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Book Review-Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney

by | Apr 27, 2022 | Book Reviews | 1 comment

This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.

About The Book

After the death of his sweetheart when he was at university, Daniel Herbert buried his grief in medical studies and his passion for healing. Viewed as a saint by those who know him, in his own mind, he never quite manages to live up to his own high standards.

Most men would be thrilled to learn they’ve inherited a title and estate from a distant relative, but Daniel is appalled because the burden of wealth will interfere with his medical calling. Warily he accepts that he must enter society and seek a wife—a sensible woman who can oversee his properties, leaving him free to continue his work. He does not expect to become intoxicated by a woman called the Black Widow, who is as mysterious as she is shockingly beautiful…

Jessie Kelham’s looks have always been a curse. Now alone with a young daughter and a perilous secret, she is in need of protection. But dangerously attractive Daniel Herbert is not the kind of husband she has in mind. If he recognizes her, the demons of her past will surely erupt. Yet they cannot keep apart—and soon they are drawn into a union that may bring joy—or shattering danger…

Those without integrity don’t usually understand those who have it

My Review

First Impressions

I will admit that I had decided to pick up this read solely based on the cover and the sample that I had read through the Libby app. This was one of those reads that were a spontaneous decision and when I started to read the sample, I began to be so hooked into the story and I just had to read more of this one. So I decided that I would pick this one up. I absolutely love it when an author can draw me so well into a story especially when it’s a historical romance as they don’t engage me quite as much as they used to. And I have to say that this book was such a fun well worth it of a read. It’s not an easy romance, and our couple definitely has to learn to overcome some true obstacles here, but I absolutely was hooked into the connection that they had with each other and the setup of their story was so well done. Both of our main protagonists are so interesting as individuals and they aren’t your typical members of the aristocracy and I really liked that this author wrote a story that just gave something different to the reader. If you are a fan of a regency historical’s than this is definitely a book for you.

Whether we share enough common ground, I don’t know. I think that marriage is always the triumph of hope over fear.


Our tale begins when our couple first meets. Our hero, Daniel, is a doctor and has a passion for helping others and the healing arts. Then he and his sister discover a woman hurt and abused and heals her wounds, and give her money to give her a fresh start from her current situation. Now its been years later, and Daniel has inherited a title when sickness spreads through a country estate party and all the heirs but he is killed. The last thing that Daniel wants is to have the responsibilities of a title and a lord but his goal is to find a wife, who can aid him in those responsibilities so that he can live his dream of being a doctor. Our heroine, Jessie, has become a widow and a single mother. When her brother-in-law threatens to take her daughter away, she is determined to protect her daughter no matter what and knows the best course of action will be to marry someone that is strong enough to stand up to her brother-in-law and prevent her from losing her daughter. Daniel and Jessie meet at a ball, and though there is instant chemistry between them, Jessie is determined not to marry someone that she is so attracted to. She wants someone more mature and older in years who will be a friend.. But Daniel is determined to show his genuine affection for Jessie, but Jessie fears that if she gives in to her desires and wants for this man, and then he will discover all of her secrets and hate her forever…

You have strength and vulnerability and the wisdom that comes of hard experience. Without those things, you would be merely beautiful, as a great statue is beautiful. A woman to be admired and forgotten. You, Jezebel Elizabeth Braxton Trevane Kelham Herbert, are unforgettable.

What I Loved

This is a story that I just got sucked into right away, and from their first meeting, I knew that this book would be one wild ride and it definitely was. It was NOT what I was expecting from a regency romance and this author definitely kept me on my toes. There are so many secrets that Jessie has, and she honestly doesn’t always treat Daniel so great, however, you definitely understand her fears and reservations. She is a mother wanting to protect her child at all costs, and she has been able to hide her past so well. Daniel has a determination of a heated bull in a rodeo, and he refuses to let go of Jessie, no matter what. He knows that what is between them is so real and he will fight to protect and nurture it. I absolutely adored having such a determined hero to win the affections of his lady, And once Jessie gives into Daniel, their romance really sparks fire and I absolutely was so endeared by their relationship and seeing them become both lovers but also best of friends. The plot was packed with so much intrigue and mystery, I was so fascinated to see what would be revealed and if they would overcome the intentions of the villains that rise up within the story. I was cheering our couple on all the way through.

