Once a Spy (Rogues Redeemed, #4)
Renowned for her unique blend of adventure, wit and sweeping romance, New York Times bestselling author Mary Jo Putney matches a dashing spy with a woman whose past will bear no scrutiny in Napoleonic era London.Love and survival in the shadow of Waterloo...Wearied by his years as a British intelligence officer, Simon Duval resigns his commission after Napoleon’s abdication. Hoping to find new meaning in his life, he returns to England, where he discovers his cousin’s widow, Suzanne Duval, the Comtesse de Chambron. Working as a seamstress, living in reduced circumstances, Suzanne has had a life as complicated as Simon’s. While both believe they are beyond love, their sympathetic bond leads him to propose a marriage of companionship, and Suzanne accepts.She didn't want or expect a true marriage, but as Suzanne joins Simon in a search for his long missing foster brother, warmth and caring begin to heal both their scars—and a powerful passion sparks between them. Then news from France threatens to disrupt their happiness. Napoleon has escaped from Elba and Wellington personally asks Simon to help prevent another devastating war. Only this time, Simon does not go into danger alone. He and Suzanne will face deadly peril together, and pray that love will carry them through...

Once a Spy (Rogues Redeemed, #4) Details

TitleOnce a Spy (Rogues Redeemed, #4)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 24th, 2019
PublisherZebra Books
Rating
GenreRomance, Historical Romance, Historical, Historical Fiction, Regency

Once a Spy (Rogues Redeemed, #4) Review

  • Barbara Rogers
    January 1, 1970
    Series: Rogues Redeemed #4Publication Date: 9/24/19Number of Pages: 368I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I thought the hero, Simon Duval, was a heroic man every sense of the word. He was protective, honorable, kind, considerate, a leader who was respected by his men and his superiors and most of all very caring. The heroine, Suzanne Duval, Comtesse de Chambron, is free from slavery, but she’s been living in poverty in London. Suzanne is not the fragile woman you’d think her to be after enduring t Series: Rogues Redeemed #4Publication Date: 9/24/19Number of Pages: 368I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I thought the hero, Simon Duval, was a heroic man every sense of the word. He was protective, honorable, kind, considerate, a leader who was respected by his men and his superiors and most of all very caring. The heroine, Suzanne Duval, Comtesse de Chambron, is free from slavery, but she’s been living in poverty in London. Suzanne is not the fragile woman you’d think her to be after enduring the things she has, but, she can’t stand any man’s overtures.We first met Suzanne in the third book, Once a Scoundrel, when she helped to rescue the heroine, Lady Aurora Lawrence, from the harem in which they were both imprisoned. Suzanne had spent years enduring torture in the harem where she was owned by one of the cruelest men alive. Before that, she had been married, at fifteen, to a cold, unfeeling aristocrat who took her young, tender love and promptly cheated on her and treated her with disrespect and disdain. She went from that directly into slavery where she did what she had to in order to survive. Suzanne is native French, but with the Napoleonic wars going on, she asked to be returned to England when she was rescued. Even the French émigré’s won’t accept her when she returns – in their eyes, she is ruined – a whore – not fit for polite company. So, she supports herself by taking in piecework.Colonel Simon Duval had met Suzanne at her wedding when she was marrying his much, much older cousin. He was seventeen and she was fifteen and they became friends. All these years later he has learned about Suzanne’s life and her return to London. He plans to find her and assure that she is well – and maybe even help her if he can. Simon has seen years of war and cruelty – death beyond measure – including the woman he loved. He thinks he’s unfeeling, he doesn’t even feel desire anymore.When Simon visits Suzanne at her boarding house and they talk a bit, he surprises himself by asking her to marry him. It will be totally in name only with no physical intimacies at all. He wants a friend, someone to spend his life with, but no romance. That should work out for both of them because she cannot bear the idea of any man touching her. It takes a bit, but he manages to convince her that it can work - and even gives her an out and stability if it doesn't. Poor man -- he doesn't count on his desire reawakening -- now what is he going to do!I’ve seen some reviews that said the first part of the book was too slow – at least the part about coming to physical intimacy. I disagree. I think Simon was wonderful in the way he dealt with Suzanne and I think if you put yourself in Suzanne’s shoes – having had unspeakable sexual tortures visited upon her by a sadistic man – you’d realize that Simon has to be very slow in reawakening her desire. Frankly, it is a wonder it ever happened. The other parts of the story beginning-to-end weren't slow at all.Once they traveled to Brussels, the action really picked up. The very real danger in Belgium and France comes across in the actions and descriptions in the book. Suzanne shows her bravery – as does Simon. Each makes their own significant contributions to the war effort after Napoleon escapes from Elba.I loved that this book wasn’t about insta-lust. I loved that the love and intimacy grew over time until they were both ready for it. That made the romance so very believable.One thing that came out of the blue and just threw me – one of those 'Say-What' kinds of things – had to do with Lucas and his ‘gift’. I didn’t see a need for it in the story – but – I can only assume that it will have something to do with a future book focusing on Lucas. We’ll just have to wait and see.I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Emmalita
    January 1, 1970
    I have to stop doing this to myself. I have got to stop picking up Mary Jo Putney books. When I first started reading romance openly, I loved Mary Jo Putney because her characters had conversations with each other and talked about mental health issues in historical romance. I have changed and grown in the last 20 – 25 years and Mary Jo Putney’s books have not. If you are looking for the comfort of a familiar Putney narrative – Once A Spy delivers. If you are looking for anything else, you should I have to stop doing this to myself. I have got to stop picking up Mary Jo Putney books. When I first started reading romance openly, I loved Mary Jo Putney because her characters had conversations with each other and talked about mental health issues in historical romance. I have changed and grown in the last 20 – 25 years and Mary Jo Putney’s books have not. If you are looking for the comfort of a familiar Putney narrative – Once A Spy delivers. If you are looking for anything else, you should probably not read this. I received this as an arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.In this book, the titular spy is Simon Duval. During the Napolianic Wars, he was an officer in the British Army and often did reconnaissance work. He is half British and half French. His cousin by marriage, Suzanne, is a now impoverished Comtesse who in a previous book escaped from years of enslavement in a Turkish harem. Yeah, we’ll get into that in a bit. They meet and Simon immediately proposes marriage to save her from poverty and so they can provide each other with companionship. Suzanne was emotionally abused by her late husband and sexually abused while in the harem. She is uninterested in a sexual relationship and wary of putting herself in a man’s power again. It seems quite reasonable to me. Naturally they enter into a marriage of friendship and convenience.I stand by my assertion in my review for Sometimes A Rogue that Putney doesn’t actually know what a rogue is. Like Sometimes A Rogue, I found this book boring. Putney’s characters, with the exception of a few designated antagonists and all good people who work things out through long, thoughtful conversations. My issue isn’t that long conversations between characters are boring, it’s that there is nothing challenging or interesting in these conversations. This is a book dedicated to upholding a polite, respectful patriarchy without understanding that patriarchy is fundamentally impolite and disrespectful. There is an actual #NotAllMen conversation early in the book.In the previous book in the series, which I did not read, Suzanne and another character escape from a Turkish harem ruled by a cruel man. Suzanne talks occasionally about the abuse she suffered, and it’s one of the major struggles for her. I don’t feel qualified to talk about how one recovers from sexual assault, I can only say that Suzanne recovers in the most Mary Jo Putney way possible, with lots of conversation and the love of a good man. That’s fine. I find the whole idea of the Turkish harem problematic. It’s problematic in and of itself, but also in terms of the way Putney treats violence against women. Violence against women is a thing only committed by foreigners and monsters.Putney has repeatedly had issues with dabbling on Orientalism and fetishizing ethnicity in her books. By placing Suzanne in a Turkish harem, Putney taps into the racist fantasies around the harem. It’s a place where women exist as sex objects, which is both titilating