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Honed by danger and haunted by the past, Lord Michael Kenyon finds it easy to risk his life for his country's sake. But in the shadow of war, he faces a far more dangerous threat—the loss of his heart to the beautiful battlefield nurse who saves his life yet can never be his. Called a saint for her virtue and selfless courage, only Catherine Melbourne knows the tragic flaw Honed by danger and haunted by the past, Lord Michael Kenyon finds it easy to risk his life for his country's sake. But in the shadow of war, he faces a far more dangerous threat—the loss of his heart to the beautiful battlefield nurse who saves his life yet can never be his. Called a saint for her virtue and selfless courage, only Catherine Melbourne knows the tragic flaw at the core of her life. In Michael Kenyon she sees the strength and kindness she craves, yet for honor's sake, she must conceal her love and send him away. Even when freed from her bitter marriage, she conceals the truth because of the bleak knowledge that she can never again be any man's wife. Then fate offers Catherine a fortune, a title, a heritage for her daughter— if Michael will impersonate her husband on a visit to a wild Cornish island. Reluctantly, he agrees to the masquerade. But what begins as a simple journey leads them into a shattering vortex of danger and betrayal—and a fiercely passionate love that can no longer be denied.


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Honed by danger and haunted by the past, Lord Michael Kenyon finds it easy to risk his life for his country's sake. But in the shadow of war, he faces a far more dangerous threat—the loss of his heart to the beautiful battlefield nurse who saves his life yet can never be his. Called a saint for her virtue and selfless courage, only Catherine Melbourne knows the tragic flaw Honed by danger and haunted by the past, Lord Michael Kenyon finds it easy to risk his life for his country's sake. But in the shadow of war, he faces a far more dangerous threat—the loss of his heart to the beautiful battlefield nurse who saves his life yet can never be his. Called a saint for her virtue and selfless courage, only Catherine Melbourne knows the tragic flaw at the core of her life. In Michael Kenyon she sees the strength and kindness she craves, yet for honor's sake, she must conceal her love and send him away. Even when freed from her bitter marriage, she conceals the truth because of the bleak knowledge that she can never again be any man's wife. Then fate offers Catherine a fortune, a title, a heritage for her daughter— if Michael will impersonate her husband on a visit to a wild Cornish island. Reluctantly, he agrees to the masquerade. But what begins as a simple journey leads them into a shattering vortex of danger and betrayal—and a fiercely passionate love that can no longer be denied.

30 review for Shattered Rainbows

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    Haldoran! Haldoran! Does whatever a scoundrel can! Can he shoot? Can he scheme? Ravishing Catherine is his dream. Here comes that Haldoran man! All Spider Man tributes aside, this is one of the best historical romance novels I've ever read. Mary Jo Putney has a great talent for not only creating hunky heroes, but heroines with real skills and intelligence, and villains who are far more deadly and resourceful than the liars and cowardly weaklings who make up "the usual suspects" in most romance. I Haldoran! Haldoran! Does whatever a scoundrel can! Can he shoot? Can he scheme? Ravishing Catherine is his dream. Here comes that Haldoran man! All Spider Man tributes aside, this is one of the best historical romance novels I've ever read. Mary Jo Putney has a great talent for not only creating hunky heroes, but heroines with real skills and intelligence, and villains who are far more deadly and resourceful than the liars and cowardly weaklings who make up "the usual suspects" in most romance. I fell in love with Catherine right from the beginning. I love the way she's not only married, her daughter Amy is nearly a teenager by the time the book opens. Yet Catherine is not only beautiful, poised, and classy, she's a battlefield nurse, army wife, and really almost a combat soldier in her own right. Mary Jo Putney has created a really multi-faceted heroine, miles ahead of the usual angry spitfire or silly young virgin. Catherine is so serene and good on the surface it's intriguing to find the cracks and flaws underneath. This is a very special heroine! I liked Michael a lot too. He's not only a brave soldier, he's a man of honor who feels compelled to deny himself out of respect to Catherine's goodness and reputation. I loved the way his battle scenes at Waterloo are written almost like an adventure novel, not skimmed over like in most historical romances. It really made history come alive! But of course, the most notable character in this book is the villain -- the Amazing Haldoran. This is not some weakling who bursts into tears the minute the hero punches him in the nose. Haldoran is a swordsman, a hunter, a master of intrigue, a master of disguise, and a villain who can keep on swinging even when the odds are against him. The final chapters of this amazing novel shift the mood entirely, from VANITY FAIR (high society, gallant battles) to something more primal and modern, almost like SURVIVOR or THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME. Haldoran is so completely evil, yet his very presence creates chilling suspense as Michael and Catherine must outwit a truly satanic villain in a bleak and uncanny landscape of crags and moors and ruins. If only Haldoran could have blown himself up in his castle instead of just falling off a cliff! "Made it, ma! Top of the world!"

