Oh, where to begin? I'm a Mary Jo Putney fan from way back, THE RAKE being one of my all-time favorite romances and the Fallen Angels series a favorite too. On the other hand, LOVING A LOST LORD, the previous book in this new Lost Lords series, was, IMO, awful and didn't seem like a Putney novel at all. This new one is better, closer to what I'm used to from Putney, but... It's fairly well written and pleasant enough to read BUT reading it is like watching a Hallmark or Lifetime made-for-TV movie. With the exception of one over-the-top villain and the blustery, intractable Earl of Daventry (and his deceased son), everyone in this book is so darned wonderful, perfect, good, honorable, noble, understanding, etc. and everything works out so perfectly, well, honorably and nobly, etc. Should one dislike a book because of this? Not if you're needing inspiration and the feeling that all is right with the world and that most people are intrinsically good, I guess.
As for the story, it's been done before and often. Hero rescues damsel in distress and they marry to keep her safe. They know each other (not well) from the previous book and the hero has always felt an attraction to the heroine. She, on the other hand, is skittish about love and sex because of the violent past of her first marriage. In spite of this he manages consensual sex with her by page 160, making the reader wonder how she could block out so easily all that violation and physical abuse by her first husband. I think even the hero was surprised at how soon he managed to bed her, when all she had agreed to was a white marriage. And all the other problems that the H and H have to confront together are solved just as easily. Bad guy defeated, mean Earl turned nicer, heroine back to her rightful place in society (she's a member of the upper class, living in hiding as a midwife in a small village at the beginning of the story), illegitimate son of her evil, deceased husband found and cared for, and many other HEA tie-ups.
The problem for me, with this book, wasn't the writing ability of Putney. It's the fact that the book has no edge, no spice, no unpredictable moments. It's so sweet I may have even gained a few pounds reading it. Now I have to go out looking for a book to read with a really rakish, devilish, maybe even boorish alpha male hero and a pain-in-the-neck, feisty heroine to get rid of those extra pounds.