and repulsive to the Western reader. It’s an exotic sex that’s degrading to the dignity of women. Other characters assume that Suzanne’s time in a harem have given her fantastical sex skills that no European woman would have. We know that instead, the harem has given her an aversion to sex. It’s just layers of unexplored ick. I guess it could be worse. Putney engages in polite racism – trotting out stereotypes and having her characters agree in conversation that stereotypes are bad without actually looking beyond them. As in many of Putney’s books, her characters perform ethnicity and identity. We know that Simon is part French and Suzanne is French because they use French endearments repeatedly.One of the reasons I stopped reading historical romances was the issue of class. In too many books, the lower classes are happy to serve so long as there is a “good master.” In Putney’s universe, all that is required is that you not be a dick. The people who work your land and keep your house will be happy to continue to do so as long as you aren’t rude and abusive.I think one of the things that frustrates me is that Putney almost asks questions about how men and women interact in society. She almost questions the heteronormative patriarchy, but she doesn’t. She reinforces it and advocates that if we were all more polite to one another everything would be fine. There was an opportunity here to explore what a happily ever can look like without sex and children, but Putney needed to take the road most traveled. If that’s what you are looking for in a romance. This is the book for you.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    Wearied by his years as a British intelligence officer, Simon Duval resigns his commission after Napoleon’s abdication. Hoping to find new meaning in his life, he returns to England, where he discovers his cousin’s widow, Suzanne Duval, the Comtesse de Chambron, she’s almost destitute & is working as a seamstress. While both believe they are beyond love, their sympathetic bond leads him to propose a marriage of companionship, and Suzanne accepts. Their journey takes them to Belgium searching Wearied by his years as a British intelligence officer, Simon Duval resigns his commission after Napoleon’s abdication. Hoping to find new meaning in his life, he returns to England, where he discovers his cousin’s widow, Suzanne Duval, the Comtesse de Chambron, she’s almost destitute & is working as a seamstress. While both believe they are beyond love, their sympathetic bond leads him to propose a marriage of companionship, and Suzanne accepts. Their journey takes them to Belgium searching for Lucas who grew up with Simon & who became a naval officer before his boat sank & he was feared dead. However he previous year an acquaintance thought he saw Lucas dressed as a friar in Belgium. The couple also visit the Chambron estate & met Phillippe the natural son of Suzanne’s first husband. They are then caught up in the Battle of Waterloo. We met Suzanne in the previous book when she escaped a harem, she's not had an easy life but a marriage of companionship seems a way out of her loneliness & poverty. I loved Suzanne, a weaker woman would have crumbled under all she had suffered but she emerged stronger & immensely brave. Oh Simon so caring & patient everything you want in a hero. I’ve loved the earlier books in the series, apart from the previous one where I didn't warn to the heroine, & this I think is my favourite, a slow burn story that set out slowly but gradually the pace increased until I was furiously reading to the climax. The relationship between Simon & Suzanne also began slowly, no flashes of lightning but two people getting to know each other, learning to trust each other & falling deeply in love. A captivating, enthralling read & I look forward to more in the seriesMy honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read
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  • Niki
    January 1, 1970
    After years working for British intelligence, Colonel Simon Duval resigns his commission upon the abdication of Napoleon and begins to seek peace for himself. He returns to his home in England and finds his cousin's widow, Suzanne Duval, Comtesse de Chambron, whom he'd thought dead. Suzanne is now struggling to make ends meet as a seamstress and has a story as complex as Simon's. Both believe they are beyond love and desire, but they've always had a connection and enjoyed each other's company so After years working for British intelligence, Colonel Simon Duval resigns his commission upon the abdication of Napoleon and begins to seek peace for himself. He returns to his home in England and finds his cousin's widow, Suzanne Duval, Comtesse de Chambron, whom he'd thought dead. Suzanne is now struggling to make ends meet as a seamstress and has a story as complex as Simon's. Both believe they are beyond love and desire, but they've always had a connection and enjoyed each other's company so when Simon proposes a marriage of friendship, Suzanne accepts his offer.Neither Simon nor Suzanne expected theirs to be a true marriage, but as they venture together to Belgium and then France in search of Simon's missing cousin, their relationship continues to strengthen. Then news reaches them that Napoleon has escaped his prison on Elba and is marching on France once more. When Wellington himself asks Simon to help the war effort, he reluctantly agrees to return to war, but this time he'll have Suzanne along to help him and they'll have to pray they survive to enjoy their ever-growing love.This book had so much going on and despite that, or maybe because of it, I felt the pace lagged a bit, especially toward the middle. This was definitely more history heavy than romance, though the healing and development between Simon and Suzanne was great and felt natural, especially because of their honesty with each other. The pace and suspense level picked up toward the end and got my attention again and I was happy with the ending, though I want more of the secondary characters now that so much time was spent on them. I especially want Lucas' story now.I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Jaci
    January 1, 1970
    Once a Spy is the fourth book in The Rogues Redeemed Series. An experienced soldier who is tired of war and a woman who spent years as a slave in a harem. Suzanne Duval is a woman of extraordinary strength who has lived at best would be called an eventful life so far. Simon Duval is a Gentleman in every sense of the word. His integrity is unassailable. He is also weary and lonely. When they meet again years after he attended her wedding to his cousin, she is a poor widow struggling to get by. Si Once a Spy is the fourth book in The Rogues Redeemed Series. An experienced soldier who is tired of war and a woman who spent years as a slave in a harem. Suzanne Duval is a woman of extraordinary strength who has lived at best would be called an eventful life so far. Simon Duval is a Gentleman in every sense of the word. His integrity is unassailable. He is also weary and lonely. When they meet again years after he attended her wedding to his cousin, she is a poor widow struggling to get by. Simon remembers her as a beautiful vivacious young woman who was in love and happy. He has a proposal for her that could change both their lives if she is brave enough to take it. A beautiful story of two people who need each other and find that the road to happiness is paved with obstacles, emperors and war. Can they heal each other and find the peace they are striving for. This is quintessential Mary Jo Putney. She knows how to touch your heart with characters that have complicated lives and find that the simple pleasures in life are the best. I have all of her books and was lucky enough to meet her once at a book signing. She is a wonderful person and an amazing writer. This is an exciting lovely series that is a must-read.
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  • Debra Guyette
    January 1, 1970
    Simon Duval is tired after his years as a British Intelligence officer. Resigning his commission after Napoleon's abdication, he returns to England where he finds his cousin's widow, Suzanne, working as a seamstress even though she is the Comtesse de Chabron. With both suffering, they agree to a marriage of convenience. As they work together on the search for Simon's foster brother, the two find an unexpected bond. Then news comes that Napoleon has escaped Elba and Wellington asks Simon for help Simon Duval is tired after his years as a British Intelligence officer. Resigning his commission after Napoleon's abdication, he returns to England where he finds his cousin's widow, Suzanne, working as a seamstress even though she is the Comtesse de Chabron. With both suffering, they agree to a marriage of convenience. As they work together on the search for Simon's foster brother, the two find an unexpected bond. Then news comes that Napoleon has escaped Elba and Wellington asks Simon for help. This time he is not alone. Suzanne will be with him.Mary Jo Putney does an excellent job bringing to life an era which was fraught with danger. Simon and Suzanne work together and we feel as if we are there feeling the same things as them. Both prove to be brave and resourceful and it is not long before we are so engrossed in the story that each page becomes a new adventure in danger and desire. If you enjoy historical romance then Once a Spy is Perfect for you.