  2. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    Of all the fallen angels I think this is my least favorite (I have read all of them in my youth). But I really appreciate Mary Jo Putney's writing. It sometimes flows a bit oddly, but always has a richness to it that I cannot describe. I think in the romance genre, some writers write fluffy romances, some dark, some light. And some writers, like Mary Jo Putney, write love stories. They explore a different dimension of our romantic psyche. The price they pay is that sometimes readers lose interes Of all the fallen angels I think this is my least favorite (I have read all of them in my youth). But I really appreciate Mary Jo Putney's writing. It sometimes flows a bit oddly, but always has a richness to it that I cannot describe. I think in the romance genre, some writers write fluffy romances, some dark, some light. And some writers, like Mary Jo Putney, write love stories. They explore a different dimension of our romantic psyche. The price they pay is that sometimes readers lose interests in all the supporting details. The good thing about this book is precisely what Putney is good at: exploring less travelled territory. Michael fell in love before with his friend's wife and was burned badly, losing both the friend and the woman in the end, wary of yet intervening in another marriage and this time, with a fellow officer's wife. Catherine, a married woman saint and army wife, was secretly attracted to Michael but could not do anything about it. The story is rich because it explores at least 2 taboos: Thou shall not lust after your friend/colleague's woman for Michael and Thou shall not betray your marriage vows for Catherine. I would have loved this book if it wasn't for Catherine's daughter. I don't do well with stories that feature a mother and her children. I always feel that the children take precedence over the hero, which is also what I observe in real life. Once women become mothers, their spouses take the backseat and nothing is more important than the children. While I find a mother's love honorable and respectable, I have trouble seeing how that could enrich a romance. These "mothers in romance" usually are extremely protective of their children and that creates a rift between men and women in the books, I feel. The mothers accept or refuse the men "because of the children". Same goes for the heros with children, too.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Ashley

    Book 2 for my Goodreads Romance Week shelving: Mary Jo Putney has many terrific books, but this is my very favorite (thus far), and one of my favorite romances ever, especially Part 1! It's a love story between a married woman who would never dream of straying and a man who has vowed never to have anything to do with married women again. The tension as they struggle to maintain their principles and at the same time acknowledge their feelings is built up in just the right way. Also, this is the b Book 2 for my Goodreads Romance Week shelving: Mary Jo Putney has many terrific books, but this is my very favorite (thus far), and one of my favorite romances ever, especially Part 1! It's a love story between a married woman who would never dream of straying and a man who has vowed never to have anything to do with married women again. The tension as they struggle to maintain their principles and at the same time acknowledge their feelings is built up in just the right way. Also, this is the best depiction of battles in the Napoleonic Wars I've read--the Battle of Waterloo from the POV of the hero, a rifleman, puts you right there as it happens. In previous books, Michael was somewhat of a villain figure, but of course he's so much more than that. This is the story of his redemption. Mary Jo was one of my inspirations when I first began trying to write romance. Her characters are realistic rather than romance cliches or caricatures--you can imagine meeting these people and learning what makes them tick. This is book is always on my highly recommended list (and when men are curious about historical romance, I recommend this one to them).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Everything I know about the Battle of Waterloo I learned from this book. Mary Jo Putney writes historical romances that are always entertaining and sometimes much more. This is one of the "much more" books. The final section, set on an island off the coast of England, veers into a more traditional adventure, but what stayed with me were the passages about the bloody destruction of Waterloo, the absolute upheaval of lives, and the determination of people to continue living as best they can. Everything I know about the Battle of Waterloo I learned from this book. Mary Jo Putney writes historical romances that are always entertaining and sometimes much more. This is one of the "much more" books. The final section, set on an island off the coast of England, veers into a more traditional adventure, but what stayed with me were the passages about the bloody destruction of Waterloo, the absolute upheaval of lives, and the determination of people to continue living as best they can.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Keri

    4.5 Stars. I knew that Stephen's book was going to be the most emotional and difficult and it was. Stephen was one of those poor souls that was destined to fall in love with women that were emotional unable to return his love, whether it be by death or marriage. But when he catchs sight of Catherine, none of that seems to matter. Very good read and a satisfying epi. Looking forward to Kenneth's book. 4.5 Stars. I knew that Stephen's book was going to be the most emotional and difficult and it was. Stephen was one of those poor souls that was destined to fall in love with women that were emotional unable to return his love, whether it be by death or marriage. But when he catchs sight of Catherine, none of that seems to matter. Very good read and a satisfying epi. Looking forward to Kenneth's book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alina

    From Mary Jo's Fallen Angels series I really wanted to read Michael's story the most.As I already had an idea (based on his presence and actions in the other books from the FA series) Michael is one smart and strong male. Catherine was a little bit annoying and tried too hard to be a "martyr" .I just couldn't understand her many lies and her ability to take irrational decisions . All in all the book was enjoyable. From Mary Jo's Fallen Angels series I really wanted to read Michael's story the most.As I already had an idea (based on his presence and actions in the other books from the FA series) Michael is one smart and strong male. Catherine was a little bit annoying and tried too hard to be a "martyr" .I just couldn't understand her many lies and her ability to take irrational decisions . All in all the book was enjoyable.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Estara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a second favourite in this series, even though you have to forgive the manhunt and derring-do escapades at the very end of the book, the action climax which is totally over the top (including spending a night in a cave cut off from land which only partially floods and which also has a hot spring - so you can wash and other things *nudge nudge*). Not having read much military history fiction this book, together with Georgette Heyer's The Spanish Bride, are the most memorable Napoleonic war This is a second favourite in this series, even though you have to forgive the manhunt and derring-do escapades at the very end of the book, the action climax which is totally over the top (including spending a night in a cave cut off from land which only partially floods and which also has a hot spring - so you can wash and other things *nudge nudge*). Not having read much military history fiction this book, together with Georgette Heyer's The Spanish Bride, are the most memorable Napoleonic wars books to me that show what life in the army on the continent was like for officers and women. Michael Kenyon, whose father has despised him all his life (we do find out why) and whose siblings have been alienated from him, only had one emotional connection, to his Fallen Angel friends at Eton. The twin sister of one of his friends who had opened her heart to him when they were still children had died, which had wounded him already. Then he made the mistake of falling for the treacherous beauty that one of his friends married, and almost killing him in revenge for his supposed role in that woman's death (only to find out that he had been one of many lovers of that particular lady). To be precise: Michael is a capable officer and tries to be honourable but he has a decided major weakness for truly beautiful women, and he has no real emotional bonds during the war. During a horrible siege of a Spanish city, Michael is almost mortally wounded and only Kenneth Windling manages to save him and bring him to an army hospital, where he is cared for by the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, someone that comes across like an angel to him. When Napoleon returns from Elba, Michael enlists again and he is billeted with (or rather saves)Catherine Melbourne, an officer's wife as she was an officer's daughter before, getting to know her and her capable daughter Amy and their friendly circle. He recognises her and his instant attraction and personal honour, not to mention the spotless reputation she has, make him constantly hover between desire and adoration of her. Catherine for all that does the best she can with what she knows, one of these things being the fact that she doesn't like sex, that her husband is a womanizer and not very dependable but also a shield against other men and that she adores her daughter and vice versa. The tension and balls of the time, the attraction that Catherine develops towards Michael but won't act on, the things that happen during and after Waterloo lead to Catherine realising that she loves Michael (whose loan of a horse saved her husband's life) but a) she is married and b) she hates sex - so there is no future for them. He is near death after Waterloo, so the only thing she believes she can give him is all the care he can take and she saves his life by persuading a doctor to try a new technique (blood transfusion) with her blood. This is where they part ways once more. Another few years have passed and Catherine's husband Colin has managed to get himself killed (we later find out that is has nothing to do with his infedilities, but was part of a major intrigue) and she is financially at the end of her rope. Suddenly she is contacted by a lawyer who tells her that she is the next possible heir to a independent island off the coast, because her father was one of the Laird's sons but married the wrong woman and was thrown out. The Laird wants to see her and her husband, because he doesn't believe that a woman alone can fulfil the job. Catherine remembers Michael's gratitude and pledge of help and decides to ask him to impersonate her husband for the interview on the island - she keeps Colin's death from him to avoid possible developing of hopes (she still thinks sex is awful and wants Michael to have a real marriage). This is where the action plot comes in, but the fun is in the two getting ever more to know each other - Catherine learning to entrust her body to Michael and Michael being so happy to have found a beautiful woman who is as good as she seems and who loves him. However the intrigue forces her to successfully lie to him and only some of the lies come out and she almost manages to destroy his faith in her and therefore in the fact that a woman CAN love him (the memory of the beautiful scheming wife of his friend Nicholas does NOT help here) - the nice thing is that he comes to his senses very soon, because he has the memories of her behaviour in the war to fall back on: there must be something wrong (he already forgave her for her deception with regard to Colin really fast, because he can actually follow her arguments when they talk about it). This is a hero who keeps his flaw - a fatal weakness for beautiful women - but has the luck to find one who is worth his adoration and a woman who is totally capable and almost unflappable who discovers that there is more to sex than she thought and who becomes as comfortable with her power there as she has already become with the rest of her abilities.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kate McMurry

    Outstanding audiobook version of a fabulous Regency romance For over a decade, Lord Michael Kenyon, who is the younger son of a Duke, has carved out a career as a dynamic officer in the British Army under the command of the Duke of Wellington. Currently 31 years of age, Michael has recovered from many different wounds throughout his military service during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815). But the wounds he incurs during the final, decisive Battle of Waterloo in 1815, after Napoleon escapes from E Outstanding audiobook version of a fabulous Regency romance For over a decade, Lord Michael Kenyon, who is the younger son of a Duke, has carved out a career as a dynamic officer in the British Army under the command of the Duke of Wellington. Currently 31 years of age, Michael has recovered from many different wounds throughout his military service during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815). But the wounds he incurs during the final, decisive Battle of Waterloo in 1815, after Napoleon escapes from Elba, threaten his very survival. Catherine Melbourne has been married to a military man the past 12 years since the age of 16, and she is currently 28 years old. She and her 11-year-old daughter have "followed the drum" along with her military spouse, enduring with her husband the dangers and deprivations experienced by the military during the Napoleonic Wars. In the process, she has toughened up both physically and mentally, becoming an expert at making a comfortable home for her husband and daughter in any temporary housing situation, no matter how rough, and she has grown into an outstanding battlefield nurse. She has earned the admiring nickname, Saint Catherine, due primarily to her selfless service nursing the wounded. But also, importantly, because of her ongoing, unimpeachable virtue in the face of constant opportunities to break her marriage vows with adoring military men. These offers occur both because she is an exquisitely beautiful woman, and because everyone knows her handsome, charming husband constantly cheats on her. In the days before and after the Battle of Waterloo, Michael is lodged in the same large house in Belgium with Catherine, her husband and daughter, Catherine's best friend, who is a fellow military wife, the friend's military husband, their two children and pets, a hugely talented surgeon (who is there temporarily while treating wounded soldiers after Waterloo), and Kenneth Wilding, a fellow officer and close friend of Michael's. (Kenneth is the hero of the next book in this series, River of Fire.) While living under the same roof, Catherine and Michael become platonic friends and, unknown to each other, they each fall in love. It is a star-crossed love than cannot be spoken aloud, because they are both honorable people. When Catherine risks her life to save Michael from terrible battle wounds, it forms a further, deeper bond between them that can never be broken. On the day everyone in the shared household goes their separate way after Waterloo, Michael informs Catherine that if she ever needs anything from him, at any time, she has only to ask. A year later, after her husband, who survived endless battles without a scratch, is murdered, Catherine returns to England with her daughter and stays with her best friend and the friend's family in London. Out of the blue, Catherine is offered the chance to inherit a fortune and a title from her paternal grandfather, whom she has never met before because years ago he disinherited her mother for marrying Catherine's father against his wishes. In dire financial straits, because her feckless husband left her nothing but his unpaid debts, Catherine is eager to pursue this opportunity for her daughter's sake. Unfortunately, her grandfather considers the inheritance a package deal. He will only make Catherine his heir jointly with a husband, and he must approve of the husband. In addition, her grandfather is very ill, might die soon, and she must come and be interviewed by him right away. Since she no longer has a husband, Catherine despairs of being able to win over her grandfather until she remembers Michael's offer to help her in any way, whatsoever, that she desires. What if Michael were willing to temporarily pretend to be her husband? It would solve all her problems. When Catherine approaches Michael with her desperate request, she does her best to lie as little as possble. But she is unwilling to let Michael know she is now ethically and legally available to become romantically involved with him because, as an honorable man, after pretending to be her husband, he might feel obligated to offer her marriage for real. Catherine cannot let that happen due to a deep, dark secret which she believes makes her forever ineligible to marry again. For this reason, when she asks Michael to pretend to be her husband, she tells him it is because her husband has not yet returned from France--which she assures herself is actually technically true, because he is buried there. Michael is not pleased with participating in a deception, which he believes can have unanticipated negative consequences. But he feels very protective of Catherine, wants very much to help her and, most of all, cannot resist the opportunity to spend stolen time with the woman he hopelessly adores. This is an emotionally intense, excitingly adventurous, and beautifully written historical romance. The first part of the book, in addition to showing, with great depth of feeling, the initial stages of the relationship between Michael and Catherine, contains a vivid portrayal of the Battle of Waterloo from Michael's point of view as a brave and dynamic leader of the infantrymen in his command. It also, in very accurate, historical detail, shows what it is like for Catherine to nurse the wounded, including Michael, in an era when trauma medicine was horrifyingly primitive. The second part of the book occurs a year after Napoleon's final defeat. Due to the presence of a scary villain, this segment also contains plenty of thrilling action-adventure. And because of the fake-marriage plot, the romance between Michael and Catherine really takes off. This is a "slow burn" romance, and the several scenes which include lovemaking are extremely tender and sensually enthralling without resorting to crudity in language or descriptions. Both protagonists in this book are what I consider the very best kind in either romance or action-adventure plots. They get into trouble because they are honorable, compassionate people, what I call "Positive Warriors," rather than due to negative motivations and character flaws. Also, whenever they are faced with adversity, they both display boundless courage, creative thinking and perseverance. There are many delightful subcharacters in this novel, including cameo appearances by fellow "Fallen Angel" friends of Michael (who each have their own novel in this series of inter-linked books), Catherine's best friend and her family, Catherine's grandfather and, most enjoyable of all, Catherine's daughter, Amy, who is as brave, caring, loyal and intelligent as her mother. (Note that Amy is the heroine of MJP's third Bride romance novel, The Bartered Bride, in that book going by her middle name, Alexandra, with the nickname, Alex.) The historical details in this book are offered in the most effective and entertaining way. They are never presented in a didactic manner, but rather are seamlessly woven into the story in order to vividly bring this period of history to life as it plays out dramatically in the lives of the protagonists. I have read this book multiple times over the years and have owned it as a mass-market paperback, as a Kindle edition, and have recently had the opportunity to listen to a newly produced audiobook version. This audio recording is of outstanding quality. The narrator is Siobhan Waring, a British voice talent who does an excellent job with the voices of characters of all ages, both genders, and many regional accents. It was a pleasure re-experiencing this terrific historical romance in this audiobook format. I am sure I will happily listen to this keeper recording many other times in the future, and I recommend it to fellow historical-romance fans without reservation. I rate this audiobook as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Hero: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Settings: 5 stars Wartime Plot: 5 stars Fake-Marriage Plot: 5 stars Action-Adventure Plot: 5 stars Historical Details: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Audiobook Quality: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars

  9. 4 out of 5

    Oleta Blaylock

    This series just keeps getting better and better. I have to wonder if these were the first books that Ms. Putney published. While are the books are very good there is marked improvement in each story. This story is just a single romance much like THUNDER & ROSES. This story is different from the others in that it covers several years. In covering that period of time there are wonderful glimpses of history. There are scenes after the battle at Salamanca. There are also the days Michael Kenyon and This series just keeps getting better and better. I have to wonder if these were the first books that Ms. Putney published. While are the books are very good there is marked improvement in each story. This story is just a single romance much like THUNDER & ROSES. This story is different from the others in that it covers several years. In covering that period of time there are wonderful glimpses of history. There are scenes after the battle at Salamanca. There are also the days Michael Kenyon and Catherine Melbourne spent in Brussels before the Battle at Waterloo. Ms. Putney make you see the carnage and suffering that must have occurred. I am glad that Michael was so willing to get past the things that have happened to him through his life. He is a very confident solider but he is emotionally scarred from living with his tyrant of a father and what Caroline (see Thunder & Roses) put him through. I am also very glad the Michael and his brother were able to get past the abuse that they both received from their father. I liked Michael very much. He over came a great and became a wonderful man. Catherine is a great mate for him. Catherine is one of the very unusual woman that followed her husband while he was on campaign during the war with Napoleon. It wasn't an easy life and a lot of women died in the camps that were setup near the fighting. Catherine is a caring, intelligent and very resilient. She is capable of riding a horse for hours as well as finding a way to make ends meet on an officers salary. Catherine is a good nurse and likes taking care of the people that she loves. She is also like so many of the woman of this time, she has no idea that sex can be enjoyable. Her first husband was more concerned with his own pleasure that of his spouse. I like Catherine a lot and I was very glad that she was able to find a mate that care for her. I look forward to reading the last two books in this series. Ms. Putney is a very good writer and she does a wonderful job of keeping her readers entertained. She has done a good deal of research for this time period. These last few books have gone very quickly. There is so much going on and I love that I learn something that I didn't know before.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ash

    3.75 stars rounded up to 4 Grade= B

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dangermousie

    This is the book that turned me into a Putney fan. It was the first MJP book I loved - passionate hardcore love I have never even come close to feeling for another MJP book before this one (I read One Perfect Rose after this and it was a one-two punch that made me a fangirl). More than half of SR is set right before, during, and after Waterloo, and is unspoken, unacted-on romance between an English officer and the wife of another officer at whose house he is billeted at and IT WAS MAKING ME DIE. This is the book that turned me into a Putney fan. It was the first MJP book I loved - passionate hardcore love I have never even come close to feeling for another MJP book before this one (I read One Perfect Rose after this and it was a one-two punch that made me a fangirl). More than half of SR is set right before, during, and after Waterloo, and is unspoken, unacted-on romance between an English officer and the wife of another officer at whose house he is billeted at and IT WAS MAKING ME DIE. Michael is the quietly competent Colonel who had fought in the Peninsular Wars, had sold out since, but comes back to rejoin the army once Napoleon escapes. He doesn't have a deathwish or anything, but he has a deep sense of honor, a strong feeling of needing expiate for his past (an affair with a wife of a close friend years ago that ended badly), and a feeling of comradeship with his men as well as a certain attraction to how alive he feels in battle. And he has a huge weakness for beautiful women who he has a tendency to put on an angelic pedestal, which he knows of as a weakness and fights. Catherine is the gorgeous, superemely competent (yes, both hero and heroine are super-competent, I love!) wife of an officer who follows the drum with their almost-teenage daughter. She was a daughter of an officer, married another officer at 16, and army life is all she knows. She is superb at arranging lodgings, nursing, making order out of chaos etc. She and her husband have a marriage in name only - he loves to sleep with anything in skirts and she is fine with it as she finds notion of bodily intimacy utterly repellent. But they are not unhappy together as the arrangement is satisfactory to both. And then Michael is billeted with Catherine and her household in the days leading to Waterloo. And !!!!!! I have no words how much I shipped them and how much I loved their relationship, where neither makes a move or speaks of their attraction (he fights it because he knows his tendency to have rationality desert him in the face of beauty and because he will never do anything with a married woman; and she fights it because she is loyal to her odd marriage, and she thinks he deserves a woman who would want a real relationship, physical side included.) But their love for each other is palpable desite being unspoken and unacted on and just - they are so freaking perfect together and they long for each other so much, and are both such amazing people, and there are all these descriptions of army life and the battle and her saving his life after he is wounded and just - guuuuuuuuuh!!! I DIE! The second half of the book involves a more conventional plot where she asks him to pretend to be her husband while concealing from him that her actual husband had since died (don't ask, I promise it makes sense) and just imagine the angst and longing these two people fixing each other and just - I want to gibber like a lunatic. Putney has made a believer out of me!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Linda Morris

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This novel consists of two very different parts. The first part is set in the lead-up to the Battle of Waterloo and during the battle itself. England is on edge after Napoleon's escape from captivity, knowing that the resumption of war is inevitable. It's extraordinarily well-researched as a piece of historical fiction and is among the best romance writing I've read. The love story is also very restrained and understated -- it remains unspoken as the heroine is married to someone else. The secon This novel consists of two very different parts. The first part is set in the lead-up to the Battle of Waterloo and during the battle itself. England is on edge after Napoleon's escape from captivity, knowing that the resumption of war is inevitable. It's extraordinarily well-researched as a piece of historical fiction and is among the best romance writing I've read. The love story is also very restrained and understated -- it remains unspoken as the heroine is married to someone else. The second part of the book takes place after the war is over and the heroine's husband has been killed. The heroine, desperate for money as a war widow, learns she may be the heiress to a feudal keep on an island off of the coast of Britain. For not-very-plausible reasons, she asks the hero to pose as her husband as she travels to the island, but does not reveal that she is a widow. The second half of the book is taken up with action and an over-the-top villain. These two parts just didn't seem to belong in the same book. I gave the first half of the book five stars, and the second half three, which averages out to four stars overall.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    This book is classified as "romance" but it's so well-written that after the first few pages, you realize that the emphasis is on history rather than romance. It's out of print currently, but most used book stores probably have it. WARNING: It's the fourth volume in a series called "Fallen Angels", and I highly recommend that the books be read in sequence, as some of the plot lines and characters show up in all the books in the series (there are seven books altogether). A great leisure/beach rea This book is classified as "romance" but it's so well-written that after the first few pages, you realize that the emphasis is on history rather than romance. It's out of print currently, but most used book stores probably have it. WARNING: It's the fourth volume in a series called "Fallen Angels", and I highly recommend that the books be read in sequence, as some of the plot lines and characters show up in all the books in the series (there are seven books altogether). A great leisure/beach read!

  14. 4 out of 5

    *MariaA*

    Now, this is what I call a damn good read! Although we could have done with a bit less description of the battlefields and a bit more fast pacing of the story. Michael was an amazingly lovable fellow!!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Megzy

    The scenes from Waterloo and the aftermath of the battle ground were what makes this book great.

  16. 4 out of 5

    crashqueen73

    The heroine was too perfect for me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    I was hesitant to read Michael's story given his actions in Thunder & Roses, but this story turned out beautifully. Highly recommend. I was hesitant to read Michael's story given his actions in Thunder & Roses, but this story turned out beautifully. Highly recommend.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jane Irish Nelson

    The prologue is intriguing, and draws the reader into Catherine's dilemma. Then the story moves back in time several years to when she first met Lord Michael Kenyon, during Wellington's Peninsular Campaign. But that was brief, and the only formally met in Brussels, during the lead up to Waterloo. Catherine's husband is a cavalry officer, and Michael ends up billeted in the house they are sharing with another English family. Although both Michael and Catherine are drawn to one another, neither ca The prologue is intriguing, and draws the reader into Catherine's dilemma. Then the story moves back in time several years to when she first met Lord Michael Kenyon, during Wellington's Peninsular Campaign. But that was brief, and the only formally met in Brussels, during the lead up to Waterloo. Catherine's husband is a cavalry officer, and Michael ends up billeted in the house they are sharing with another English family. Although both Michael and Catherine are drawn to one another, neither can let the other know, due to the obvious impediment of Catherine's marriage, and the less obvious one of Michael's past. But events at this time leave Michael feeling in Catherine's debt, so when she needs his help a year later, he agrees. And then the real story begins, along with a mystery or two. Once again the author has created a wonderful story with unforgettable characters that is very hard to put down. Highly recommended.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Patti

    Overall a really good book. I’ve been looking forward to Michael’s story since Book #1, and I can’t believe Putney made us wait until #5 to give it to us! Anyway, while I enjoyed it, it was not without its flaws. What I liked: Michael and Catherine were just really great characters. I really loved both of them, but Michael especially. He was just an all around great guy. So full of love and kindness and decency. Yes, he’s also an “alpha male” but it makes complete sense as a man who has been in t Overall a really good book. I’ve been looking forward to Michael’s story since Book #1, and I can’t believe Putney made us wait until #5 to give it to us! Anyway, while I enjoyed it, it was not without its flaws. What I liked: Michael and Catherine were just really great characters. I really loved both of them, but Michael especially. He was just an all around great guy. So full of love and kindness and decency. Yes, he’s also an “alpha male” but it makes complete sense as a man who has been in the military for years, commanding a regiment on the front lines of the Napoleonic Wars, and who fought in the two biggest battles known, nearly dying from serious injuries each time. His amazing military skill and discipline really shine in the second half of the book, too, kind of bringing the story full circle. Usually war and battle are not my thing, but I think the author did a really good job showing how these experiences shaped Michael into the good guy we see. (There’s also a backstory of how he had an affair with the wife of his best friend in his younger years, and how the fallout of all that changed him too, but if you’re familiar with the series, you know all about that going into the book.) What I didn’t like: Parts of the storytelling. Honestly, there were points in the book where I was like, come on, Michael and Catherine deserve better than this! Overall, I thought it was either too long or not enough time was spent on the heart of their relationship. The first part really dragged. I appreciated what Putney was doing in setting the stage for later. They met and fell in love while she was still married, and they were both too honorable to act on any of those feelings. Great. It could have definitely been shorter, though, and I really didn’t care about the first person POV play by play of the Battle of Waterloo. There’s plenty of other books I can read to get that if I wanted. That’s SO not why I read romance novels. Part 2 was almost like reading a totally different book! I enjoyed most of it, but the climax where the Hero and heroine are in peril was more than a little over the top. Like Grade A soap opera sweeps week level stuff. But here’s the thing... I didn’t hate it...lol. I think that’s a testament to the good writing and great characters. One other thing I’ll point out, with how much time the author spent fleshing out other storylines (almost detrimentally), WHY didn’t she take more time with the physical intimacy aspect?! There’s a very particular reason why this is a huge deal, and it’s like that all went away in literally the span of a few hours. I can’t remember the last time I liked both main characters of a book so much while feeling dissatisfied with a lot of their story. It’s kind of an interesting conundrum, but the author clearly did a remarkable job of making them seem like real people to me. There’s also a lot of great supporting characters in the book, not the least of which is Amy, Catherine’s smart and spunky daughter. Despite some flaws, this is definitely one of my favorite books in the series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shilo Quetchenbach

