unaware.
The storyline is quite clever, but several elements do prevent this book from being a great read. Diana is a strong character and manages to overcome the challenges thrown at her. Gervase, does struggle throughout and for this, I found him a difficult character to warm to. He puts up so many barriers that is with any wonder what Diana found to love. The rape scene, made for uncomfortable reading and whilst pivotal to the story, I wonder if this could have been dealt with differently.
An interesting read but not for the fainthearted. I received an advanced review copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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This story invokes myriad of emotions. This is not a story for the faint-hearted. There are utterly horrific segments. I would credit Mary Jo Putney's writing  proficiency to keep me turning the pages.

Not all love stories are sweet and free from roughness. This is one of those stories.

Gervase Brandelin, Lord St Aubyn is an anti-hero, not your typical romantic dreamboat. The heroine, Diana Lindsay is compassionate, the hero's antithesis. But their coming together is starkly sensual and a soothing balm to their weary souls and enervated hearts.

I appreciate the issues on health, politics, the wars, the treaties and also mentions of dates and historical figures who helped shaped the world today.

The secondary characters have vastly contributed to the dynamism of the narrative.

This is an eGalley copy from the publisher which I voluntarily read. My review is honest, all opinions are entirely mine.
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I did not realise this was a 1990 re-release. That mistake is on me, I got excited when I saw a MJP book on here and requested it like *snaps fingers* that! It wasn't until I started reading that I thought 'wait one hot second, I think this book is my age". I went and looked up the original publication date and I wasn't wrong. It's a fraction older than me. I usually avoid older romances, because often even though they're a great insight into where romance was at the time, they can be problematic from a modern feminist POV. 

I kept reading though, because I was really hooked by MJP's gorgeous writing style. No one can turn a phrase quite like the stalwarts of the genre. But I knew I was in trouble when I read, "Surely the down payment he’d given the doxy entitled him to her conscious participation.” 

Uh oh.

Then it got worse. The hero raped a woman. Which is bad. To make it worse was she was 14. 

So obviously there was no way I was ever going to be able to like the hero. I wasn't even sure I could keep reading. I gave it a noble effort, and even skipped through to the middle of the book and I read a bit from there, but I couldn't finish it. 

I know romance in 1990 was a different beast. I understand that, and I don't seek out books to read if I think I'll find them problematic or dislike them. I didn't intend to be in this position. 

I won't do a proper review of this book on my Instagram, but I've take a lovely picture of the book and I will post it in about a week and and talk about the bind I got myself in by not realising the OG publication date. I'll make it clear the fault was mine for not seeing that it was a re-release. I'll also use it as an opportunity to ask followers for recs on MJP's newer books. She writes really beautifully, and I'm very keen to read one of her more recently written books. 

I'm writing this as feedback, because essentially my feedback bottles down to this: 

Please Netgally and publishers, put content warnings at the beginning of books if there are scenes of rape. Especially if you're re-releasing, that's the perfect time to do it. There will still be people who will enjoy this book or for whom it's a tried and true favourite, but new readers deserve the heads up. 

Thanks for reading my feedback, I hope you find it fair and useful. 

Feminist Romance
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Mary Jo Putney is a master writer. This is a classic story that she has put back in print and one of her earlier works. It shows off her witty sense of humor and her strong sense for female empowerment. Diana embodies all those. She meets her match in Gervase. They begin a dazzling courting dance fraught with steamy scenes and lots of excitement. A wonderful story.t
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