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  • Jaci
    January 1, 1970
    Once a Spy is the fourth book in The Rogues Redeemed Series. An experienced soldier who is tired of war and a woman who spent years as a slave in a harem. Suzanne Duval is a woman of extraordinary strength who has lived at best would be called an eventful life so far. Simon Duval is a Gentleman in every sense of the word. His integrity is unassailable. He is also weary and lonely. When they meet again years after he attended her wedding to his cousin, she is a poor widow struggling to get by. Si Once a Spy is the fourth book in The Rogues Redeemed Series. An experienced soldier who is tired of war and a woman who spent years as a slave in a harem. Suzanne Duval is a woman of extraordinary strength who has lived at best would be called an eventful life so far. Simon Duval is a Gentleman in every sense of the word. His integrity is unassailable. He is also weary and lonely. When they meet again years after he attended her wedding to his cousin, she is a poor widow struggling to get by. Simon remembers her as a beautiful vivacious young woman who was in love and happy. He has a proposal for her that could change both their lives if she is brave enough to take it.A beautiful story of two people who need each other and find that the road to happiness is paved with obstacles, emperors and war. Can they heal each other and find the peace they are striving for. This is quintessential Mary Jo Putney. She knows how to touch your heart with characters that have complicated lives and find that the simple pleasures in life are the best. I have all of her books and was lucky enough to meet her once at a book signing. She is a wonderful person and an amazing writer. This is an exciting lovely series that is a must-read.
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  • Kate McMurry
    January 1, 1970
    Terrific, slow-burn, Regency romance!After many long, hazardous years as a British spy, 31-year-old Simon Duval is thoroughly burned out. Half-French and half-English, and an inheritor of great wealth on his English side, rather than joining the French Royalist army to fight Napoleon, he believed he could do more good for the cause of liberating France—and Europe—from Napoleon by serving in the British Army. After Napoleon’s abdication in 1814, Simon is finally free to resign his commission and Terrific, slow-burn, Regency romance!After many long, hazardous years as a British spy, 31-year-old Simon Duval is thoroughly burned out. Half-French and half-English, and an inheritor of great wealth on his English side, rather than joining the French Royalist army to fight Napoleon, he believed he could do more good for the cause of liberating France—and Europe—from Napoleon by serving in the British Army. After Napoleon’s abdication in 1814, Simon is finally free to resign his commission and return to England. Once in London again, he is delighted to discover that his cousin’s widow, Suzanne, is alive and well, though living in poverty while working as a low-paid seamstress to support herself. Suzanne Duval, the Comtesse de Chambron, met and became friends with Simon 12 years earlier, just prior to her marriage at age 15 to Simon’s 30-something cousin, Jean-Louis Duval, the Comte de Chambron. In the intervening years, Suzanne’s husband fled France taking Suzanne with him. Their ship was attacked by pirates, Jean-Louis was killed, and Suzanne was captured and sold into a harem in Constantinople. (Her eventual escape from the harem occurs during Book 3 of this series, Once a Scoundrel, but it is not essential to read that story in order to get a complete picture of how her harrowing harem experiences have adversely affected her life. That is fully revealed in this book.)Simon and Suzanne both believe they are incapable of sexual response, Simon because of burnout and Suzanne because of being sexually abused in the harem. In spite of her determination to never be controlled by any man again, when Simon proposes a marriage of comfortable, platonic companionship, Suzanne finds his generosity, warmth and kindness impossible to resist, and she accepts.As Suzanne and Simon settle into their unconventional marriage, news comes that Napoleon has escaped from Elba and has headed to France to reconstitute his army. Simon and Suzanne are called upon, as a native-French-speaker spying team, to enter perilously unstable France, both to gather intelligence for General Wellington and to try and locate Simon’s long-missing cousin, Lucas, who has been spotted in France.Once a Spy is Book 4 in the Rogues Redeemed, Regency romance series by award-winning, historical romance author, Mary Jo Putney. Chapter 1 of Once a Soldier, Book 1 of this series, sets the stage for these interlinked, standalone novels. In Portugal, in 1809, five English spies have been captured by Bonapartist soldiers and have been condemned to be executed in front of a firing squad the following dawn. When they manage to escape from the cellar, each of the five men vows to redeem their formerly roguish existence, and they make a pact to reconnect with each other in London after the war is over. Will Masterson is the hero of Book 1, Once a Soldier. Lord George Gordon Audley is the hero of Book 2, Once a Rebel. Gabriel Hawkins is the hero of Book 3, Once a Scoundrel. Simon Duval is the hero of Book 4, this book, Once a Spy. Chantry is a subcharacter in Book 3, whom Gabriel Hawkins meets in Constantinople working as an aide to the British ambassador there. Gabriel recognizes his fellow escapee, though he is using a different name, Ramsay. It is my understanding that Ramsay will be the hero of Book 6 in this series. Simon's cousin, Lucas, was not in the basement in Portugal with the five others, but he is introduced in this book as another fascinating and very sympathetic “rogue” who wants and needs redemption, and I was intrigued to learn that he will be the hero of Book 5.I am a big fan of “slow burn” romances, and this heart-warming romance is an excellent example of that approach. Simon and Suzanne are both strong, honorable, compassionate, and very attractive protagonists, and it was a pleasure to read about their growing friendship, love, and mutual, sexual healing. Ms. Putney is extremely skilled at writing sex scenes that are both highly emotional and deeply passionate, which talent is on full display in this book. The unique sexual situation of both Simon and Suzanne brings an additional layer of sensitivity and compassion to their eventual lovemaking that is very moving.There are many scenes of exciting action-adventure in this book which are connected to Napoleon’s 1815 Hundred Days of restoration to power before his final defeat at Waterloo. All of these scenes are impressively written with great historical accuracy, and they are given compelling immediacy as we experience electrifying events through the eyes of Simon and Suzanne.I also enjoyed the cameo appearances of the wonderful protagonists from the previous three books in this series when members of the Rogues Redeemed fellowship reconnect with Simon in London.I have very much enjoyed every one of the Rogues Redeemed novels so far, and I greatly look forward to the upcoming books in this marvelous series.I rate this book as follows:Heroine: 5 starsHero: 5 starsSubcharacters: 5 starsRomance Plot: 5 starsAction-Adventure Spy Plot: 5 starsHistorical Settings: 5 starsWriting: 5 starsOverall: 5 stars
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  • eyes.2c
    January 1, 1970
    Complicated!When Lady Aurora "Rory" Lawrence was rescued from the harem of a corrupt and powerful Turkish official by Captain Gabriel Hawkins, Suzanne Duval, the widowed Comtesse de Chambron, another imprisoned harem slave escaped with her. (Once a Scoundrel, Rogues Redeemed #3) ) As a sexual slave Suzanne suffered much at the hands of her master, Gürkan. This violation left Suzanne with a distrust of men and an obhoreance for intimate relations. Simon Duval, a half French, British intelligence Complicated!When Lady Aurora "Rory" Lawrence was rescued from the harem of a corrupt and powerful Turkish official by Captain Gabriel Hawkins, Suzanne Duval, the widowed Comtesse de Chambron, another imprisoned harem slave escaped with her. (Once a Scoundrel, Rogues Redeemed #3) ) As a sexual slave Suzanne suffered much at the hands of her master, Gürkan. This violation left Suzanne with a distrust of men and an obhoreance for intimate relations. Simon Duval, a half French, British intelligence officer, and Suzanne's cousin by marriage has found Suzanne working as a seamstress in a poorer part of London. After hearing some of her story he offers to teach her how to use a knife and some defensive moves to protect herself. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Suzanne defended herself from a drunken lout at a gathering of upper class French Emigres. Up until her marriage to Simon, Suzanne has been treated by the emigre community as some sort of exotic creature. She is a woman who has experienced unspeakable horrors, a survivor who deserved sympathy and respect. As it were many of the men tried to catch her unawares and the women gossiped about her. The stain of the harem talked to their suspicions and repressed desires, to their insatiable curiosities and prejudices. Unfortunately we as readers to some degree feed into that frenzy. Simon is looking for a wife and it seems a marriage of convenience is a better idea than facing up to some immature débutante. He proposes to Suzanne and after further thought and consultation she accepts. All very prosaic and calculating.The timeline is just prior to Napoleon escaping from Elba. Suzanne and Simon have already left for Brussels and from there intend to journey into France to look for Simon's foster brother who was presumed to have died in a naval engagement. Ostensibly they are on their honeymoon and taking the opportunity to check on Suzanne's dead husband's holdings and matters pertaining to the late Comte's will. Secretly they are also looking for Napoleonic sympathizers within the Emigre community.Throughout all this, Simon and Suzanne venture towards full marital relations despite the sexual traumas that Suzanne's suffered through. I have questions about the reality of all of this aspect of the storyline, which I guess throws the whole novel off balance for me. The predictability of an HEA given Suzanne's history is suspect.However as is originally posited, Suzanne has always been a woman of strength and as part of that trait. As true to the storyline, as she faces the future and events that unfold before and after Brussels that strength grows in many areas.With Napoleon having escaped, Simon is recalled to continue his reconnaissance duties for Wellington. All of this, together with them finding a relative at Chambron, the continued spying in France, and then Waterloo, the story became so much more complicated. I struggled to finish. There were just too many threads that watered things down and affected the flow.A Kensington Books ARC via NetGalley
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  • Amelia
    January 1, 1970
    While many storylines with a Regency setting are centered on attending balls and staying respectable, the fourth book in the Rogues Redeemed series is focused on relationship challenges and political turmoil. Although a man and woman are not looking to marry, circumstances would make their union advantageous. But there are personal issues that could keep the couple from ever being truly close. With the French not willing to give up fighting surrounding countries, the lives of these two individua While many storylines with a Regency setting are centered on attending balls and staying respectable, the fourth book in the Rogues Redeemed series is focused on relationship challenges and political turmoil. Although a man and woman are not looking to marry, circumstances would make their union advantageous. But there are personal issues that could keep the couple from ever being truly close. With the French not willing to give up fighting surrounding countries, the lives of these two individuals are thrown into increasing dangerous chaos. I have always liked when my romances are filled with historical information, and whether the details are fact or fiction in the story, I always believed in the possibility of the events actually occurring. Mary Jo Putney makes scenes in ONCE A SPY entertaining with captivating realism.After the many battles with France ended when Napoleon resigned as its ruler, Colonel Simon Duval is ready to live more peacefully in England. Upon meeting the widow of his cousin, he immediately thinks they should marry. It would benefit them both, as Suzanne Duval has little funds and he is lonely yet is not seeking a loving relationship. Although she had not considered getting married again, the proposition is too good to reject. As Simon and Suzanne begin a new phase of their lives as husband and wife, they also agree to do their part in making certain the French never fight the English again. Though Simon and Suzanne knew each other years ago, both have drastically changed because of several incidents in their lives, which caused them to think there could never be more than friendship between them. I really liked how they seldom let the past dictate them in the present, which proved just how resilient they had become. Simon is one of five men who escaped after being captured during a battle, and he ends up helping the English even after getting out of their army. What previously happened to Suzanne was a terrible ordeal, yet she has not let it keep her from trying to be content. I really admired both of them for how they persevered even when a new obstacle arose, and their reactions are always honest.From London to Brussels and other less known places, Simon and Suzanne faced quite a few threats, and I felt as though I experienced each event. Anything dealing with real historical episodes seemed very true-to-life, and I though Ms. Putney skillfully wove her own imaginative thoughts in with specific facts. Background is given to let the reader know what took place in any prior books, and I was thrilled for the glimpses of couples who have been featured in the series. Rating – 4.5 StarsI voluntarily reviewed the book, and all comments are my honest opinion
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  • Cathy Geha
    January 1, 1970
    Once A Spy by Mary Jo PutneyThe Rogues Redeemed #4This historical romance is one that is definitely fiction. If you are willing to suspend reality and read about a time when Napoleon and Wellington were about to battle at Waterloo then this book might be for you. That said, the beginning was rather slow and dealt with the mundane world of two people marrying for convenience and companionship and getting to know one another over a period of time. Everything was very cerebral and open and dull wit Once A Spy by Mary Jo PutneyThe Rogues Redeemed #4This historical romance is one that is definitely fiction. If you are willing to suspend reality and read about a time when Napoleon and Wellington were about to battle at Waterloo then this book might be for you. That said, the beginning was rather slow and dealt with the mundane world of two people marrying for convenience and companionship and getting to know one another over a period of time. Everything was very cerebral and open and dull with some social engagements, a lot of talking and nothing to really engage the mind. I almost gave up but plodded onSuzanne and Colonel Duval first met when she married his cousin. In the years apart he has been a soldier and she ended up in a Turkish harem. Both are a bit tired and jaded. The fact that they married was strange enough if perhaps believable. The idea that they would not have sex was also believable after hearing all that she had endured. And yet, after hearing a bit about her life in the harem it made me question much of what she was willing to do at various points in the story. Simon was very patient and caring and eventually the two did fall in love but it was a rather torturous process and took a long time...and a lot of words. When they ended up going to France the story became even more iffy in my mind. A long lost relative is found, war occurs, a near rape takes place, another illegitimate relative is found and helped, inheritances are sorted, some spying takes place, famous men are encountered and miraculous healing occurs that will make the HEA of Simon and Suzanne even better than a marriage of convenience would have done. Did I enjoy this book? Not so muchWould I read more in this series? No (although I did enjoy the first book)Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington-Zebra for the ARC – This is my honest revieww. 2-3 Stars
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    I’m on the fence about this book. What I liked: the rich historical detail about the events leading up to Waterloo (and the battle itself). I liked Suzanne and Simon, along with the secondary characters. The characters are well-developed. What I didn’t like: the treatment of sexual abuse and recovery from the type of trauma Suzanne endured was abysmal. This books suggests all survivors need is the love of a good man—such a damaging myth. The trope of the Turkish harem is pretty racist. The magic I’m on the fence about this book. What I liked: the rich historical detail about the events leading up to Waterloo (and the battle itself). I liked Suzanne and Simon, along with the secondary characters. The characters are well-developed. What I didn’t like: the treatment of sexual abuse and recovery from the type of trauma Suzanne endured was abysmal. This books suggests all survivors need is the love of a good man—such a damaging myth. The trope of the Turkish harem is pretty racist. The magically healing hands of a particular character made what should have been very serious scenes nearly laughable. There was so much about this book I loved, but these serious issues nearly ruined it all for me.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 60%. I can’t believe I’m about to say this about a historical romance, but this book was so boring. There was no tension sexual or otherwise between the H and h. They got along a little too well and we’re too accommodating for my tastes. The sex scenes had zero heat. I finally got to the point where I realized that I didn’t really care how the book ended. I have not read the rest of the series, so I can’t compare it to them but I will say this is one of the first times I’ve ever just compl DNF @ 60%. I can’t believe I’m about to say this about a historical romance, but this book was so boring. There was no tension sexual or otherwise between the H and h. They got along a little too well and we’re too accommodating for my tastes. The sex scenes had zero heat. I finally got to the point where I realized that I didn’t really care how the book ended. I have not read the rest of the series, so I can’t compare it to them but I will say this is one of the first times I’ve ever just completely given up on a romance novel.
