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REVIEW: Petals in the Storm by Mary Jo Putney

Dear Ms. Putney,

This book has been mentioned as being one of the weakest of this series (the Fallen Angels) and I can see why. I found myself far more interested in Robin and Maggie’s relationship, and for that matter Helene and von Fehrenbach’s relationship, than in seeing Rafe and Maggie get back together. Heck, I was more interested in Rex the cat than Rafe.

Years ago Rafe and Maggie loved each other then a (stupid) misunderstanding parted them in anger. Now it’s thirteen years later and Rafe is a Duke of Slut who (for reasons never fully explained) is sent to post Napoleonic France for some diplomatic high jinx. And he’s suited for this because he sleeps with any woman? Whatever. There he sees his old love Maggie now known as Margot who is also a spy. Maggie is involved with Robin, another Fallen Angel, who is also a spy. Rafe acts like an oaf, believes more lies about Margot/Maggie until he finally sees the light. Now the two of them have to keep Europe from being plunged back into war.

I was very disappointed with the awkward style in which historical information was worked into the book, especially in the first chapter when Lucien was asking Rafe to go to Paris. Plus the whole scenario of Maggie and Rafe each exploding with passion by merely linking pinkies got old. And the ending was far too reminiscent of Dancing with all the running around. The bit with Wellington appearing and thanking them for saving the day was just too Junior G Men-ish on top of all that.

I thought Maggie a far more interesting character than Rafe and I do give you points for creating a strong woman with a past. And for giving her the strength to rise above what had happened to her. Rafe was just an insensitive clod who looked good. Give me Robin and Rex any day. A disappointing C- read overall.


Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Keishon
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 18:24:34

    I don’t know Jayne. Putney is usually pretty good. I don’t know what to make of this grade. I’ve never read this book and you know AAR rated this book, like a keeper or something, I think. I don’t know. Decisions, decisions.

  2. Jayne
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 19:30:57

    Yes, I know that most romance readers genuflect when this series is mentioned but, what can I say? it didn’t wow me. I liked Rafe in previous books and actually liked him in the small bit part he had in Angel Rogue but in this book, bah humbug. He’s an ass for lots of it.

  3. jmc
    Dec 14, 2006 @ 19:58:57

    This is the only Fallen Angels book I’ve never been able to finish. I like Margot and Robin, but I think Rafe is one of the bigger @sshole dukes of slut in Romancelandia.

  4. Rosario
    Dec 15, 2006 @ 08:15:53

    I agree with you and jmc, this one wasn’t good. I adore the rest of the series, but Petals was a total wall-banger, mostly because of that idiot, Rafe. I HATED him!

  5. Jayne
    Dec 15, 2006 @ 10:51:08

    Whew! What a relief. I thought I’d get slaughtered by Rafe fangrrls when I posted this. He really was a dickhead. ;)

  6. seton
    Dec 15, 2006 @ 16:43:15

    As always Jayne, you spaketh da truth. PETALS was originally published as a Signet Regency called THE CONTROVERSIAL COUNTESS. I read TCC and much preferring Robin to Rafe (still do). Thus I was infuriated when I heard that Putney was going to expand TCC to PETALS instead of doing an original story. I tried to read PETALS hoping that Putney could work some magic but sometimes a bad story remains a bad story, no matter how powerful your mojo.

  7. CupK8
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 15:26:50

    Just finished this book last night.

    I am desperately trying to place my issues with this book, since I read it in the throes of exhaustion (I should really NOT do that with an MJP). I love Putney’s writing, and I got caught up in the excitement of the spy plot, but I agree with you that Robin was way more interesting than Rafe – so much so that I thought Robin and Maggie were going to end up together! Rafe was kind of a jerk. But I think Putney completely set him up for failure by giving him a huge amount of power in the relationship and turning Maggie into a much less powerful woman than I felt she could be when he was near.

    I am so glad to hear that this could be the weakest of the series, because I cannot wait for Lucien’s story, nor Robin’s! As soon as it clicked that Robin was going to get his own book, I almost threw it down without reading the HEA to go read the excerpt – I didn’t, because I am stubborn. But I was tempted. Which says a lot about my opinion of the book.

    I still gave it four stars on Goodreads. Because I like spies.

  8. Jayne
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 18:16:50

    I hope you enjoy Robin’s book which is one of my favorites of MJP’s.

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