Friday, February 19, 2010

Once and Always by Judith McNaught

Synopsis compliments of shelfari....
Across the vast ocean sailed Victoria Seaton, a free-spirited American beauty left suddenly orphaned and alone. Eager to claim her long-lost heritage, she was amazed at the formal elegance of Wakefield, the sumptuous English estate of her distant cousin...the notorious Lord Jason Fielding. Sought after at plays, operas, and balls by London's most fashionable ladies, Jason remained a mystery to Victoria. Bewildered by his arrogant demeanor, yet drawn to his panther-like grace, she came to sense the searingly painful memories that smoldered in the depths of his jade-green eyes. Unable to resist her spitfire charm, Jason gathered her at last into his powerful arms, ravishing her lips with his kisses, arousing in her a sweet, insistent hunger. Wed in desire, they were enfolded in a fierce, consuming joy, free at last from the past's cruel grasp. Then, in a moment of blinding anguish, Victoria discovered the shocking treachery that lay at the heart of their love...a love she had dreamed would triumph... Once And Always.

My thoughts....
Most of the way through the book I was so absorbed in it that I though for sure it was a 5 star book. The last 50 pages or so, unfortunately, dropped the book to 4. Still a good book, bordering on very good. While written 20+ years ago it does have a slight dated feel but definitely not too bad. Things that were "accepted" in the 80's in romance books are not the norm now. For example, a rape scene. Many modern romances do have rapes in the books but back in the day the rape was usually a whole Luke and Laura from General Hospital thing instead of today's rape scenes being about the heroine being raped and the hero coming to her emotional or physical rescue. I really had to take the book for what it was back in the 80's and try not to compare it to my today standards.

This alone was not why I rated the book a 4 instead of a 5. I really liked Victoria. She was strong, intelligent and witty. I loved Jason (tortured hero anyone?) and completely understood his actions. I could see Tory's influence in Jason and could see him opening up to Tory and experiencing fun and laughter that his life had been missing. Then something would happen and set him back to square one. After seening this pattern happen through a good chunk of the book I was pretty surprised that towards the end, it was if a switch was flipped and he had some kind of life altering epiphany which I felt I had missed. Oh there was an epiphany, but his about face came before it. Of course he declares his love for Tory but then says to her that he has loved her since she arrived at his doorstep. Yet no declariation of him admitting he was a shit and the reason why (maybe scared?). His background, which had been explained previously, was to just expain away his being an ass with no inner reflection on his part. Totally 80's.

Together I though they were fantastic friends. Unfortunately I found their interactions as friends part of the book was better then once they were married. Once they were married the friendship ended. This was part of McNaughts plot plan but I would have loved to see more romance once the I Do's were stated. These things might smack of a very low rating but honestly most of the book was just fabulous. I would encourage others to try this book unless of course rape scenes makes them too squeemish.

No comments: