Title: Almost Heaven

Author: Judith McNaught

Redonk Nutshell: A woman is swept away and inadvertently ruined by a ridiculously intriguing man, who then comes back to repair his damage

Official Synopsis: In this classic novel of two willful lovers caught in a breathless adventure of deception and betrayal, #1 New York Times bestselling author Judith McNaught has created a powerful and unforgettable masterpiece.  The Countess of Havenhurst possessed a rare gentleness and fierce courage to match her exquisite beauty. But her reputation is shattered when she is discovered in the arms of Ian Thornton, a notorious gambler and social outcast. A dangerously handsome man of secret wealth and mysterious lineage, his voyage to Elizabeth’s heart is fraught with intrigue, scandal, and a venomous revenge. Destined for each other, yet wary of each other’s motives, Elizabeth and Ian engage in a dance of suspicion and passion that tests the very soul of their star-crossed love. As a twisting path of secrets takes them from London’s drawing rooms to the mysterious Scottish Highlands, Elizabeth must learn the truth: is Ian merely a ruthless fortune hunter at heart?

I’ve been on a Judith McNaught kick the past few weeks.  Why, you ask?  Because ALMOST ALWAYS McNaught weaves  a lovely and intricate tale that’s dreamily romantic with the perfect sultry touch. I love that her stories encompass a wider range of time, as opposed to other stories I’ve read that cover a few days or weeks.  Her stories are almost always believable, which only adds to their romance.

Almost Heaven is the story of Ian and Elizabeth.  Elizabeth is kind, richly beautiful (though completely naive of it), and very down to earth. When her rogue of a brother informs her that her marrying a rich man will save them all, Elizabeth accepts her task without quarrel.  She wants to keep her inheritance, Havenhurst, her estate she’s come to love above all else.

Ian is a self made man who doesn’t give a fig what other people think of him.  He’s a brilliant man, having made his fortune in shipping as well as gambling.  He’s not quite accepted by the ton because of his “shady” upbringing (his father was disowned b/c he married an Scot).

When the two of them meet at a country ball, sparks fly. They strike up a casual friendship, and when Elizabeth’s jealous friends scheming put the two of them in the eye of their fellow attendees, Elizabeth’s reputation is reduced to shambles. Two years later, Elizabeth finds herself thrust back into Ian’s attentions, and Ian finds himself reluctantly intrigued.

I very much enjoyed Almost Heaven.  We get to see the return of two characters, Jordan & Alex, from Something Wonderful.  I was invested in Ian & Elizabeth’s relationship.  They were truly a wonderful pair to watch develop, what with Ian’s stubbornness and Elizabeth’s wit.

Once again, McNaught has written a truly fantastic romantic story.  Great characters, witty banter, and an endearing romance.

Rating: B

Romance: 4/5     Raunch: 3/5

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