ONCE A SCOUNDREL  by Mary Jo Putney


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It’s a pirate’s life for her—and that’s not a good thing.

In seeking a life of freedom away from British society, Lady Aurora Lawrence finds herself in a seemingly inescapable trap: She’s been kidnapped by Barbary pirate Malek Reis and added to a harem as she waits to see whether her family will pay Malek’s massive ransom demands. Rory's family has long given up on making a respectable woman of her, but her mother nevertheless seeks to hire a rescuer who might have a chance of saving her from a life in chains. Gabriel Hawkins is exactly whom she needs: He’s of noble birth, but after having been kicked out of the Royal Navy, he’s needed to make a living any way he can and is familiar with the not-so-legal side of the high seas. Gabriel quickly finds Rory on the Barbary Coast but soon learns that it won’t be easy to negotiate her ransom, as Malek may actually need to sell her in order to rescue his own wife and children, who are being held hostage by his evil cousin. So, despite their chemistry and proximity, the pair must resist temptation, because preserving Rory’s virginity could be the only way both will make it back to London safely. The story is lengthy and complex, with a few stumbles—because of the setting, Putney (Once a Rebel, 2017, etc.) walks a thin line between cultural sensitivity and the occasional stereotype, and some readers may be uncomfortable with the portrayal of life in harems even though the story takes pains to make its main characters three-dimensional. Like the first two books in Putney’s Rogues Redeemed series, this one is full of suspense, including battles at sea and a daring underground rescue, and fans of the action in earlier entries are likely to enjoy this volume as well. However, Rory and Gabriel’s immediate attraction combined with a charming subplot of a second love story ensure that romance carries the day.

An action-packed romance at sea that many readers will enjoy.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-4201-4096-5
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Zebra/Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2018


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