Friday, June 20, 2008

Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

Book Description:
She gave him her innocence . . . Lady Aline Marsden was brought up for one reason: to make an advantageous marriage to a member of her own class. Instead, she willingly gave her innocence to John McKenna, a servant on her father's estate. Their passionate transgression was unforgivable -- John was sent away, and Aline was left to live in the countryside . . . an exile from London society . . . and he took her love.

Now McKenna has made his fortune, and he has returned -- more boldly handsome and more mesmerizing than before. His ruthless plan is to take revenge on the woman who shattered his dreams of love. But the magic between them burns as bright as ever. And now he must decide whether to let vengeance take its toll . . . or risk everything for his first, and only, love.

Ever since I've gotten into reading romance books in the past few months, the one name I have heard over and over again is Lisa Kleypas. Frequently her name comes up as writing some of the best historical romances out there. I was doubtful and felt they couldn't be as good as all that - well, I stand corrected - they are. I loved this book - I think it's the best romance I've read to date.

There are a number of reasons why I loved this book. For once, it was a good plotline that hooked me and I stayed interested in up to the very last page. I didn't want it to end. Aline and McKenna grow up together, but he's a stableboy and she's the daughter of the manor. It all takes place originally in 1832. They grow to love each other, but for various reasons McKenna is sent away, partly due to their romance being found out and Aline doesn't want to see him hurt by her father. She tricks him into leaving her for his own good, but she winds up making him hate her for doing it.

Twelve years go by and he returns to the manor in England after making his fortune in New York (shades of Heathcliff). They are still undeniably attracted to one another, but he's out for revenge and she cannot tell him about the horrible disfiguring scars she has on her legs from a terrible burn accident that happened to her shortly after he left the estate twelve years earlier. She's afraid if she tells him, he'll never be able to look at her and feel the same way about her. Yet, she'd rather not have him at all since she's afraid he'll stay with her out of pity and eventually regret his decision, and she can't live with that chance. Thus, she decides to lie to him again about the real reason why she's sending him back to New York without her.

Not only is the main plotline good, but so are the side ones. There is another love story going on with her sister, Livia, and McKenna's American partner Gideon Shaw, which is just as good and sexy as the McKenna/Aline plot. Gideon is a drunkard, but very debonaire and good looking and rich - will he be able to give up drinking for good for the love of Livia who has her own past scandal to contend with? It seems implausable, but I was captivated with their side of the story.

I couldn't get enough of this book, the sex scenes were great (for both couples) and plenty to go around, but I didn't feel they were just gratuitous sex scenes, they added to the plotlines and enhanced the emotional feeling of the romance. Another side character I really liked was Lord Sandridge a gay neighbor of Aline's. He was amusing and tender and compassionate, her confidante. I'd like to see more of him.

Not your typical formulaic romance here. It was thoughtful, not overly gooey or sappy. Aline is a formidable heroine at 31 years old. She's a woman now and a gracious hostess for her brother yet carries a huge secret burden around with her always. McKenna is larger than life, I loved seeing his tranformation from the young 18 year old stable boy to the rich businessman from New York come back to seduce Aline and carry out the revenge he's been dreaming of for 12 years - of course it doesn't happen quite the way he thinks it will.

I'm not going to give away too much, no spoilers here, but I'll just say, it all ends well and it's a very satisfying ending. I'll be sure to read the rest of the books in this series, of which this was the prequel. The series is known as The Wallflowers.

If you're into steamy English historical romances - this is a keeper!


No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails