Title: Once and Always

Author: Judith McNaught

Redonk Nutshell: Orphaned woman meets her distant family & unwillingly falls for a disheartened marquess

Official Synopsis: 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.

I think Once & Always by Judith McNaught is probably my favorite of her’s.  Once again, she delivers a wonderful, twisting story with complex characters and an emotional rollercoaster of a relationship.  Both our main characters, Tory & Jason, are flawed, especially Jason.  In fact, it’s hard to like him for several chapters, but Victoria manages to bring out the best in him.  We learn why he is the way he is, which ultimately shapes how he interacts with friends and family.  What makes Victoria a great character is her ability to sympathize without pitying him.  She manages to break his hard exterior without coddling him.

What I think got me about Once & Always is that it’s not an entirely sweet and fluffy read.  There are some downright nasty moments between Jason and Victoria, but they manage to find their way through it.  I think its’ the ugliness of their relationship that appealed to me most – it’s real, it’s brutal, and it’s honest.  That they manage to stay on the same path is a miracle, and it’s wonderful to watch it unfold.

Rating: B

Romance: 4/5     Raunch: 3/5

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