Cover Image: Once Dishonored

Once Dishonored

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Kendra Douglas, Lady Denshire was divorced by her husband on false charges. Unable to get the money in her trust, he takes their son to blackmail her for money. Lucas Mandeville, Lord Foxton is considered to be dishonorable for escaping a French prison during the Napoleon War. After the war, he stayed in France and lived a Franciscan life following a priest who was a bonesetter. Returning to England, he and Kendra work together to find her son and restore her reputation. For Lucas he needs forgiveness. The right hero and heroine combination for an interesting book and a passionate romance. 
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.
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The book was an easy read but I was not able to connect completely to the characters. I did enjoy the story.
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I received a copy of this from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. While I have read and loved books by this author in the past, this one left me wanting. I am not one to like insta-lust but there was just not enough chemistry between the main characters - granted, they were going through a lot but still, if it's a romance novel, I need the love. The beginning seemed rushed and not very plausible - I think there's a set number of pages that editors (at the readers' request) prefer and Mary Jo Putney had to choose where to cut from. It felt like she picked the start of the story and that did not help my engagement with it. It was well written but not overly entertaining or memorable
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Could not seem to get into this one, slow build maybe? Just was not for me. Cover is gorgeous though.
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Another wonderful story of courage, redemption, and of course love by Mary Jo Putney.  I love The Rogues Redeemed Series.  Mary Jo's stories glide along at a wonderful pace,  her characters are first-rate.  She knows how to pull the reader into her stories with action, adventure, and surprises that will leave you gasping and satisfied to the very end.  Her love scenes are erotic and sensual without being crude or offensive.  I have been reading her books for a long time and will always anticipate the next in her wonderful series.  My favorite is The Fallen Angels Series and The Silk Trilogy. I have never read a book by her that I wouldn't recommend.  She is one of my go-to authors and the diversity and volume of her work stand the test of time.
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This book was amazing! I've read all of the Rogues Redeemed books, and this one does not disappoint! This book has a good mix of romance, mystery, justice, and some unexpected surprises! This book can be read by itself, but as there are many appearances from the characters from the other Rogues Redeemed books, it is nice to know the background of the other HEAs. 

I wanted to learn fencing after I read this book LOL. Enjoy!
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Kendra Douglas is living as a disgraced divorcee after a scandalous past she did not commit.  She needs to prove the scandal did not happen in order to get her son back. Royal Navy officer, Lucas Mandeville, Lord Foxton has faced his own share of scandal and a dishonorable past.  He feels for Kendra and offers to help her unravel the mystery and replace her standing and reputation in society so she can regain custody of her young son. The two are perfect for each other, both are wounded by society but are unwilling to give up and live a life of shame as society dictates.  They fight together to right the wrongs and find a love worth fight for too.  I have voluntarily read and reviewed the excellent book.
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What I especially liked in this novel are the historical points used here: the existence in this period of parole prisoners, who agreed to wait for a prisoners’ exchange and enjoyed as such more liberty, the conditions of the rare divorces in England, that is a civil trial for adultery for the male lover then a religious trial for the wife – because only husbands could ask for a divorce, and their wives never had the right to defend themselves as their word didn’t exist for the period laws -, the first fencing club open to women in London, and the beginning of the shelters of women in distress.

Our main characters are both victims of scorn from the Ton: Lucas was a parole prisoner, but because of the mental tortures and the repeated blows he preferred to escape, which is considered as a serious moral sin. As he feels guilty himself for finally fleeing he doesn’t do anything to defend himself. As for Kendra, her husband divorced her by making believe she was unfaithful with three of his friends, and if she doesn’t lower her eyes in front of the surrounding scorn, she doesn’t know how to prove her innocence. Their fortuitous encounter is going to boost them both, Lucas especially being very understanding and empathetic, and allow them to improve first their self-confidence and then both their situations.

Lucas is a kind hero, who after his evasion traveled with an itinerant bonesetter monk, and though learned his methods. We see him accept his past through the heroine’s influence, and jump on the occasion to work in a women shelter to use his therapeutic knowledge – and this healing power by laying on of hands that he already possessed before…
Kendra is a strong heroine who refuses to bow to the society diktats. She wants more than anything to get her son back, as he was kidnapped by her husband, and to restore her reputation, and we see her straighten her spine with the help of the hero and the friends he brings in.

