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Fallen Angels Series by Mary Jo Putney

Posted by Mistress on January 11, 2009

I have a confession to make…although I claim to be an avid romance reader, prior to 2009, I have read only one Mary Jo Putney book. Feeble, I know, but it was an error immediately rectified when Mistress picked up Thunder and Roses for her overcoming genre prejudice exercise. It was so good for her that she shot Wanderer and me a quick e-mail mid-book squeeing that it was, in her words, rawking her world. High praise indeed coming from one of the biggest historical romance haters out there. So I decided to give it a shot too.

Initially I was intent on just reading Thunder and Roses (the first in the Fallen Angels series chronologically) but I found it compelling enough to read the rest of the series. Since there are 7 books in the series I decided to condense all my thoughts in two separate posts as opposed to writing one long ass review for each. I didn’t read the books in order so I’m just writing my thoughts in the order of how I read them.

Thunder and Roses

Fantastic Fiction Product Description:
They called him the Demon Earl. Nicholas Davies was a notorious rake until a shattering betrayal left him alone and embittered in the Welsh countryside. Quiet schoolteacher Clare Morgan, in desperation, asks the Demon Earl to help save her village. Unmoved, Nicholas sets an impossible price on his aid–one that will cost Clare her reputation . . . and possibly her heart.

My Take:
Clare is pretty unique as Historical Romance Heroines go. She 1.) is not a noblewoman, 2.) struggles with her faith, and 3.) is convincingly pragmatic. Nicholas, on the other hand, initially comes off as a dickwad who couldn’t care less about anyone, much less an entire village. As the story progresses though we learn why he’s such an asshat and discover that he isn’t as big of an idiotic jerk as he initially comes across. Their chemistry is palpable (strip billiards anyone?) and therein lies the strength of Thunder and Roses. There’s a cheesy intrigue sub-plot and cartoon caricature of a villain but it doesn’t overwhelm the romance and I’ve passed the point of quibbling. I did have a bit of trouble with Clare finding “God” through sexxoring with Nick. It just seemed so unnecessary to me and I thought Clare “inventing” the little rubber thing in the tip of billiard cue sticks ridiculous. All that said, I highly recommend this book if you haven’t picked it up yet.

Petals In The Storm

Fantastic Fiction Product Description:
Set in opulent 19th-century France, here is the epic tale of Rafael Whitbourne, the Duke of Candover, and beautiful spy Countess Magda Janos. United to uncover a court assassination, Rafael is shocked to learn that Magda is a woman he loved 15 years before and had thought dead.

My Take:
Maggie is an interesting heroine. She is a strong character with a shady past and I liked that she was no 30 year old virgin; although, of course, being the romance novel heroine that she is, her cherry had to be popped through some misogynistic shit but never mind that. I was, however, underwhelmed by Rafe as a Romance Novel Hero. I attribute it to the huge lack in setting up his background. There really wasn’t anything there that set him apart from the bajillion of fictional aristocrats I’ve read about. He also had a rival for Maggie’s (and my) affections. Robin is just as handsome, dashing, intelligent, and dare I say more honorable? I liked Robin. A LOT. And that’s the pickle. I preferred him over Rafe (never a good thing when one is not the story’s hero). How refreshing to have a third wheel that isn’t a complete tool. It didn’t help that Rafe and Maggie’s story was completely underwhelmed by the political/intrigue subplot. That said, I have no doubt Maggie chose the right man (for her). I was a little disappointed with Petals In The Storm, though it’s pretty solid in it’s own right, it didn’t stand up too well as a follow up act for Thunder and Roses.

Dancing In The Wind

Fantastic Fiction Product Description:
A tragic past has driven Lord Strathmore to use his formidable talents to protect his country from secret enemies, and he does it superlatively well – until he meets a mysterious woman. By turns glamorous and subdued, reckless yet vulnerable, she baffles his mind even as she captures his heart.

My Take:
Kit is a daring and intelligent heroine that occasionally teeters over to TSTLdom. She has this unique talent of taking on different personas and confounds the hero at every turn. Her early encounters with Lucien were fun and intriguing but I admit I got a bit tired of it. Lucien, on the other hand, was a complete and utter delight in his own story. He comes off as an indolent rakish dilettante (my fave kind!) and we discover what led him to choose his lonely and covert path as a spy. He’s a faux rake but he’s written so well that I don’t mind! Lucien’s romance, although occasionally incredulous (ESP in a Historical, anyone?), is really quite riveting. There were a few aspects in the story that was hard to accept, but, as a romance, it is definitely more satisfying than Petals In The Storm.

Shattered Rainbows

Fantastic Fiction Product Description:
Catherine had saved Lord Michael Kenyon on the battlefields of Europe. Now, she is standing in his London drawing room asking him to pretend to be her mate. Catherine is in line to inherit a title, an ancient home, and heritage–if she arrives on the Island of Skoal with her husband, who unbeknownst to Michael is dead.

My Take:
Catherine is called a saint but longs to be a woman. She could have been one of the Mary Sues out there but having so many facets keep her from crossing that line. She comes off as docile and submissive but she really isn’t. She lacks the obvious spunk prevalent in the other heroines in the series but what she lacks in spunk she makes up for in quiet strength. I’m glad that Catherine’s husband wasn’t evil too. He was a good man in his own right and I liked that the blame for the disaster that was their marriage did not fall solely on his shoulders. Michael is one of Putney’s most compelling heroes. He’s the perfect example of tortured hero done right. He is a man trying to atone for his sins and his angst (thankfully given in small increments) is justified. The interaction between Michael and Catherine is done beautifully and the sexual tension between them is pulled off very well. I can’t think of two characters more suited for each other. There are two parts in the book and I must confess that the 2nd part in the story was not as gripping as the 1st part. The first part featured a forbidden love set during wartime. The descriptive imagery of the time and setting did not overwhelm the romance. The 2nd part, however, came off as a plot device to throw Michael and Catherine together it also featured a caricature of a villain. All very unnecessary. Fortunately, it doesn’t really detract that from the greatness that is Shattered Rainbows.


3 Responses to “Fallen Angels Series by Mary Jo Putney”

  1. Katiebabs a.k.a KB said

    I miss Putney’s historicals just like Garwood’s. It is a shame that these two don’t write them anymore. 😦

  2. Wanderer said

    I agree, Garwood needs to return to her roots! Have added Thunder and Roses to my reading list M and R. Definitely sounds like a keeper! This will be my first MJP book but sounds like it won’t be my last.

  3. Reader said

    True Katie but, since I’m fairly new to Putney, I still have a bunch more of her titles to look forward to! Sometimes, a girl can get lucky that way.Wanderer, go! Go Go Go! I swear, you won’t regret it!

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