Thursday, June 21

Once and Always by Judith McNaught

Suddenly orphaned and alone, Victoria Seaton sails the vast ocean, eager to claim her heritage at Wakefield, the sumptuous English estate of her distant cousin...the notorious Lord Jason Fielding. Bewildered by his arrogance yet drawn to his panther-like grace, she senses the painful memories that smolder in his eyes when he gathers her at last into his arms, arousing a sweet, insistent hunger, they wed and are embraced by fierce, consuming joy--free from the past's cruel grasp. Then, in a moment of anguish, Victoria discovers the treachery at the heart of their love...a love she had dreamed would triumph not just once, but always.

The problem with going through old books to weed out the ones bound for the UBS is that you just can't go through them in one go because old favorites tend to catch your attention and the next thing you know you're well into another good reread session.

And probably the best reason why I love JM so much is that no matter how many times I reread her stuff to the point of memorizing the lines, she penned them in a way that it still feels like a brand-new read. Every time.

I chose OAA from the rest because if I started a Westmoreland book, I wouldn't be able to stop with just one. LOL! And so, let's get this fact out of the way first--this book isn't my most fave among JM's historicals but it still rates high enough to be a personal favorite. I love the entire thing except for one thing--that it contained not one but two scenes of our hero Jason Fielding and his mistress. And both times when he was already engaged to out heroine Victoria Seaton. Okay, the engagement wasn't his idea but still...But the rest of the story pretty well made up for it and so I lumped these scenes in into the complexity of Jason's character.

With that said, I can now declare that I positively love the story. First off, Victoria was a very strong character which was exactly the kind needed to break down the walls around Jason's heart. She wasn't afraid to speak her mind in his presence even knowing that he was practically one of the very few she had left in the world. And I think that the scene with the piglet was rather cute. I love piglets--those pink round bodies are hard to resist. (Sadly enough, that doesn't stop me from eating bacon.)

As for Jason, I think he was one of the few JM heroes without a strong familial bond when growing up. That's why I'm willing to forgive him for those mistress scenes. His displays of jealousy was quite enjoyable to read. Although I wanted to hit him in the head sometimes so that he'd wake up.

But boy, oh boy, did he wake up when he thought that Victoria died. My heart just broke for him. He didn't cry when he lost his beloved son from his first marriage. But the thought of losing his Tory broke him to the point of losing his mind.

Innocence can indeed help heal souls. If Victoria hadn't come to his life, no matter how he reluctant he was of the idea, Jason wouldn't have been able to mend his ways. And that's a sad thought.

Final verdict: 8/10. Great read, must-have.


Kristie (J) said...

This has always been my favourite McNaught! There's just something about Jason that's always gotten to me. The part he realizes that she isn't disgusted by his childhood and he is just so needy. And yea, his pain and remorse when he thinks she's died.
The sign of a Really Good Book for me is when I imagine "the rest of the story" once I finish and this is one of the few. In fact, it's in my all time top ten or so.

Holly said...

I have mixed emotions about this book. I truly enjoyed the story and liked the characters, but the fact that Jason RAPES Tory has me riding a fine line about this book. But I won't go there right now..we'll leave that for another day. lol

Kookie said...

Kristie (j)--
Hey, I never thought of that. I mean, yeah, I do imagine what the story would be like right after "The End" part of the book but I never thought of it as a basis for my fave books. JM does make the most memorable characters, don't she?

I know. :o( But it happened in Perfect as well and it happens to THE JM book for me after all these years. But as I've said in the review, the near-insane level Jason had sunk into at the end when he thought Victoria died made up for it.

Rowena said...

I really loved this book, Jason and, this was a good one, the characters were fantastic, the storylines great, JM really knows how to write stories that will have women the world over, arguing and gushing over her little worlds, it's great stuff!

nath said...

I love this book :D and I'm toying with the idea of buying a new copy... because mine has the old cover which doesn't look good and doesn't fit with the rest of the JM books :P

I like how Jason was so devastated at the end, when he really thought Tory died.

Rowena said...

Me too, too! =)

Kookie said...

Definitely true. JM knows what to put into her plotlines and her characters that just makes us dream and believe in HEA. :o)

Fancy that. I was just thinking when I was at the bookstore the other day and saw all these new stock of JM books that I would buy a copy of each title if only my copies were in bad condition. But they're in good "health" and I like that they do have stories to tell of where and how I luckily found them. :o)

Kat O+ said...

Do you know, I've never read a Judith McNaught novel? Is that shameful?

Kookie said...

Shameful? I don't think each her own, right?

But I really think you should start reading her books. LOL! :P

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