    I wavered between rating this a 2 and a 3. Really it’s about a 2.5. The audiobook narration was excellent, which is probably why I finished it. If I had been reading it I probably would have given up partway through. I liked the story well enough, and I’m always a fan of the fake relationship trope. The writing style wasn’t really for me though. It was too… I don’t know. Flowery? gushy? Definitely far too full of cliches. Especially at the romantic and sexual bits. Then it was cringe-worthy. The I wavered between rating this a 2 and a 3. Really it’s about a 2.5. The audiobook narration was excellent, which is probably why I finished it. If I had been reading it I probably would have given up partway through. I liked the story well enough, and I’m always a fan of the fake relationship trope. The writing style wasn’t really for me though. It was too… I don’t know. Flowery? gushy? Definitely far too full of cliches. Especially at the romantic and sexual bits. Then it was cringe-worthy. The hero and heroine both had tortured, tragic backgrounds — far too tragic to be realistic. They were both also unrealistically selfless and heroic. I do have to give kudos for a charmingly irascible grandfather and a truly villainous villain. Also all the major plot points / twists were obvious. Whenever something little came up that would be important later it was just… far too obvious. I could see it all coming a mile away. And how many times can one really repeat the title of the book within the book? I also found her portrayal of asthma to be unrealistic. Maybe before there were medications for it the only way to manage it was to talk oneself through it, but it isn’t *just* the panic that makes it difficult to breathe. She also seemed to attribute the hero’s attacks to strong emotions instead of, say, the cigar smoke blowing in his face. So, overall I enjoyed it but with reservations. This is the first Mary Jo Putney book I’ve read, and I definitely won’t be seeking out her work in the future. I would probably read the others in the series if I found them at the library and didn’t have anything else to read, but I wouldn’t buy them *edited to add: WHY do romance authors always go on and on about "primal instincts" and equate men with being "hard / warriors / possessors" and women with "soft / emotional / caregivers" ??? Some authors are worse than others (this book was a prime offender) and just make me want to run back to fanfiction where instead of these incredibly sexist archetypes people can just be.... people, with a complicated mix of attributes that *aren't* the standard cavemen ones? *sigh* /rant *I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lu

    4,5 starts rounded up Michael met Catherine during the war and she nursed him and saved his life. He was attracted to her immediately, but she was married. Her husband was unfaithful and absent but Catherine kept true to her vows. He is a younger son to a duke and told Catherine to reach for him if she ever needed any kind of help. Up to this point the book was clearly a 5 star to me, but then things started to get cloudy. Some time after the war Catherine discovers she has a grandparent who is Laird 4,5 starts rounded up Michael met Catherine during the war and she nursed him and saved his life. He was attracted to her immediately, but she was married. Her husband was unfaithful and absent but Catherine kept true to her vows. He is a younger son to a duke and told Catherine to reach for him if she ever needed any kind of help. Up to this point the book was clearly a 5 star to me, but then things started to get cloudy. Some time after the war Catherine discovers she has a grandparent who is Laird to a small island and that he is willing to declare her his heir if he approves of her husband. The problem was her husband had just been killed and she was in dire straights. She decides to ask Michael to pretend to be her husband so that she can get the heritage, but lies to him saying her husband is still alive in France. He had some serious trouble in the past by getting involved to a married woman so he struggles between the debt of gratitude and the desire for her. For too such honorable people it was weird to me that they would simply deceive her grandfather like that. From there things get quite adventurous, some of his family issues are unveiled and some resolved and they plunge to their HEA. It was a good story, the emotions between them were strong and the plot was deep and interesting. I wish the author could have came up with another excuse for them to end up at the island. The old story of the rich grandfather who comes to the daughter of the son he renegaded was the lower point to me. I’ve already read the next book of the series about Michael’s brother and it was nice to understand better their background.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jack Vasen

    I usually don't like books or TV that starts in the present and immediately flashes back, but in this case it sparked my interest. The flashback was refreshing and interesting. There was also an episode where what Catherine did for Michael was, to me, extremely romantic, especially the long term consequences. When the story caught up to the present, it didn't require quite so many tedious denials as in most of this genre. Even Catherine's terrible secret was a bit uncommon. Catherine is, if possib I usually don't like books or TV that starts in the present and immediately flashes back, but in this case it sparked my interest. The flashback was refreshing and interesting. There was also an episode where what Catherine did for Michael was, to me, extremely romantic, especially the long term consequences. When the story caught up to the present, it didn't require quite so many tedious denials as in most of this genre. Even Catherine's terrible secret was a bit uncommon. Catherine is, if possible, even more saintly than many of MJP's heroines, or for that matter many written by other authors. Not only is she generous and unselfish, but she is courageous and stubborn. Michael is a man, so we can't expect him to be on the same level of sainthood, but even so, he's not bad. He definitely has courage, and at this point in life, he is pretty honorable. Mature themes: there is some extended moderately explicit sex. Catherine's (view spoiler)[ secret would be embarrassing to be discussed in mixed company. (hide spoiler)] There is abduction, potential child abuse and threatened rape. I'd rate it all probably mild to moderate mature themes.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Historical romance novels may seem corny and cliché to some, but I just love them. This one was a little extra cheesy, but that's okay. It's fun to read something with a little extra silliness in it sometimes. I've read one or two of Mary Jo Putney's Fallen Angels series before, and I enjoyed following another one of the childhood friends in his adventures in finding "the one". In this story, Michael is a soldier who has made some bad mistakes in love. Catherine is a military wife, whose husban Historical romance novels may seem corny and cliché to some, but I just love them. This one was a little extra cheesy, but that's okay. It's fun to read something with a little extra silliness in it sometimes. I've read one or two of Mary Jo Putney's Fallen Angels series before, and I enjoyed following another one of the childhood friends in his adventures in finding "the one". In this story, Michael is a soldier who has made some bad mistakes in love. Catherine is a military wife, whose husband is a blatant philanderer. They are immediately attracted to one another, but obvious obstacles exist. A year after their first meeting, much has changed, but their feelings remain. Yet neither can bring themselves to let their guard down enough to believe happily ever after is possible. Perhaps it's a little predictable, but there's a bit of adventure between the conflict and its resolution, with a dastardly villain on a stormy island.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Olga Godim

