In terms of writing ability and talent, Judith McNaught will always be a 5 star for me Her gift for drawing the reader into the very emotions of the characters is amazing As is her ability to reveal all the layers of the soul, bit by bit until discovery and redemption are not only found but felt.As with all things, with great gifts come great responsibilities, however If we, the readers, are drawn into the heart of a tortured soul, we need also be allowed to experience the process of redemption with him her ipso facto the romance part In Once and Always , I don t believe we were adequately given that Jason is a deeply tortured soul who treats the innocent and kind hearted Victoria despicably, using every cruel method he can find to push her away, while shackling her to him at the same time Victoria doesn t understand and tries all she can think of to soften and heal him to no avail McNaught s gift with emotions made this very hard to read It all would be worth it, however, if we could see and feel Jason s remorse and restitution on his road to redemption as thoroughly as we see his atrocities Unfortunately redemption came with very little explanation can someone PLEASE tell me how having sex again right after raping someone will make it all better with the heroine immediately capitulating no argument whatsoever and riding happily into the sunset That just leaves a bad taste in the mouth, in spite of the near redeeming incident in the last few pages which ALMOST raised this to a 4 star. This is the one The one that started my chemical embalance towards everything historical romance I was an avid reader, in elementary school Anyone out there remember Fear Street lol Mostly horror, mystery and suspense Anne Rice and Stephen King ranking among my top authors Then life happened, and I stopped picking up books for well over a decade 2 1 2 years ago, I started a new job, and met many new people, making friends among my co workers One, of course being Rhonda Krieger, a fellow GR guru One day, she asked if I ever read, in which I replied Read, who the hell has time for that She started telling me about certain books she has read, and when I heard it was romance that was her genre of choice, it took all my strength, to refrain from laughing out loud Romance, seriously Who on earth reads that crap My God Not me For weeks, she relentlessly nagged, and cajoled, telling me You absoloutly MUST read this book , handing me an old copy of the book I am now reviewing I remember it having a hideous special, only 4.99 sticker on it, and chuckled to myself, knowing I was right, the book must be crap, and I will never enjoy it To apease Rhonda, and basically get her off my back, I took the above mentioned book,Ladies and Gentleman, I have an announcement Now pay attention, because this is the only time you will hear me utter these 3 words.I WAS WRONG Yup, you heard me or read me, rather I was 120%, utterly, shamefully, completely wrong in my views of the historical romance genre, and it s readers This book, will forever go down in my history as the THE book, the one that opened my mind, my heart, along with my eyes to reading again, and the amazingly beautiful stories created by thousands of awesome literary minds out there Judith McNaught, will forever be, One of my favorite authors, of all time My only complaint, is her apparent decision to stop writing historical romances, and her diversion to contemporary Historical Romance lovers of the world or GR community atleast I tend to get carried away You must read all of Ms.McNaughts Historical romances Prepare yourselves, for an amazing journey, full of tears, hysterical laughter, frustrating anger may even find yourselves throwing the book, one or two times, screaming OMG ARE YOU KIDDING ME like I did ,passion and over all unbelievable true, and unyielding love These are what Historical romance is all about And of course 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 LordSuddenly 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 5 ALWAYS STARSThis is one book that I really don t care what others say, IT ROCKED FOR ME This was the amazing love story of Victoria and Jason Two very different individuals who find themselves together because of their shared Uncle Victoria is a sweet stunningly beautiful innocent red head who has to move from America to England following the death of her loving parents In those days, a young unmarried lady was not allowed to be responsible for herself She needed an elderly aunt or male family member to take care of her However, she was just buying time as she was almost engaged to her childhood friend Andrew She shows up on the hero s doorstep by mistake and he was captivated by her Although, he would fight his feelings The hero, Jason was very distrusting of others and their motives Life has taught him that only pain can come of allowing others in He was a cold and calculating man who did not believe in love or even innocence They are all a myth and