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  • Rebekah
    January 1, 1970
    Got over 100 pages in and was still waiting for the book to start. I gave up, dear reader.
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This was a terrific entry in the Rogues Redeemed series. Simon is a war-weary colonel of intelligence who resigned his commission once Napoleon was exiled to Elba. He returns to England hoping to find peace in his new life and discovers that his cousin's widow, Suzanne, is alive after all. He tracks her down to check on her and finds her in reduced circumstances. Suzanne came to England after being rescued from a harem (Once a Scoundrel) and tries to make ends meet by sewing. Her life isn't easy This was a terrific entry in the Rogues Redeemed series. Simon is a war-weary colonel of intelligence who resigned his commission once Napoleon was exiled to Elba. He returns to England hoping to find peace in his new life and discovers that his cousin's widow, Suzanne, is alive after all. He tracks her down to check on her and finds her in reduced circumstances. Suzanne came to England after being rescued from a harem (Once a Scoundrel) and tries to make ends meet by sewing. Her life isn't easy, but she's free.Simon and Suzanne met when she was fifteen and he was seventeen, just before she married his much older cousin. The only people there close in age; they became good friends in the weeks before the wedding. When they met again, they discovered that their connection was just as strong. Though Simon believes that his ability to feel has been destroyed, and Suzanne's experiences make the thought of love impossible, Simon proposes a marriage of friendship instead. After thinking about it, and receiving some unexpected motivation, Suzanne accepts.I really liked both Simon and Suzanne. The first part of the book covers the beginning of their marriage and getting to know each other again. Both enter the marriage expecting only friendship and companionship. Simon is sensitive to Suzanne's fears and is gentle and understanding when he is with her. Suzanne feels safe around Simon, his declared disinterest in physical intimacy putting her at ease. My heart broke for Suzanne when she had her nightmare, and I loved Simon's efforts to comfort her. Imagine both their shock when morning revealed the unexpected revival of Simon's ability to feel! Poor Suzanne felt terribly betrayed. I loved Simon's acceptance of her feelings and determination to be as patient as necessary to woo Suzanne. Luckily, Suzanne's trust in Simon helps her face her fears. The slow reawakening of her desire is believable and moving. I loved how the love and intimacy between Simon and Suzanne grew over a credible amount of time, enabling both to overcome the fears and obstacles of their pasts. I loved seeing them both open their hearts fully at the end.But this story is about more than just the romance of two wounded and lonely people. As a former intelligence officer, Simon still has contacts in the community. Because he is half-French and half-English, and Suzanne is French, they agree to test the temperature of the French émigré community regarding the possibility of Napoleon's escape. That was an interesting evening, as Suzanne's previous experience with these people hadn't been a pleasant one. I loved seeing her get back a little of her pride as the evening progressed, capped off with a marvelous example of righteous anger.The action moves to Belgium when Simon receives word that his favorite cousin, Lucas, who was believed dead, may have been spotted in Brussels. The sense of impending danger is palpable as they search for Lucas. With Napoleon's escape, Wellington himself asks Simon to lend his talents to the war effort, and Suzanne insists on being part of it. The very real danger that they experience is vividly described, keeping me glued to the pages. Each of them makes significant contributions, though I feel like Suzanne's may have won the prize for unexpectedness. The descriptions of the Battle of Waterloo were such that I could almost smell the cannon smoke and mud as I read.Underneath it all was the theme of family. Both Simon and Suzanne were lonely, and initially their marriage was about having someone special who could alleviate that loneliness. Also on Simon's side was his grief over the loss of his cousin, and then the revival of hope that he was still alive. I ached for Lucas when they found him and the pain that he was in because of his past. I had to laugh a little at the lecture he received from Suzanne regarding "wallowing" and how she gave him another way of looking at things. Suzanne believed herself to be without any family at all until a visit to her husband's estate revealed otherwise. There were some tense moments, but in the end family ties won the day. In both cases, "family is family" was the most important thing to remember.I also liked the cameo appearances of characters from earlier books. After Suzanne's unpleasant reception from the émigré community, her trepidation over meeting the Rogue's wives was understandable. It was fun to see these ladies together and their easy acceptance of Suzanne. Lord Kirkland, of course, had additional motivations.I look forward to the next book and seeing who it will be. The last of the cellar Rogues, who briefly appeared in the previous book? Or will it be Lucas, who feels a need for redemption of his own? It can't come soon enough!
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  • Bint Arab
    January 1, 1970
    A premise with such potential ruined by such horrible execution! This book is so poorly written that I will never touch another book by this author. I forced myself to read through to the end for the sake of writing this review, and as it turned out the writing seemed to change a couple of times in the course of the novel, as if the author stopped writing for a period then came back to the story a different person with a different style. Unfortunately, none of the author's writing styles were an A premise with such potential ruined by such horrible execution! This book is so poorly written that I will never touch another book by this author. I forced myself to read through to the end for the sake of writing this review, and as it turned out the writing seemed to change a couple of times in the course of the novel, as if the author stopped writing for a period then came back to the story a different person with a different style. Unfortunately, none of the author's writing styles were any good.How does this book disappoint? Let me count the ways: (in no particular order)1. The dialogue is wooden; it's supposed to help with characterization, with building nuance and with allowing the reader to feel present in the story. It didn't do any of that. From the beginning of the novel, every time I read a line of dialogue I "heard" it in my head as if I was watching middle schoolers in a school play, kids trying to project their voices and acting out their parts with as much emotion as they know how. Stiff. Pretend. Lame. Supposedly the male and female main characters speak in French to each other, but their dialogue is written with so much 21st century contemporary English flavor (idioms, word choice, turns of phrase, sentence structure) that it's hard to imagine any of it being spoken in French in 1815. 2. The male main character is a chuckle-head -- literally. Every other line of dialogue out of his mouth is said with a 'chuckle.'3. Places don't feel real at all, as if the author is describing them after having looked at some postcards. Some skilled description could have brought even a drawing room scene to life.4. The author condenses time at her convenience, like when the book opens on a winter evening (February) just after the dusk has gotten too dark for Suzanne to sew even if she sits by the window. Simon comes to the house, Suzanne is summoned to the parlor to speak with him, tea is brought on a tray and consumed. After a brief conversation between them, Suzanne and Simon look out the window and see the sun rise. What? I had no idea that winter nights in London were so short.5. Way too much telling, not enough showing.6. Too much deus ex machina.7. In the beginning of the book, the style is reminiscent of a Barbara Cartland novel, with short, simplistic sentences. The style changes at least twice in the book, but none of the styles are enjoyable to read.8. The author tries hard to overturn some tropes that are typical of the romance genre, and fails miserably. 9. The main characters (Suzanne and Simon) don't have any real relationships with other characters. They are supposed to; there's Simon's "almost brother," Suzanne's "friends" from the boardinghouse, Suzanne's friends who are other characters from this "Rogues Redeemed" series, Simon's military peers... the list goes on. Somehow, their relationships with others never have any real substance, are not backed by believable or interesting interactions, and do not occasion any good dialogue.10. The book has no emotional impact. In short, it's a terrible book. I am so glad I didn't waste my money on it (I received a free copy from Goodreads Giveaway). If you want a romance novel, there are much better books out there; actually, even a mediocre book would be better than this one.~bint
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  • Martine Francois
    January 1, 1970
    Once a Spy as with the other Rogues Redeemed titles is not your typical regency romance novel that shows pretty titled ladies and handsome lords attending balls and making perfect matches on the marriage mart. As a matter of fact I will even venture to say that the fourth installment in the Rogues Redeemed series has even darker and a much deeper relationship challenge as well with our couple on top of taking place in the middle of a political upheaval.The situation that lands Suzanne Duval to b Once a Spy as with the other Rogues Redeemed titles is not your typical regency romance novel that shows pretty titled ladies and handsome lords attending balls and making perfect matches on the marriage mart. As a matter of fact I will even venture to say that the fourth installment in the Rogues Redeemed series has even darker and a much deeper relationship challenge as well with our couple on top of taking place in the middle of a political upheaval.The situation that lands Suzanne Duval to be toiling as a seamstress and living way beneath herself is quite tragic and shows the use and abuse of woman in that era. Although Simon has felt a tendre for her when he has met her before becoming a jaded soldier he is not a man looking to marry for love but companionship and circumstances would make a union between them advantageous. Suzanne is certainly not looking to remarry and there are even deep personal issues due to what she has been through since they last saw each other that could keep them from ever truly being able to be couple. However elas, the war is coming because Bonaparte and the French are unwilling to give up fighting with the surrounding countries and their lives are thrown into increasing chaos and danger at every turn. Where they married at first to at least have each other instead of a vast loneliness, they must now learn each other, trust each other and heal each other. I have thus far liked the other books in the rogues redeemed series by Mary Jo Putney and find that likewise she comes through with this one with entertaining and captivating realism of the way Suzanne is treated when people discover she was in a harem and the scenes when the couple must indeed act as spies. In keeping with the other books cameos from the other books abound in book four and in Once a Spy Lucas is found and has returned home which we can only assume to mean that his book may be coming. Overall it’s a great read in the continuation of the series full of human emotions not to be missed for the avid fan of the series. I received a complimentary download of this book through Kensington books on NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are completely my own and sincerely given.