These friends are numerous, more than volumes in the series or so it seems, and some probably come from other series from the same author, but as I already said that doesn’t disturb the story’s understanding. At most the reader will be intrigued and will aim to know more about them – more books to read!! Lol. And if the men are looking for witnesses allowing to refute the husband’s sayings, the women surround Kendra with their kindness and their friendship, taking her with them to the fencing club to help take her mind out of things (hence the woman’s clothes on the cover).

The instant friendship from all these women for the heroine, and the fact everyone believes her without doubting for a second, and bend over backward to help her – good for her, but it seems a bit Carebears-land -, are part of the points that bothered me a little, like the hero’s healing power because having learned bone-setting methods clearly weren’t enough, or the heroine suddenly remembering something that happened to her when her son was born 9 years before and the discoveries that ensue, or lastly the fact that actually the search for witnesses is done by other people so we’re waiting for things to progress just like she is.

I must say I was still more interested by how them would vanquish the husband than by the love story in itself. Not that it’s badly done, on the contrary the characters look good together, they resist just right and for good reasons, and the love scenes are well written, but I thought it flowed too easily, and what’s more it’s lacking steaming passion.

However I had a good reading time with this novel even if I wasn’t completely hooked, and as one previous couple intrigued me, I’m going to read their book.
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Lucas Mandeville, Baron Foxton, served admirably as an officer in the Royal Navy, but that all ended when his ship was captured, and he was taken prisoner by the French.  Given the fact that he broke his parole, his honor is now in question and his first attempt at braving a London ballroom isn’t going so well.  Lucas would rather be anywhere else, in fact.

When a lovely lady enters the ball dressed all in black and bringing with her not so subtle whispers of scandal, Lucas comes to her aide by asking for a dance.  Lucas realizes he met the now divorced Kendra Douglas before he left for the Navy.  He offers to help her in any way he can as she seeks to clear her blackened reputation and find the beloved son her former husband has hidden from her.  As they work together to uncover the truth of what happened on the night that brought about her ruin, Lucas and Kendra develop a close relationship and a trust that could see them through a happy life together, if they can ever clear the way forward in the midst of such disaster.

This is only my fourth read from this author, but I can safely say it is my favorite of her works.  We have a mature hero and heroine communicating openly with each other and helping each other through their respective issues and hurts.  There was something lovely in that, especially when added to the great chemistry they had together.  The rallying of friends and allies around Kendra and Lucas was also quite delightful, as was the fact that this felt like a hard-won second chance for both of them.  The plot took us all over the place, but somehow it always felt purposeful, rather than discombobulated.  This story held my attention and I loved that Lucas and Kendra stood up for themselves and each other.  I’m hoping this series continues.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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This book, although an easy read, is quite quick in resolution. The solution to the main character's dilemma is almost too easy and the rapidity of the switch of their tormentors' views made for a nice story, but there was little conflict to make the story exciting.
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My favorite part of this book was the hero, Lucas. He is sweet and supportive and decides to help an almost stranger with an unbelievable story, to recover her son and restore her reputation.
Kendra is intelligent and strong. She has suffered a lot during her marriage and when his husband made her look like an unfaithful wife and obtained a divorce in order to control her money, she stands up for herself.
The plot seems a bit slow and hard to believe in some parts but I really like most of it.
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Once Dishonored by Mary Jo Putney
The Rogues Redeemed #5

This book resonated and educated all in one story. I loved the idea of two people coming together that had both experienced situations that gave them insight into how the other was thinking and feeling. The two were mature, insightful, caring, and wise. They came together over a cause that gave them both purpose and achieved the goal they set out to achieve…and in the process they found affection, friendship, and abiding love. 