he refused to trust what he saw in the heroine s eyes They would be forced together by a meddling uncle and circumstances beyond their control To make this work they would have to both take a leap of faithbut will they So many memorable moments in this book, when she plays the piano for the first time for him, when she milks the cow, when he tries to save her in the pond, and many tender moments However, not all their shared moments are tender view spoiler the hero does rape the heroine and he does not even see it as rape here because they are married hide spoiler I loved this one when I first read it, oh, about 18 years agogive or take Unfortunately, I m not too crazy about it now I still liked it but the constant misunderstanding, Victoria s wishy washiness, Jason s cruelty grated on me For example, Victoria s penchant for putting herself in danger would have been fine with me years ago, but now, oh my gawd I can t even And Jason Fielding felt unnecessarily cruel to me.Still, I enjoyed this one The writing did feel dated but it s Judith McNaught Reading this again gave me a sense of nostalgia of the good old days where heroines were special snowflake Mary Sues and rapey heroes roam romancelandia If I had read this one now, I definitely would ve hated it. 5 STARS OH HOW I LOVE THIS BOOK image error I ve found a potentially new favorite author, but unfortunately not a new favorite book There was so much going for this book, but in the end I am still battling over how many stars it deserves.I really don t know how to explain any of this without spoiling the book So beware, there might be mild spoilers below It was a high quality, well written regency romance There were parts that truly sparkled and at one point I was sure it was going to make it to the top There was an unmistakable aura of virility about Jason that made female hearts flutter His thick hair was coal black, his piercing eyes the green of India jade, his lips firm and sensually molded Tough, rugged strength was carved into every feature of his sun bronzed face, from his straight dark brows to the arrogant jut of his chin and jaw. Add a feisty, incredibly warm and sweet heroine from America, a dashing, dangerous hero with a tortured past, meddling relatives and a ton debut and you get this book It had all the right ingredients It was charming and funny, and I loved the language and the tone of the book I especially liked all the interactions with the ton What I didn t like was Jason s abominable treatment of Victoria Just because you ve been treated badly does not give you an excuse to treat other people horribly He constantly jumped to the wrong conclusions, and always thought the worst And the wedding night completely horrified me After that, he really couldn t redeem himself in my eyes To be honest, I couldn t fathom what Victoria saw in him.There were also some loose ends The book is in desperate need of an epilogue The Andrew subplot was very unsatisfactory view spoiler We never got a closure on Victoria s feelings, and very little about his visit And the poor guy had done nothing wrong but was left heartbroken hide spoiler breathes in breathes out Oh, boy Hate me all you want, but this story was utter bullshit to me Note Emphasis on the me part, people Before you slit my wrists and burn me at the stake, I want to make it clear that this is based on how I feel about the story My opinions do not invalidate yours, so if you can t tolerate negative comments about this book, by all means don t read this review Manipulation RAPE Cheating Verbal abuse Violence These are definitely elements of a great romantic novel, right RIGHT Holy fucking shit, man You know what I m too mad, disturbed and nauseated to do this Thank God my pal Alienor wrote a comprehensive review You can check it out here if you ll excuse me, I have to go to therapy or something. LOVED IT AGAIN, THE SECOND TIME AROUND ORIGINAL REVIEW, on first reading Loving someone who doesn t love you is hell Don t ever let anyone convince you that you can be happy with someone who doesn t love you Words of wisdom from Papa Quick question before I do my review Why, oh, why do a lot of you NOT read Historical Romance You are missing out on such a great genre I know some of you like your dark, gritty reads but you can do both I like, SUSPENSE, M M, ROMANTIC COMEDY PLEASE, to those of you who have not tried Historicals, give it at least a shot Blame me if you don t like them Whether he was riding a horse or dancing at a ball, Jason Fielding stood out among his fellow men like a magnificent jungle cat surrounded by harmless, domesticated kittens This is the third Judith McNaught book I have read Why, have I not read Well one of the reasons is that a lot of her older books are not available as e books so I have to go to the bother of ordering the paperbacks Did I say go to the bother It is no bother at all, it is well worth it she caught sight of the dark, foreboding figure striding toward the table with the