Format Read:Paperback copy purchased by reviewer
Number of Pages:400 pages
Release Date: April 25th 2006 (first published 1987)
Series: Sequels Book 1
Formats Available: Mass Market Paperback, Hardcover
Purchasing Info: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository US, Book Depository (UK)
“Once and Always,” one of Judith McNaught’s most masterful and moving love stories, powerfully brings to life the fiery passion of a free-spirited American beauty and a troubled English lord. Suddenly orphaned and alone, Victoria Seaton sails the vast ocean, eager to reclaim her heritage at Wakefield, the sumptuous English estate of a 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.
One thing I can say about Judith McNaught and her books is that I just can’t put down her books for no reason. As soon as I start reading one of her novels, I just forget everything about actually living and all I want to do is read. Simple as that. I can resume my life as soon as I’m done but no sooner 😛
Needless to say, that was the case with Once and Always. I don’t know if it’s the way McNaught writes, or her stories themselves, but I find myself enjoying them, even if I have a few problems with some things in the plot or even if most of her novels (that I have read so far at least) are following the same pattern. McNaught has an unmistakable way of writing “full” stories. And when I say full, I mean with an interesting story, well-built and relatable characters, amazing writing style and most importantly a toe curling romance!
Once and Always is the story of Victoria, who when orphaned is shipped from America to England to live with a relative of her mother’s she never met and of Jason, a man who has turned his back to love after a dreadful experience and finds everything he believed lost in the face of Victoria.
I won’t say much about the plot, if you have read even one novel by McNaught (and if not, what are you waiting for?) you can expect enough sexual tension and misunderstandings to keep you turning the pages. Like I said, it’s one of those books you just can’t put down for no reason whatsoever.
So, one might correctly assume that this would be a solid 5-star review, but unfortunately it won’t be. Because Once and Always is an amazing book but for a small detail, that well, ruined many things for me. Having previously read Whitney, My Love, I couldn’t help but notice some resemblances between the two novels. Whitney was originally published in 1985 while Once and Always in 1987 and in both books, the heroines are treated in a very similar way at about the same point of their stories and for the same pretty much reasons. It may be a detail, but the whole thing was a major let down in both novels for me and well, I thought of it as unoriginal to say the least…
So, despite the fact that I loved pretty much everything about Once and Always and it’s one of those books I recommend without a second thought, the resemblances it shares with McNaught’s previous work was a major disappointment for me.
I give Once and Always 4 stars