ARC Review: Not Quite a Wife by Mary Jo Putney

Format: E-booknotquiteawife
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Lost Lords, #6
Publisher: Zebra Books
Hero: James, Lord Kirkland
Heroine: Laurel Herbert
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 1, 2014
Started On: December 24, 2014
Finished On: December 28, 2014

Marry in haste, repent at leisure.

Not Quite a Wife by Mary Jo Putney is my first read from the author. Book 6 in The Lost Lords series, Not Quite a Wife’s title reminded me of Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas and I expected something similar to that when I requested for the title on Netgalley. And though the story didn’t deliver the exact sort of tale that I was expecting and I found myself a tad bit disappointed in the story, there were aspects to it that worked for me that kept the pages turning.

James, Lord Kirkland is a spymaster and quite a wealthy one at that. Ten years back, James had fallen in love with the Laurel Herbert and married her quite soon after they’d met for the first time. But their love had been a short lived one, or rather a love that had been tested by the other side of his life, a life steeped in violence when required. The fact that Laurel had told him that she never wanted to see him again is the reason James stays away, though his heart bleeds from the loneliness of their separation.

Laurel is the co-founder of a shelter for the abused along with her brother. The life that she had carved out for herself after she had turned away from James is one that she is content with, though the thought that she would never be able to have any children of her own with divorce being a non-option from her estranged husband leaves her feeling bleak. That is until James lands in her life yet again and a sequence of events finds her pregnant with his child.

Thus a pact is made; all that James asks of her is to give him a chance, give them a chance to find out whether they can make their relationship work, for the sake of their unborn child. I loved the premise of the story. It is rare to read historical romances where the lead heroine ventures into issues such as taking care of the abused and the less fortunate in the society. Laurel’s heart is a pure one, and James sees nothing but good in her. She is the light that brightens up his otherwise dark soul and when she took leave, that light had been extinguished from his life for ten long years until James is given the chance to make things work again.

And yet, the violence that is part of James’s life is one that comes to light yet again, driving Laurel to seek a way to move past that particular factor that repels her very core. Though I understood that Laurel’s upbringing hadn’t really prepared her for violence of the sort that James is familiar with, I found myself liking her a little bit less because of her attitude towards James, a man who had been nothing but kind, loving and ardent when it comes to her. I found that for someone like Laurel who is smart and has seen the dark side that life has to offer in the eyes of the abused that comes seeking shelter with her, yet she cannot seem to see past the violence that shrouds James’s life.

I loved James. For me, he was the only reason the story worked to the level it did. He is kind, loving, strong, sweet, loyal and yet lethal as well. The lack left behind by Laurel in my opinion was partly taken care of by James, whose character I absolutely adored. The one unique aspect to the story that I liked was the music that James and Laurel makes together. That opened a doorway to reconciling a lot of issues that existed between James and Laurel.

Recommended for fans of Mary Jo Putney.

Final Verdict: Not Quite a Wife; a story  that explores a second chance at love & marriage.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | eBookMall | iTunes

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