What I liked: 
* That the story felt “real” and I could see myself within the story
* The writing
* Lucas: a good man with gifts that included more than his ability to heal – I liked him
* Kendra: a good woman done wrong – I loved her strength, empathy, and wisdom
* Learning more about divorce laws of the time
* Learning about the “parole” system during war
* The connection between Lucas & Kendra
* That the villain was dealt with 

What I did not like: 
* Kendra’s husband
* The laws of the time…

Did I enjoy this book? Yes
Would I read more by this author? I think so

NOTE: This author seems to either wow me or not connect with me. On this book the connection was immediate and strong and I was definitely wowed. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington-Zebra for the ARC – This is my honest review. 

5 Stars
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After reading most of the books in the Rogues Redeemed series, I was pretty excited for this book. However, I was a little disappointed. I did like the way the book dealt with darker themes and trauma; however, I didn't find there to be enough meat to the rest of the story or enough chemistry between the main characters to balance that off well. I felt that the story fell a little flat at points and didn't really do justice to its predecessors. 

I liked the main characters separate from their relationship with each other, which is a thing the book has going for it. Putney pulled off having a divorced woman who lived through an abusive relationship very well, and for that I applaud her. Lucas' journey with himself and his plotline was also very interesting. Where the book fell flat is when the romance aspect of the book was happening. 

I would suggest reading the books in the series before coming to this one because it helps to feel more attached to these characters and understand the contexts of the story and the stories that came before it. 

Overall ok read, I had higher hopes for it but I still enjoyed it. 

-3 stars- 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me an eARC for my honest opinion in exchange.
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The premise of Once Dishonored is intriguing, bringing together two people who are both unfairly ostracized by London society.  Lucas Mandeville, Lord Foxton, escaped French imprisonment by breaking his parole and escaping, an act that is considered dishonorable. Kendra Douglas has suffered through a scandalous divorce lodged by her husband, and as a result has lost her son.  When they meet in a ballroom, where Kendra has shown up inescorted, Lucas senses her humiliation and asks Kendra to dance.  

Kendra shares the story of her husband’s abuse and betrayal, and Lucas finds himself offering to help.  He introduces her to his friends, Simon and Suzanne (from Once a Spy) and they also offer their assistance in finding her son and clearing her name.

So far, so good. Two wounded people with troubled pasts meet and work together to right a wrong. But from there, the plot turns on one coincidence after another, to the point where it just becomes silly. Caution: spoilers ahead.

Kendra wants to learn fencing so she can defend herself. Lucas just happens to belong to a fencing club that admits women, and Suzanne just happens to have a circle of friends (from the previous books in this series) that includes several women who fence there.  Lucas just happens to know Lord Kirkland, a former British spymaster (from a previous Putney series) with contacts everywhere, and he is happy to lend a hand.  All of the people Kendra meets accept her without reservation, even though we’re told that a divorcee is one step above a leper.  When the evil ex-husband reappears, as readers know he must, it’s to accuse Kendra of hiding their son, who has run away from boarding school.  The boy turns up on Kendra’s London doorstep that very night even though he’s only nine years old and the boarding school is several hundred miles away. And of course, Lucas just happens to know the headmistress of school for misfit sons…

The nadir was a scene where Lucas, who after his escape from a French prison spent several years assisting a travelling bonesetter, manages to cure a secondary character of an incurable disease by performing a laying on of hands.  This was just ridiculous.

And on and on.  There really isn’t a lot of conflict or danger in this story, and the path to Kendra’s redemption is miraculously smoothed whenever the smallest obstacle appears.  Smoothing obstacles takes the place of any deep chemistry between these two and I didn’t feel their attraction.  Dragging in so many character from previous books just cluttered up the landscape and took time away from Kendra and Lucas, which didn’t serve their romance at all.

Once Dishonored was a miss for me - an interesting premise that never got off the ground.  Mary Jo Putney is usually a reliable go-to when I’m looking for a new read, which makes this one a sad disappointment.

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This is a wonderful romance about two people who are ostracized from society who find kindred spirits in each other.  Lucas Mandeville had been a prisoner of war and held in France.  He escaped when he realized that the man who held him would never allow him to leave alive but as he was on parole it was considered dishonorable.

Kendra Douglas was a heiress whose inheritance is held by and can not be touched by her husband.  As a result, her husband sets her up so he can divorce her and use their son as leverage for funds.  