    This regency romance comes in 2 parts. The first part – happening in Brussels before, during, and after the Waterloo battle – seems like a prelude to the real story of this book, the love story of Michael and Catherine, which happened a year later. Despite the first part’s poignant depiction of the horrors of war and the touching portrayal of the protagonists’ first meetings and their falling in love, when they both thought their relationship an impossibility (Catherine is married after all), th This regency romance comes in 2 parts. The first part – happening in Brussels before, during, and after the Waterloo battle – seems like a prelude to the real story of this book, the love story of Michael and Catherine, which happened a year later. Despite the first part’s poignant depiction of the horrors of war and the touching portrayal of the protagonists’ first meetings and their falling in love, when they both thought their relationship an impossibility (Catherine is married after all), the entire first part feels like an extended backstory. The true story starts with the second part, and after some pretty harrowing adventures, our hero and heroine finally arrive at their mutual HEA. It was a wonderful story, heart-warming and pulse-pounding. I loved the writing and the leads, both male and female, but I couldn’t help wondering. Could the author treat that first part better? Maybe incorporate it into the full story in a way that would’ve been less jarring, more integral?

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dee Jay Blaylock

    Love Unrequited? Michael Kenyon never dreams he will find true love nor does he expect it. Catherine Melbourne has what looks like a perfect marriage to a handsome Captain but is it all a lie? When she is known as Saint Catherine because of all she does for injured soldiers, she ends up helping Michael to recover and soon finds that she has fallen under his spell. Neither goes further than is right and proper even though they both feel more than would be proper. Michael tells Catherine if she ever Love Unrequited? Michael Kenyon never dreams he will find true love nor does he expect it. Catherine Melbourne has what looks like a perfect marriage to a handsome Captain but is it all a lie? When she is known as Saint Catherine because of all she does for injured soldiers, she ends up helping Michael to recover and soon finds that she has fallen under his spell. Neither goes further than is right and proper even though they both feel more than would be proper. Michael tells Catherine if she ever needs anything to let him know as he is forever in her debt for the care she has shown him. When she is in need, she does ask and he responds. The situation leads to complications in their relationship. How that’s resolved is the finishing touch to this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Susan Ross

    This book would have gotten more stars if most of the book hadn't centred on our main characters not admitting their lover for each other. I found that very frustrating. It dragged for me in some parts and I would have liked to have seen more of Amy, our heroine's daughter, in the story. I think the most frustrating part was when Catherine didn't tell Michael that her husband had died. That just seemed ridiculous to me, despite Catherine's fears. This book would have gotten more stars if most of the book hadn't centred on our main characters not admitting their lover for each other. I found that very frustrating. It dragged for me in some parts and I would have liked to have seen more of Amy, our heroine's daughter, in the story. I think the most frustrating part was when Catherine didn't tell Michael that her husband had died. That just seemed ridiculous to me, despite Catherine's fears.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    Fabulous read Mary Jo does it again. This story starts at the eve of the battle of Waterloo and develops the characters in the eve of battle. It next moves to the feudal island of Skoal where they face both inner demons and outside bad guys. Great action great plot great characters.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Macaron

    Wonderful story. Michael Kenyon was a character that I liked in the previous books of the series and I expected a great story for him. And it was. I was pulled into the story from the first line and then whirled into a spiral of emotions and actions. It is an adventure full of suspense and unexpected twists.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Tull

    Be prepared for two books in one. The first book is a 'Prologue' and the second book is the rest of the story. I would have given it five stars except that the action in the second book was tedious. On the way to the happily ever after I skipped a lot of the action. Loved the H/H and supporting cast. Still recommending the whole series...best to start with the first one: Thunder & Roses. Be prepared for two books in one. The first book is a 'Prologue' and the second book is the rest of the story. I would have given it five stars except that the action in the second book was tedious. On the way to the happily ever after I skipped a lot of the action. Loved the H/H and supporting cast. Still recommending the whole series...best to start with the first one: Thunder & Roses.

  30. 5 out of 5

    MooseGirl

    I liked bits of this book, but not all of it. Truthfully, I'd have happily done without most of the first half. Although I understand establishing their shared past, I was bored silly by most of the passages about the war and I have to admit I skipped bits. Once we got to the second half, the story got much more interesting and I enjoyed the latter part of the book. I liked bits of this book, but not all of it. Truthfully, I'd have happily done without most of the first half. Although I understand establishing their shared past, I was bored silly by most of the passages about the war and I have to admit I skipped bits. Once we got to the second half, the story got much more interesting and I enjoyed the latter part of the book.

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