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  • Moriah
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this from the publisher for an honest review. Once a Spy is a well done historical featuring two people who have had to deal with adversity and come out the other side; after finding each other years after spending time together, they decide to build a future together. What I loved best about this is that both Suzanne and Simon are both adults and act like it throughout the book, their relationship develops at a believable pace, and the obstacles they face in their pursuit o I received a copy of this from the publisher for an honest review. Once a Spy is a well done historical featuring two people who have had to deal with adversity and come out the other side; after finding each other years after spending time together, they decide to build a future together. What I loved best about this is that both Suzanne and Simon are both adults and act like it throughout the book, their relationship develops at a believable pace, and the obstacles they face in their pursuit of happily ever after aren't contrived or over the top. After spending a week or so together when Suzanne married Simon's distant cousin years previously, Simon shows up at Suzanne's after hearing her name and wonder if she was the same woman he knew years ago. Simon has spent years serving in the army, occasionally as spy and after escaping what appeared to be certain death, he is determined to help Suzanne. For her part, Suzanne's life since they parted has been anything but easy; while fleeing the French Revolution with her much older husband, she becomes a slave in the Ottoman Empire and is trapped in the harem of a cruel man. After being rescued (in a previous book in the series which isn't necessary to read to enjoy this title), Suzanne is trying to scrape together a meager existence in England; Simon's offer of marriage is an answer to her prayers. Simon and Suzanne recognize a wounded soul in each other and hope that they will be able to find contentment together. I loved both characters; Simon was patient and understanding as Suzanne worked through her intimacy issues resulting from her captivity. I liked Suzanne and her understanding and kindness to others. There is a plot point about Suzanne's former home that I really enjoyed as well as the time Simon and Suzanne spent traveling together through rural France in the time immediately prior to Waterloo. I'm looking forward to the next title in this series and think readers looking for mature adults and are sick of insta-lust will enjoy reading this book.
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  • Lindsay S
    January 1, 1970
    As a long lost and unrequited love is rekindled, Napoleon strikes again, bonding the new lovers even tighter than before.Suzanne has suffered much over the years after first meeting her now husband… when they met they were celebrating her wedding to his second cousin. Content at being friends they continued on in their live, until tragedy and war brings them together again. No longer a fresh young bride, Suzanne is weary of committing to another man after suffering so much at the hands of men… c As a long lost and unrequited love is rekindled, Napoleon strikes again, bonding the new lovers even tighter than before.Suzanne has suffered much over the years after first meeting her now husband… when they met they were celebrating her wedding to his second cousin. Content at being friends they continued on in their live, until tragedy and war brings them together again. No longer a fresh young bride, Suzanne is weary of committing to another man after suffering so much at the hands of men… can a marriage of convenience and friendship bring her the peace and security she desires… or will other desires come back to her?Simon Duval has retired from his commission after the Emperor Napoleon is exiled away. He now wants to settle down and manage his estates. After receiving news of his distant cousins widow living in London, he is immediately drawn to her. War has diminish all of his desires, but upon seeing her he finds himself drawn to her… knowing that she will not welcome a traditional marriage after what she has experienced and still needing to have her by his side, he proposes a marriage of friendship.Soon their friendship is put to the test with the return of desire and the outbreak of war. Can they work together to navigate these times of political turmoil? Perhaps, together they will prove to themselves that they are stronger than they ever knew they could be.An excellent story of true love, political intrigue, and inner strength. The way Putney handles Suzannes previous trauma, along with Simons kind support, make this story well worth the read. Plus, al the political excitement is a lot of fun too! Another great book in the Rogues Redeemed series!The fourth book in the Rogues Redeemed series, Once a Spy by Mary Jo Putney is due to release September 24th, 2019.I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington Books and Zebra Romance through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.#OnceASpy #MaryJoPutney #NetGalley #pinkcowlandreads
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  • Marsha Spohn
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed at Keeper BookshelfEven though I have not yet read the entire series, ONCE A SPY easily drew me into a unique Historical Romance that kept my attention throughout Simon and Suzanne’s story. I will go back to the earlier books since now I would like to know what came before this story. (time, it’s always about not enough time to read all the books I’d love to read)The Cover Description really gives you a good idea of this story, enough to decide if you will pick this one up. My reaction Reviewed at Keeper BookshelfEven though I have not yet read the entire series, ONCE A SPY easily drew me into a unique Historical Romance that kept my attention throughout Simon and Suzanne’s story. I will go back to the earlier books since now I would like to know what came before this story. (time, it’s always about not enough time to read all the books I’d love to read)The Cover Description really gives you a good idea of this story, enough to decide if you will pick this one up. My reactions to this story are somewhat divided. I enjoyed the slow building of emotions between Simon and Suzanne. I cannot imagine the horrors that Suzanne went through, yet I can accept that for her a marriage of companionship, friendship and support would be very tempting given what was done to her. Simon has the patience to care for Suzanne, as a friend, but his feelings are changing as he grows to love the strong woman she’s had to be. I enjoyed them together as friends, and eventually as a couple. It felt, for the most part, believable and a natural transition from friends to lovers.There were times that I had to strongly remind myself that I was reading a romance set in a time of history where the reactions, the gossip, the lack of sympathy for what Suzanne had endured would have been the norm. I don’t know that we’ve come that much further in modern times, but I certainly hope so. The slow burn was the right choice for this couple. They had to learn to like, trust, and be comfortable with each other before moving any further in their relationship, at least, in my opinion.Overall, I enjoyed ONCE A SPY and will return to this world again.*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
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  • Kathleen J
    January 1, 1970
    Much of the book was too slow and there was insufficient tension. She is a poor French emigre. He is a half-French veteran of the Peninsular war. They are distant cousins and knew each other briefly when they were young. He looks her up in London when he leaves the military and immediately proposes marriage because they are both lonely and got along so well when they were young. They also have shared experiences and backgrounds. After agreeing to a white marriage because he has lost desire and s Much of the book was too slow and there was insufficient tension. She is a poor French emigre. He is a half-French veteran of the Peninsular war. They are distant cousins and knew each other briefly when they were young. He looks her up in London when he leaves the military and immediately proposes marriage because they are both lonely and got along so well when they were young. They also have shared experiences and backgrounds. After agreeing to a white marriage because he has lost desire and she never recovered from being brutalized as a slave in a harem, they have a perfect relationship except for the sex thing. He is the most kind, considerate, understanding and caring man on the face of the earth. He had not a single flaw. She is strong and brave and kind and understands people and horses. They get married and go to Brussels to try to find his missing cousin but a spymaster asks him, while he is there, to gather info on anything to do with Napoleon possibly escaping from Elba. There are some side plots about his cousin, some relatives of hers, other people, but actually the only other thing that happens to them is his desire returning and her trying gradually take back her sexuality. Until the last third of the book. The pacing finally picks up then and we have encounters with French soldiers, some battles he’s in and some harrowing experiences they have. Up to then I was pretty bored. After that I was rolling my eyes—it is unclear whether the war could have been won without their many brave exploits. There are books of MJP’s that i love. This was not one of them.