Kendra and Lucas had met years ago but he was on his way to war so nothing came of it.  When she appears at a ball and is "cut" and gossiped over, he comes to her rescue and learns her story.

I will admit that both the setup of the means for divorce as well as the denouement were over the top and a bit unbelievable.  I did cheer when the villain got his comeuppance but still....

It is a lovely romance and if you're not a stickler about the some elements being a bit unbelievable you'll enjoy.
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This is a voluntary review of an advanced copy.

This book ran a whole range of drama, plot twists, and romance as Kendra and Lucas each fought their own troubling past issues.  Lucas is being shunned because he had the audacity to escape when he was being held as a prisoner of war.  Kendra had the worst problems as her ex-husband dreamed up a plot so evil that she is separated from her son and mistakenly blamed for marital infidelity.

The two meet at a ball and from there work to figure out how to redeem each of their lives as they fall deeper and deeper in love.  Yet, Kendra wonders if they can ever have a future as she cannot legally remarry since her divorce (strange law at that time) and he needs to marry and have legal heir to carry on his title.

It is fun to read their story and the things that they find a long the way - one big surprise!  Since I have not read any of this author's previous books, I wonder if some of the characters were in previous books as there were a lot of them.  If you read a series, it is fun to see the previous book's characters but since I had not, I think I lost some background on all these people and their relationships.  Not a deal breaker as this is easily read as a stand alone book but probably adds to the enjoyment if you have previously encountered the friends that they share.
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Once Dishonored continues the Rogues Redeemed series from veteran romance author Mary Jo Putney. The series features strong, interesting women and a variety of situations. The hero and heroine of this book have both been dishonored in completely different ways. Kendra Douglas finds herself a social pariah after a sensational divorce and loss of her son, none of which was her fault. Lucas Mandeville, now Lord Foxton, has a complex past as a naval officer, military prisoner, assistant to a traveling monk, and bonesetter/healer. He sympathizes with Kendra’s plight and vows to help clear her name with the help of his friends.
Kendra and Lucas were both intriguing characters. Despite their troubles they weren’t bitter. They just wanted to right the wrongs done to them and move on to a better life. Their attraction grew slowly, but steadily. Their relationship was based on genuine affection and respect, with plenty of steamy stuff thrown in. The story had many twists and turns before the HEA.
While this is not Ms. Putney’s strongest book, she is such a solid writer that every story makes a worthwhile read. There were some unusual elements in Once Dishonored: the divorce (a rarity in Regency England), women fencing, Lucas’s power of hands-on healing. The tone of the book was definitely feminist in nature. Overall, a well-written book that keeps the reader’s attention.
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I'm a big fan of the author's books and this is one of those stories that made me fall in love all over again with historical romance.
It's hard to believe that in regency era , a woman was allowed to divorce but it happened and we get a happily ever after with this one. 
I enjoyed their banter, their friendship and romance, the slow burn and acceptance as who they are as they both had a rough past that didn't define them. 
It's a more unusual setting but if you love historical romance , give it a try and i'm sure you'll fall in love with this story as i did.
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Lucas Mandeville, Lord Foxton, is considered an outcast for breaking his prisoner parole, from a torturing French officer.  Kendra Douglas, Lady  Denshire is a divorced outcast whose manipulative abusive husband has taken her son and is determined to break the ironclad trust which protects her money.  But after a chance meeting at a ball, Lucas and Kendra and his many friends join forces to clear her name and find her son.  
Putney grabs the reader from the start and provides a good story with engaging characters and clever plot twists and turns.  Even though this is the fifth in the Rogues series it can be read as a stand-alone, but the back stories of the other characters  are hinted enough to entice the reader to. reading the previous books.  4🌟🌟🌟🌟. I was given this book to review by Netgalley
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I think this book just wasn’t for me! The heroine felt like a damsel in distress & I wanted to se more of who she actually was, rather than hear about her relationships with various men in her life (son, ex, love interest ect.)  i also think there *really* should’ve been a trigger/content warning for the heroine losing her child— I found that to be jarring for me and that’s not even a trigger I have. The authors writing was compelling & easy to follow, this just wasn’t my cup of tea🤷🏼‍♀️
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