Even more than passion, emotional closeness could bind two very different people together into a real marriage.

What I Struggled With

There were a couple of things to this story that I wasn’t a big fan of. I struggled with Jessie’s character and how she treated Daniel during their courtship. I really felt like Daniel didn’t deserve her cold attitude and while I understood where she was coming from, I absolutely felt like she could have gone about it differently. And also we see her daughter Beth, but hardly at all and I would have loved to see more interaction with her, especially from Daniel.

Overall View

Overall I found Not Always A Saint to be a spectacular read that kept this reader eager and endeared from beginning to end. I was so in tune with these characters and this was a highly engaging read that kept me thrilled, focused, and had a sense of magical wonder to the romance that was a WIN!

We can’t always have the relationship we want with another person because we can’t control how they feel.

Title: Not Always a Saint

Author: Mary Jo Putney

Genre: Historical Romance

Format: eBook

Source: Library

Length: 352 Pages

Amazon| Barnes and Noble| Kobo| Goodreads| LibraryThing| StoryGraph| Literal Club

Book Evaluation

Storytelling Quality: 4

Story Itself: 4.25

Character Development: 4

Writing Style: 4

World Building 4

Feels + The Romantic Heart 3.75

Pacing 4.5

Plot 4.25

Cover Art 5

Ending 4.5

Book Ratings

Overall Rating of the Book

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Steam Level

Simmering—soft warm touches and light intimacy

Warm- a medium level of sexual tension, a balance of sexual and emotional intimacy, lighter on the details in the sexual moments.

Steamin’ up the room -the sexual content is more explicit in the language and tone, heavier amount of sexual scenes.

Blazing fire to the building-The prime focus is the sex scenes, scorching hot, and could burn one. Less focus on the emotional intimacy to the relationship.

Trigger Warnings

Animal Abuse; Domestic Abuse

Series Order

The Lost Lords

Loving A Lost Lord-Pub 2009 #1 in the Series

Never Less Than a Lady-Pub 2010 #2 in the Series

Nowhere Near Respectable-Pub 2011 #3 in the Series

No Longer A Gentleman-Pub 2012 #4 in the Series

Sometimes A Rogue-Pub 2013 #5 in the Series

Not Quite a Wife-Pub 2014 #6 in the Series

Not Always a Saint-Pub 2015 #7 in the Series

About The Author

She writes young adult fiction as M.J. Putney.

Mary Jo Putney was born on 1946 in Upstate New York with a reading addiction, a condition for which there is no known cure. After earning degrees in English Literature and Industrial Design at Syracuse University, she did various forms of design work in California and England before inertia took over in Baltimore, Maryland, where she has lived very comfortably ever since.

Since 1987, Ms. Putney has published twenty-nine books and counting. Her stories are noted for psychological depth and unusual subject matter such as alcoholism, death and dying, and domestic abuse. She has made all of the national bestseller lists including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USAToday, and Publishers Weekly. Five of her books have been named among the year’s top five romances by The Library Journal. The Spiral Path and Stolen Magic were chosen as one of Top Ten romances of their years by Booklist, published by the American Library Association.

A nine-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America RITA, she has won RITAs for Dancing on the Wind and The Rake and the Reformer and is on the RWA Honor Roll for bestselling authors. She has been awarded two Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards, four NJRW Golden Leaf awards, plus the NJRW career achievement award for historical romance. Though most of her books have been historical, she has also published three contemporary romances. The Marriage Spell will be out in June 2006 in hardcover, and Stolen Magic (written as M. J. Putney) will be released in July 2006.

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