No Longer A Gentleman by Mary Jo Putney
Historical Romance released by Kensington Publishing on April 24, 2012
Grey Sommers, Lord Wyndham, never met a predicament he couldn’t charm his way out of. Then a tryst with a government official’s wife during a bit of casual espionage in France condemns him a decade in a dungeon, leaving him a shadow of his former self. Yet his greatest challenge may be the enigmatic spy sent to free his body—the only woman who might heal his soul.
Half English and half French, Cassie Fox lost everything in the chaos of revolution, leaving only a determination to help destroy Napoleon’s empire through her perilous calling. Rescuing Grey is merely one more mission. She hadn’t counted on a man with the stark beauty of a ravaged angel, whose desperate courage and vulnerability touch her frozen heart as no one ever has. With Grey, she can become the passionate woman she has long denied. But a spy and a lord are divided by an impassable gulf even if they manage to survive one last, terrifying mission….
I have read the first two novels in this series (but missed the third) and enjoyed the 4th installment in the series. Unlike man historical romance novels, this book doesn’t have a blushing virgin being introduced into her sensuality or reforming the jaded rake with her innocence. Instead, we have two very broken individuals with horrors in their past that many would not have survived.
Cassie is a half french half english woman working as an English spy. Her latest mission is to investigate the rumors that an Englishman is being held in a dungeon of a french government official. Cassie is resourceful, self-sufficient, intelligent but aloof. She has plastered up reinforced walls to protect herself with her only goal in life to defeat Napoleon. And Cassie is willing to do anything to reach that goal. She has no loyalty to the England beyond their shared enemy and she has no need of any sticky or complicated relationships. She doesn’t need anything or anyone. Until she pulls Grey Sommers put of a french dungeon.
Having spent the last 10 years in a solitary cell, without even human touch, Grey is a bit wild. He is desperate to be brought back to civilization while it also makes him weary and apprehensive. As his fist real connection outside his jail, Grey leans heavily on Cassie, finding her steadiness a comfort in his transition. Grey could have allowed his 10 year confinement to defeat him, instead he used to mature and came out with a better appreciation for life. He knows now what is truly important and it isn’t long until that includes Cassie.
The key to this romance is both parties embracing their vulnerabilities instead of trying to hide them. Cassie and Grey share similar experiences which helps to cement their relationship together. She understands what he suffered and he understands what she endured. And the plot comes full circle from being alone without hope, to that sliver of hope starting to blossom until hope and love become the driving force. Cannot say too much without spoiling the novel, but you will find plenty of twists and turns to keep your attention.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this story was the tale of hope. Even in the darkest of times and when both Cassie and Grey had turned their back on hope, it was still present, beating them over the head and worming its way in. The romance between them works because each is able to teach the other to embrace hope and to open their lives up to something more.
If you’ve read this series or this author add this to your to read pile. Others looking for a less traditional historical hero/heroine or just a break from the traditional historical model will enjoy this book