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  • Amy Alvis
    January 1, 1970
    Suzanne has been working as a seamstress since her husband was killed and she was rescued from a harem. This is a long way from how she lived as the Comtesse de Chambron. When her late husband's cousin tracks her down, she is happy to see a familiar face. But when he proposes marriage, she has to weigh her options. After the treatment she received in the harem, she never wants to be under the control of a man again. But she knows if she remarries, her living situation would be much better.Simon Suzanne has been working as a seamstress since her husband was killed and she was rescued from a harem. This is a long way from how she lived as the Comtesse de Chambron. When her late husband's cousin tracks her down, she is happy to see a familiar face. But when he proposes marriage, she has to weigh her options. After the treatment she received in the harem, she never wants to be under the control of a man again. But she knows if she remarries, her living situation would be much better.Simon has resigned his commission after Napoleon's abdication. When he returns to London, he learns that his late cousin's widow is trying to make her way alone. They had enjoyed each other's company when they were younger, so he proposes that they marry. He soon learns of Suzanne's ordeals and they agree to a marriage with no intimacy. But they both soon learn that they are people that like physical contact and Simon hopes that Suzanne will change her mind about being intimate. But Simon's touch brings back memories that Suzanne wants to leave in the past. Can this couple that is starting to fall in love make their marriage one in truth?I really enjoyed Suzanne and Simon's story. Not only do we get their love story, but we get the mystery of trying to find Simon's cousin and Napoleon's second act and Simon being pulled back into service. I really enjoyed watching these two together and how Simon helped Suzanne to be able to get beyond her past and forge a new one with him.Without any spoilers, there is someone in this story that I'm hoping will get their own HEA in a future book!!! Hopefully Putney has it on her to do list!
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  • Norah Gibbons
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. Once A Spy by Mary Jo Putney is the fourth book in her exhilarating Rogues Redeemed Series. This book could be read as a stand-alone but it’s an excellent series so I recommend reading them all. Napoleon has been captured and is in exile on Elba when Simon Duval makes his weary way home after the war during which he served as a reconnaissance officer while in uniform and a spy while not in uniform. Suzanne Du I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. Once A Spy by Mary Jo Putney is the fourth book in her exhilarating Rogues Redeemed Series. This book could be read as a stand-alone but it’s an excellent series so I recommend reading them all. Napoleon has been captured and is in exile on Elba when Simon Duval makes his weary way home after the war during which he served as a reconnaissance officer while in uniform and a spy while not in uniform. Suzanne Duval, Comtesse de Chambron, widow of his cousin, also suffered greatly during the war, having made it safely to England she is supporting herself as a seamstress when Simon offers her a marriage of convenience, comfort and companionship between two who understand each other better than people who have not had the experiences that they have had would. Simon’s search for a long lost missing foster brother and Suzanne’s need to see what has happened to her estate leads them to Brussels just as Napoleon escapes and the war begins again leaving them in the thick of it. The story contains much adventure and excitement but at the heart of it is the love that grows between two people who had thought that such a thing was no longer possible and their marriage of convenience becomes something more. Medium Steam. Publishing Date September 24, 2019#NetGalley #OnceASpy #MaryJoPutney #KensingtonBooks #ZebraRomanceNovels #historicalromancenovels #bookstagram #roguesredeemedseries
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  • Jessi
    January 1, 1970
    If you've read previous books in the Rogues Redeemed series, you will remember Simon Duval, the man who has helped our other heroes find love. In "Once a Scoundrel," Susan Duval, widow of Simon's cousin, helps the heroine escape a harem, the same harem where she was held for years. It's sort of understandable that she's not real keen on sex at this point. But when Simon suggests they marry for companionship, Susan is read to do it. Shunned by the other French emigres, Susan is not sure about the If you've read previous books in the Rogues Redeemed series, you will remember Simon Duval, the man who has helped our other heroes find love. In "Once a Scoundrel," Susan Duval, widow of Simon's cousin, helps the heroine escape a harem, the same harem where she was held for years. It's sort of understandable that she's not real keen on sex at this point. But when Simon suggests they marry for companionship, Susan is read to do it. Shunned by the other French emigres, Susan is not sure about the marriage at first but then she meets his friends and realizes that not everyone is as close-minded. She decides that, if Simon is not serious about wanting intimacy, she's in. So they marry and Simon soon realizes that his desire is not as lost as he thought.The two work through her issues even as they also have to deal with going to Brussels, even knowing that Napoleon has escaped and England may once again be on the brink of war. They are looking for Simon's cousin, Lucas, who disappeared from a war camp and now may be wandering the countryside as a Franciscan monk.This is a typical Putney novel, generally fast, fun, and fluffy. There are some heavy themes in this book that aren't exactly treated lightly but they are sort of skimmed over. Readers will again experience an unusual bent into religion, something that happened at the end of the Lost Lords series. I say unusual because it doesn't happen in every Putney book but shows up unexpectedly here and there and I was surprised there wasn't anything about it in the author's note, why was this book different? This time it was a little less preachy and more in the line of miraculous. I don't mind it if it's used consistently in a series but am sort of bemused that we have several fairly straight-forward novels and then one with overt magical realism. It will be interesting to see if future books in the series continue this trend, especially if Lucas gets his own HEA.
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  • Marie (daffodilbookshelf)
    January 1, 1970
    Another good story from Mary Jo Putney! This is book 4 in her Rogue's Redeemed series but easily works as a standalone. For readers of the previous books, you can revisit your favorite couples in a lovely dinner party scene early in the book.This book takes place in one of my favorite time periods 1815. The author did a wonderful job portraying the Napoleonic time period. In the author's note we learn Simon's character was based on a real intelligence officer. Simon, after serving his country fo Another good story from Mary Jo Putney! This is book 4 in her Rogue's Redeemed series but easily works as a standalone. For readers of the previous books, you can revisit your favorite couples in a lovely dinner party scene early in the book.This book takes place in one of my favorite time periods 1815. The author did a wonderful job portraying the Napoleonic time period. In the author's note we learn Simon's character was based on a real intelligence officer. Simon, after serving his country for years as a spy, a role seen as unworthy of a gentleman by some, longs for peace. Suzanne, his cousin's widow, is living in poverty after surviving captivity and accepts Simon's proposal of a marriage of friendship. Suzanne is a survivor and I was drawn to her character immediately. She senses a kindred spirit in Simon, a warrior with a protective heart. Love blossoms between them as they look for Simon's missing foster-brother and are drawn back into war. I really enjoyed the scenes between the couple as they worked to overcome past tragedy. Besides being a love story, this was a story about family--the one we're born with and the one we make. This was an emotionally satisfying romance. The book will go on my keeper shelf to reread! Thank you Goodreads and Kensington Books for my giveaway win !