silent sureness of a dangerous savage, his buckskin breeches molding his muscular legs and thighs Victoria and her sister, Dorothy must leave America go to England after their parents die They have relatives In England but had never been in contact with them Dorothy goes to stay with her Grandmother but because of a family falling out, Grandmama does not want Victoria to stay with her so she must stay with another cousin.I must say, I loved Victoria She was strong, independent, beautiful, nice, courageous THE GREATER A MAN S SOUL, THE DEEPER HE LOVES Jason Fielding has had a tough childhood but he turned the tables and is now a wealthy man, the envy of many But he is not a happy man He does not suffer fool s gladly Besides playing the piano, I can carry a tune, waltz without falling and embroider a fine stitch In addition I can read French and execute a throne room curtsy with great aplomb It seems to me, she observed with an impertinent smile, that in England it is quite desirable for a female to be utterly useless I won t go into much detail about the plot as I don t want to give anything away Yes, Jason was an alpha, overbearing ass but yes, I do love those types of guys love is an emotion that is used to manipulate fools I neither expect nor want your love, Victoria I see a few reviews have mentioned the back story with Andrew and how it was not really resolved Totally agree In fact, she was beginning to wonder if England was filled with intriguing, ill mannered, blunt people whose eccentricities were either encouraged or overlooked because of their titles and excessive wealth I loved the interaction with the Ton, the secondary characters, the Butler, Uncle Charles, O Malley, the Duchess of Claremont I felt I was watching a scene from Downton Abbey Her mind told her to run, but her heart begged her not to be a coward And to those of you have have not already YOU He needs you to heal wounds that are deep, to teach him how to let himself love and be loved in return Tortured Heroes Cannot get enough of them You might as well get out your popcorn, because this promises to be entertaining Over the past few days I have been stressed incredibly stressed, and rightly so As such, I didn t want to pick up any novels that required too much though, just mere enjoyment, and as I had enjoyed historical romance so much just a few months back when I binged on Lisa Kleypas s Hathaways Series, I decided to give some titles a try this week Needless to say, this has not been a particularly successful endeavor and, all things considered, Once and Always really isn t the bad book I m making it out to be Quite unfortunately for this novel, though, it s the last straw I need to get one thing out of the way early on violence is not romantic Not to me, at any rate Men who inspire fear in their wives are also not romantic Additionally, naive females who are naive to the point where you want to throw them into a brothel because they clearly are not getting the picture otherwise irritate me to no end So do meddling old people And plot threads that are built and built and built only to be disregarded by the end And so are romances that take forever to develop, all because of character stupidity If you re bothered by any of the things I mentioned, you might want to steer clear from this one But hey, don t take my word for it After all, adoring fans have given this so much praise that I wasted 200 minutes of my precious time on it What A Waste Once and Always starts off promising enough and Judith McNaught is an excellent author Yet, this book contains too many aspects of violence and rape for me to overlook Our novel begins with Jason Fielding, the illegitimate child of Duke Fielding, realizing that his wife a woman who blatantly cheated on him and his son who he adored died in a shipwreck Next, we cut to America where Victoria witnesses her mother deny her father their bed and listens as her childhood best friend, Andrew, declares his love for her Only, three years later, Victoria is an orphan, Andrew is on a trip unable to be reached, and Victoria is sent off to Europe to live with very distant relatives, like friends When Victoria arrives at the house of Duke Charles Fielding, though, she is shocked to meet his son, Jason, who is loathsome of her and those around her If anything, he scares her, but she refuses to back down and makes a home for herself in his house, her kind spirit touching upon everyone Okay, not too bad, right Just wait So Charles is a relatively old man and although Jason is his illegitimate son, he s his only heir But Charles wants grand children Katherine s grand children Who s Katherine Victoria s mother Enter Flashback Charles and Katherine are besotted with one another, Katherine s mother vows to deny the couple money if they marry, Charles doesn t believe Katherine can live as a poor man s wife because she was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he marries another woman, Katherine marries an Irish