ARC Review: Once a Laird by Mary Jo Putney

About the Book:

Title: Once a Laird

Author: Mary Jo Putney

Series: Rogues Redeemed

Publication Date: July 27, 2021

Publisher: Kensington

Synopsis: He yearns to escape his past…

After the death of his fiancée, Kai Ramsey left Scotland to roam distant lands. He has searched ancient ruins, collected priceless antiquities, and escaped certain death after being imprisoned as a spy during the Napoleonic War. Ramsay has lived on the edge of danger for years—but everything changes the day a letter arrives for him from Scotland…

She’s determined to protect her future…

Signy Matheson has dedicated her life to the people of Scotland’s remote Thorsay Islands. With a fiery spirit and agile mind, she is a faithful ally to the aging laird. But now their leader is near death, and Signy must summon his successor at once. It’s time for Kai Ramsey to come home…

Together, they discover ancient treasures and disturbing attraction…

When Ramsay returns to Thorsay, he’s shocked to find that Signy has blossomed into an alluring beauty, and a force to be reckoned with. Their complicated past interferes with their unspoken desire as they work together for their people. Until a wild storm sparks first passion, then unexpected danger when a treasure trove left by their ancestors comes to light…

LINKS:     Goodreads    |      Amazon    |     Book Depository

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My Review:

Once a Laird is a romantic and exciting addition to the Rogues Redeemed series. After twelve years away, Kai Ramsay returns to Scotland’s Thorsay Islands to take on the role of laird. There he reconnects with Signy Matheson, the younger sister of the young woman he was once engaged to. Signy has spent the years dedicated to helping the laird and the people of Thorsay, but she is excited to leave and pursue her dream of painting. However, upon Ramsay’s return, she commits to helping him transition into his new role. As they begin to work together, dangerous weather, financial troubles, and their developing feelings for each other cause unexpected complications. Can Ramsay and Signy work together to solve the problems that weigh over Thorsay Islands? Will they give in to their feelings and take a chance on love?

Signy and Ramsay are great protagonists, both honorable, admirable, and intelligent. They have a strong connection to their home and each other, and their shared losses draw them even closer. Since they haven’t seen each other in a dozen years, both have grown and changed. However, their core beliefs and good intentions remain the same, and as they become reacquainted with each other, their connection deepens. Childhood friends, their relationship is built on admiration and respect, and I love how they slowly grow into something more. They have a long and complex history, which gives way to a deep and beautiful love story. Ramsay and Signy are alike in their desires, morals, and more, and they fit together well. And I love Ramsay’s feelings toward Signy! He is so impressed by her, and he values her strength, intellect, and sincerity. He often compares her to a goddess and seems quite awe-inspired by her, which is lovely.

Ramsay is not thrilled about returning home to take on the role of laird. His dreams and ambitions do not include remaining on the islands forever. However, much like Signy, he puts his own wants on hold to do what is right by his family and people. Ramsay has an adventurous and sometimes dangerous life that takes him all over the world, and he is unhappy with the idea of being stagnant. Signy, in turn., longs for the freedom to travel and experience the world. She wants to explore and go on grand adventures while honing her craft as an artist. I love that both characters learn that their dreams and their duties don’t have to be separate things. They can be responsible and dedicated to Thorsay while still achieving their goals.

Thorsay is a beautiful backdrop for the story. Putney creates such a vivid setting, which is shown as Ramsay visits all the places he hasn’t seen in years. Terrible storms have changed his childhood home and continue to wreak havoc and endanger the lives of its inhabitants. The harsh weather also reveals the profound and fascinating history of the islands, much to the delight of Ramsay. I love the descriptions of the island, the mix of Viking and Scottish history, and the wonderful people who live there. The imagery adds so much to the story and makes it easy to see why Ramsay and Signy are so attached to the land.

I also need to mention two other fabulous characters in the novel – Fiona and Odin! Fiona, Signy’s loyal and intelligent dog, is a life-saver in more ways than one. Odin, the one-eyed cat who belonged to Ramsay’s grandfather, is equally unique and entertaining. Both add so much to the story, have dynamic personalities, and act as strong symbols in the story. These, as well as other symbols, enhance the character development and strong messages of forgiveness, love, and starting over throughout the novel.

This is a slow-building, slow-burning, historical romance and wonderful ending to the Rogues Redeemed series, though the introduction of some new and intriguing characters opens up the potential for further books or a spin-off series. Like the other books in the series, this one can easily be read as a standalone. Thanks so much to NetGalley, Mary Jo Putney, and Kensington Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance!
  • The setting.
  • The animals!

Favorite Lines:

Sometimes we have to accept what is possible rather than break our hearts yearning for the impossible.

His goddess. Strong, womanly, irresistible.


Want to read more by Mary Jo Putney? Check out my review of Once Dishonored, the fifth book in the Rogues Redeemed series.

7 thoughts on “ARC Review: Once a Laird by Mary Jo Putney

  1. This sounds like a great story, Julie. I always equated Mary Jo Putney with bodice rippers, but I guess she writes a good story too. Thanks for sharing this one.

  2. I have not read a Mary Jo Putney book in years. I really should read some of her more recent books!

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