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  • Patricia Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    This is book 4 in Rogues Redeemed Series. This is a great series. The only connecting threads between the books is the Rogues who were all held captives as Spys together. Each book is a stand alone, each about a different rogue.This story is about Simon. He was a Colonel in the British army. He has now sold out and is starting his civilian life when he hears abour the wife of his cousin still being alive and possibly living in poverty. Suzanne Duvall was a Comtasse. She was captured by Corsairs This is book 4 in Rogues Redeemed Series. This is a great series. The only connecting threads between the books is the Rogues who were all held captives as Spys together. Each book is a stand alone, each about a different rogue.This story is about Simon. He was a Colonel in the British army. He has now sold out and is starting his civilian life when he hears abour the wife of his cousin still being alive and possibly living in poverty. Suzanne Duvall was a Comtasse. She was captured by Corsairs when she and her husband were traveling to Italy. She was then sold into a harem. After being rescued several years later, she is back in England. She is poverty stricken and considered a whore because of her life in the harem.When she and Simon meet again, the friendship they had as young ones, is brought back to them. Simon sees how hard her life has been. He immediately offers marriage to help ease her life, one of convenience. She accepts.Their adventures in their life together start here.What I liked about this book is the tenderness Simon shows Suzanne. He realizes she was used and abused in the harem and he is patient with her. Suzanne is a strong heroine. She doesn't stand by but is there right by Simon's side in whatever capacity he needs her.A very touching romance with a lot of historical information.
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  • Lori D
    January 1, 1970
    An enduring story of survival at it's basic level, one through war and one through abuse and violence. Mary Jo Putney has written a story of trying to come back to life and live again with companionship that has no choice but to turn into more once these two wounded souls come together.Simon Duval, is resigning his commission and seeks out his cousin's widow, Suzanne Duval. To me Simon was mainly all that was good. Honorable, a well respected leader and he had a kind heart. But he he had also su An enduring story of survival at it's basic level, one through war and one through abuse and violence. Mary Jo Putney has written a story of trying to come back to life and live again with companionship that has no choice but to turn into more once these two wounded souls come together.Simon Duval, is resigning his commission and seeks out his cousin's widow, Suzanne Duval. To me Simon was mainly all that was good. Honorable, a well respected leader and he had a kind heart. But he he had also suffered from the war and had seen so much death including a woman he loved. He just wanted to get on with life.Suzanne had suffered years of cruelty and poverty but had been trying to maintain as a seamstress in London. She had met Simon years ago when she had married his much older cousin. They had become acquainted and formed a friendshipBoth felt they would never feel desire or love, so Simon asks her to marry him in a moment that even suprises himself but feels they can have companionship and nothing else.Sigh. This is a special story of love building when there seemed there was never any hope and the journey they took. Adventure, intrigue and a love that can hopefully blossom and endure! I highly recoemmend!
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  • Debra Martin
    January 1, 1970
    When he was young, Simon Duval struck up a friendship with his cousin’s French wife, Suzanne Duval, the Comtesse de Chambron. Years later he finds her eeking out a living as a seamstress in London. He proposes marriage and at first Suzanne refuses because of the abuse she had suffered first by her dead husband, then as a harem slave. She wants nothing to do with men, but there's something about Simon that she trusts. When he says they can have a marriage of friendship, she finally agrees. When t When he was young, Simon Duval struck up a friendship with his cousin’s French wife, Suzanne Duval, the Comtesse de Chambron. Years later he finds her eeking out a living as a seamstress in London. He proposes marriage and at first Suzanne refuses because of the abuse she had suffered first by her dead husband, then as a harem slave. She wants nothing to do with men, but there's something about Simon that she trusts. When he says they can have a marriage of friendship, she finally agrees. When the newlyweds travel to Brussels, Simon is once again asked by Duke Wellington to scout the countryside to find out what direction Napoleon will march his army.I nearly gave up on this book because nothing really happens until the 80% mark. I understand Suzanne has a lot of fear to overcome being with a man again, but it was drawn out way too long in my opinion. Once the war segment of the book starts, the plot really picked up and I did enjoy the last 20% of the book. I did like Simon a lot. He was an honorable, kind and compassionate hero and Suzanne did grow on me toward the end as she gains her confidence again. I voluntarily read a advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.
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  • Marti
    January 1, 1970
    Once a Spy by Mary Jo Putney is the fourth book in the Rogues Redeemed series. Quite frankly it could be read as a stand alone, but it is a Mary Jo Putney book, so why not read theme all. Simon and Suzanne Duval are a couple that really makes you realize how much work can go into a marriage, but not in a bad way. It reminded me of how life just doesn’t stand still.Simon Duval was a spy during the war with Napoleon. He was captured and held for killing the next day when he and some others escaped Once a Spy by Mary Jo Putney is the fourth book in the Rogues Redeemed series. Quite frankly it could be read as a stand alone, but it is a Mary Jo Putney book, so why not read theme all. Simon and Suzanne Duval are a couple that really makes you realize how much work can go into a marriage, but not in a bad way. It reminded me of how life just doesn’t stand still.Simon Duval was a spy during the war with Napoleon. He was captured and held for killing the next day when he and some others escaped. Simon finally was able to leave the army and heard the widow of his cousin was in England. When he went to visit her, he saw Suzanne’s reduced circumstances and offered her a marriage of companionship and comfort. Suzanne’s scars from her past are a huge barrier, but Simon is persistent. Suzanne and Simon set off on a trip only to find how much they really love each other, but is that enough. I love the relationship and strength between Suzanne and Simon. I found them both strong, resilient yet damaged by the past. I think they are what made this book so remarkable. Once a Spy by Mary Jo Putney was a good read!
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  • Jan Goodard
    January 1, 1970
    Suzanne Duval is a survivor. She survived marriage to a man more than twice her age who felt women were interchangeable. She survived captivity as a harem slave to a cruel reis. As this book opens, she is surviving poverty by taking in mending, but at least she is free. Simon Duval was cousin to Suzanne's husband and closer to her age. Since Napoleon is now sequestered in Elba, Simon is cashing out of the army. He served well in the Peninsular Wars as an intelligence officer. Suzanne and Simon b Suzanne Duval is a survivor. She survived marriage to a man more than twice her age who felt women were interchangeable. She survived captivity as a harem slave to a cruel reis. As this book opens, she is surviving poverty by taking in mending, but at least she is free. Simon Duval was cousin to Suzanne's husband and closer to her age. Since Napoleon is now sequestered in Elba, Simon is cashing out of the army. He served well in the Peninsular Wars as an intelligence officer. Suzanne and Simon became friends while she was waiting for her wedding to His cousin and falling half in love with her. He finds her and offers a marriage of convenience, knowing she deserves a better life and to give them time to become reacquainted. Every husband should have some of Simon in them. He is very patient with Suzanne, a wonderful quality in a husband. I don't want to give any more details, don't like spoilers in reviews, but I do highly recommend this book. It is the fourth book in the Rogues Redeemed series, and I feel the best one. It has great characters, is action packed, full of danger, and of course romance. I absolutely loved it! I received this eBook from NetGalley for an honest review.
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