doctor and goes off to America, Charles is heartbroken BUT, now with Victoria, who looks like Katherine, he can still somehow have grand children of hersif only she marries his son, Jason As such, despite the fact that Victoria loves Andrew and believes he will come for her soon, he arranges so that the world believes Jason and Victoria are engaged Jason, needless to say, isn t happy about this but over time, he cannot help but fall in love with Victoria As a boy, Jason has been cruelly treated by his foster mother and after his first wife, rejects love Victoria, of course, makes his way into his heart Unfortunately, not very easily Jason refuses to acknowledge his feelings for her and makes her come out to London society And although watching her many suitors makes him increasingly upset, he refuses to ask her hand for marriage I don t know why Enter..MEDDLING CHARLES AGAIN So Charles pretends to be incredibly sick, bribes to doctor to tell Victoria that he s on his deathbed, and then extracts a PROMISE that she will marry Jason BAM, next morning the old man is all fine and dandy and now Victoria and Jason are married BUT THE IDIOCY ONLY BEGINS NOW Up until this point in the novel, I couldn t say I was enjoying the story, but I wasn t hating it either I was still reading, mostly because the synopsis promised the unearthing of DARK SECRETS and I was intrigued Wellthere are no dark secrets, so do yourself a favor and don t bother reading on While the first half of this book is increasingly puzzling and strange, with Jason treating Victoria as a friend, an older brother, and a jealous lover all within the span of a chapter, it is bearable because you think the second half will be better And it is But it s also much, much worse While the second half of this book inspires much feeling in me, it also makes me sick Just like Victoria on her wedding night And I guess that s where our story will pick upJason and Victoria are married in a small church, just like Victoria wished But since Victoria is a naive virgin, a silly spinster tells her that the wedding night is full of blood and danger and Victoria is reasonably frightened of marriage now As such, she hesitates to marry Jason, angering him, and puts off the wedding night for as long as possible Jason, being the idiot he is, somehow gets it into his head that Victoria ISN T a virgin because she gave herself up to Andrew And, because he lets his jealousy get the best of him, he assumes Victoria hesitated to marry him because she wanted to marry Andrew As such, he stalks into her bedroom, demands that she strips, enters her against her wishes, and leaves her crying Only then does the idiot realize she s a virgin and then brilliant idea leaves her jewels in consolation, as if she s no better than someone he paid his services for If that description of their terrible wedding night made you want to gag, choke, cry, and murder Jason, the actual scene is even worse Anyway, the show must go on So Victoria wakes up resolved to divorce Jason and he refuses so after he storms away, she leaves to deliver left over wedding food to a nearby orphanage Only, she winds up going to the house of a Captain who Jason is very good friends with And, keeping with the theme of violent men, he forces her to tell him why she demanded a divorce from Jason After her whole story comes pouring out, the Captain tells her Jason s life story of a brutal past and, being the kind person she is, Victoria sets out to make amends Only, that never works out Jason ignores her and instead departs to his mistress which even gets put in the papers and makes Victoria jealous So Victoria bans him from his mistress and tries to seduce him, but he doesn t realize she s seducing him until FINALLY after pages and pages of ANGST and sexual tension and stupid longing they have sex And Jason leaves her expensive jewelry And continues to do so until Victoria leaves for the city for four days, instead of the two Jason requested So Jason, in a fit of anger seeing the recurring theme of ANGER and VIOLENCE here finds her in London, forces her to have sex with him, and the two return back to their mansion In between all this, Victoria tells Jason that she loves him and although Jason treats her coldly all day, only interacting with her at night and never expressing his feelings for her, he MAKES her tell him those words every time they have sex Kill me now Anyway, this ridiculous jewelry giving continues until Jason finally gets it into his head that Victoria genuinely loves him and YAY they re finally happy BUT WAIT You forgot about Charles, didn t you And Andrew THEY RE BACK So the night Charles faked an illness and made Victoria promise to marry Jason, he received a latter from Andrew informing him of dire circumstances that kept him from coming to Victoria While Jason didn t know about this, Charles didn t give a damn and made them marry anyway Giving us this horrendous book, but back to the story We re ALMOST done Nearly So Jason goes off on a six day journey and hours before he comes home, Andrew arrives and the whole torrid affair is revealed of Charles s betrayal Victoria sends Andrew packing because she s happy with Jason by this point but she believes Jason had a hand in this duplicity, so she takes off to visit her grandmother the same lady who prevented Katherine and Charles from marrying each other Along the way, she thinks she s being pursued by bandits when it s really a servant trying to make sure she s safe in the storm and leaves behind her cloak to dissuade the pursuer Well, in a classic let us not deal with the real situation I spent hours creating, the servant proclaims Victoria to have drowned, Jason comes back to learn his bride is dead, and the world is restored to its violent balance You didn t think we could end this tale without displays of power and violence, did you Victoria, in her grandmother s house, finds out about the misunderstanding and rushes home to reveal her very alive self And, as expected from Jason at this point, he tells her he ll chain her to him and what notall supposedly romantic crapand locks her up in a bedroom where he supposedly ravishes her And, outside, Charles and Grandmother Dear are happy because they ll finally get that damn grandchild they want so badly The End Honestly, I am forgetting a few important details, such as the fact that Victoria genuinely liked Jason when she married him, although she was frightened, or that she and Jason had many moments when they were dear, dear friends Yet, the pervading themes remained that Jason was tortured as a boy and therefore had every right to be violent and moody while Victoria had to accommodate for that and struggle to make her marriage work WHY DAMMIT WHY I am SICK and TIRED of this plot device I read Lord of Scoundrels just days ago and a similar situation was built where the man led a tortured past and the woman HAD to heal him, HAD to deal with him, HAD to do everything because she was the woman NO NO, NO, NO, NO, NOOOOOO THIS IS NOT ROMANCE Why do we think it is Why do our hearts flutter when a muscular man comes at us with violent lust in his eyes WHY ARE THESE WOMEN NOT RUNNING AWAY SCREAMING Maybe the women of these time periods were made of sterner stuff, but with all the swooning going on, I suspect not Although Jason is a character I can understand because of his complex past, he was never one I could bring myself to like Granted, he had his sweet moments and his servants all adored him, but there is so much just blatantly WRONG with this ideal of marriage or life Now, I know you re all going to point a finger at me and tell me it s my OWN fault I knew what I was getting into when I picked up a historical romance, did I not No, I didn t Why I like historical romance is because it allows characters to do a few things Firstly, it allows a woman to display a side of her that isn t always prim and proper, but rather sexually aroused which is a fact of life Women have sexual needs too and historical romance never glosses over this, which I appreciate Secondly, it nearly always provides a perfect foothold for a balanced relationship While these women may be simpering or poor, they have just as much power over the man as he has over them As such, these books never shy away from displaying a side of men that is hushed up and forgotten And, most of all, historical fiction allows authors to explore marriages, not just courtships I don t mind seeing how people fall in love, but seeing their struggle to sustain that love is all the powerful And that is why I read historical romance Not for this Not to be treated to THIS Not for violent men, naive ladies who are fearful of their violent husbands, or old meddling fools And, frankly, I am terrified for our generation after seeing all the positive ratings for this Granted, Victoria s predicament made me feel so sharply for her, but I doubt I was supposed to feel all the pain and disgust I did feel In fact, I can very truthfully say that Judith McNaught has warned me away from historical romance for good With the exception of a few Kleypas novels Maybe.I am not in the habit of poring back through books I actively disliked to find quotes to illustrate my point I am also not in the habit of using angry GIFs So maybe that makes this review less than credible who knows but if you ever choose to pick up this book, just know that someone out there wasted 200 minutes of their life so you didn t have to And maybe also procrastinated on physics homework but you don t have to remember that part.
McNaught is a 1 New York Times Best Selling Author, with than forty million copies of her novels in print, in over eighty countries and than thirty languages She was also the first female executive producer at a CBS radio station McNaught is credited with inventing the modern Regency Historical romance subgenre.
- Mass Market Paperback
- 400 pages
- Once and Always
- Judith McNaught
- 02 November 2019 Judith McNaught