Author: Judith McNaught

Retro Review: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.

Posted January 11, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 44 Comments

Retro Review: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.Reviewer: Rowena
A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
Series: Westmorelands #1
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Publication Date: July 1st 2003
Pages: 438
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as "The Wolf"; his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will . . . until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web . . . a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.

***As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This week, we’re going back to the author that started my love of romance novels, Judith McNaught. I remember this review and all of the fighting commenting we did in the comments. What a lively bunch we are…ha! Oh man, the memories…***

This review was originally posted on May 29, 2007.

Okay so this weekend, while I was in the midst of reading all these books while waiting to read my book book, I did a reread of this book, A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.

Now in our little circle of friends, this is the book that brings out the claws. I kid you not, we have gotten into some serious fight emails (in ALL CAPS y’all) about this book and the heroine. While some of us think that Jenny was a stupid beeyatch who deserved all the crap that she got, we still think she was redeemable in the end, there are others who think otherwise. They’re the ones that think Jenny should have died a slow death where she was tortured, hanging over a fire pit, being slow roasted.

LOL.

And as I was reading this book, this past weekend I found myself being just as absorbed in this story as I was the many other times I’ve read this book.

I found myself falling deeper and deeper under the Royce Westmoreland spell and I thought this book was fantastically written. The emotions Judith McNaught envoked in the readers toward the characters, pulled them deep into the story and made them apart of it, made them hate the bad guys (and the good guys) and made them hungry with the thirst of justice (for poor Thor and William) and I’ve got to say that Judith McNaught sure knows what she’s doing when she writes these books.

She’s a master at weaving a world that sparks such interesting topics and discussions. I mean, I’ve never fought with anyone like I did with Izzy and Holly over the whole Jenny thing and I admit to poking fun at them, deliberately provoking them into getting all huffy and puffy about Jenny and her actions.

It’s really fun, to read this book and roll my eyes and get that nervous twitch in my stomach when I knew Jenny was going to do something stupid, like sew the soldiers clothes shut or carve Royce’s face with his own knife, then you know, THE scene where she did what she did to Thor? And then when she hesitated over Royce’s lance when he approached her for her ribbon?

sigh

These are the things that made me so angry at Jenny but I didn’t wish Royce ended up with anyone else. I mean, she was stupid but she was very repentant at the end. Yeah, Royce was nearly dead before she got her wits around her to go and put a stop to the slaughtering of her husband, but she DID do it and she truly showed that she did in fact love him with all that she was…

Royce’s speech when he brought Jenny back to his home and introduced him to the servants, sigh I just love it…so much so that I’m going to type it out for you.

Behold your new mistress, my wife. And know that when she bids you, I have bidden you; what service you render her, you are rendering me, what loyalty you give or withhold from her, you give or withhold from me.

swoon

Man but this was a good book, a fantastic book and even though Jenny was a stupid ass, I still loved this book and I will continue to read it over and over again because it’s just that great.

Go on, bring on the vicious words for Jenny, I know you’re just dying to say them…LOL.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

This book is available from Pocket Books. You can purchase it here.

four-half-stars


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Retro Review: Once & Always by Judith McNaught

Posted April 21, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Retro Review: Once & Always by Judith McNaughtReviewer: Rowena
Once and Always by Judith McNaught
Series: Sequels #1
Also in this series: Once and Always

Publication Date: September 20th 1990
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Across the vast ocean sailed Victoria Seaton, a free-spirited American beauty left suddenly orphaned and alone. Eager to claim her long-lost heritage, she was amazed at the formal elegance of Wakefield, the sumptuous English estate of her distant cousin...the notorious Lord Jason Fielding. Sought after at plays, operas, and balls by London's most fashionable ladies, Jason remained a mystery to Victoria. Bewildered by his arrogant demeanor, yet drawn to his panther-like grace, she came to sense the searingly painful memories that smoldered in the depths of his jade-green eyes. Unable to resist her spitfire charm, Jason gathered her at last into his powerful arms, ravishing her lips with his kisses, arousing in her a sweet, insistent hunger. Wed in desire, they were enfolded in a fierce, consuming joy, free at last from the past's cruel grasp. Then, in a moment of blinding anguish, Victoria discovered the shocking treachery that lay at the heart of their love...a love she had dreamed would triumph...Once And Always.

***THIS REVIEW WILL BE FILLED WITH SPOILERS SO KEEP SCROLLING IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS BOOK AND DON’T WAIT TO BE SPOILED***

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Alright, you’ve been warned…

It’s been ages since I’ve read this book so when my book club chose it for last month’s discussion, I knew that I was going to have to re-read it since I couldn’t remember anything aside from the gift that Tory gave Jason and that she kissed his back.

And that thing. For those of you guys who have read this book before, you know what I’m talking about. I’ll come back to that in a little bit.

Victoria Seaton known affectionately as Tory has been shipped to live in England with distant relatives after her parents die in a carriage accident. Victoria and her sister are sent to live with family they don’t know and have never heard anything about. Victoria looks just like her mother so she’s sent to live with Charles Fielding and her sister goes to live with their grandmother. When Victoria shows up at the Fielding residence, she’s met by Jason Fielding, Charles’ nephew who is the heir to all of Charles titles and businesses.

Jason wants nothing to do with a gold digging hussy from America and if Charles wants to house her, he’ll have to come and fetch the girl himself. Jason’s past has soured him on all relationships and he really wants nothing to do with anyone. He’s cold and he’s bitter and he’s been like that ever since his wife and son died a few years ago.

This wasn’t an easy romance to read. I remember loving the hell out of this book when I first read it. This was one of those romances that were filled with moments that I absolutely loved. Moments that broke my heart and then moments that enraged me so.

Jason was such a broken man that lived each day doing whatever he damn well pleased. He had not one iota of care left in his system for anyone outside of himself. He didn’t let himself get close to anyone and he preferred it that way and then Victoria Seaton comes into his life and she’s the complete opposite of him. She’s bright and happy where he’s dark and cold and she’s got this courage that shines from within and a caring touch for everyone that crosses her path. They shouldn’t have made sense together but over the course of the book, you see that they do.

I loved that when Jason finally owns up to his feelings for Tory, the love he showers her with made me all swoony. I loved that Victoria was able to reach Jason when nobody else could and I loved that her love for him grew over time and once she let herself fall out of love with Andrew and into love with Jason, I loved how all in she was. I loved seeing her thaw Jason’s heart with the gifts, by caring about his welfare and by just being herself. She was probably my very favorite part of this book.

What I didn’t love was how Jason jumped to conclusion after conclusion about Tory’s every move. It didn’t matter how out of character he knew it was, she was guilty before found innocent. I didn’t love the way that Charles manipulated Jason and Tory, no matter what his reasons were for doing so. And I didn’t love when Jason went to London right after their wedding and we find out who he was in London with.

I remember reading this book back in the day and being so completely sure that Jason didn’t cheat on Victoria when he was in London. Reading this book now? I am completely sure of the opposite. What’s funny is that while discussing this very thing with my book club, we were split down the middle. The ones who didn’t think he cheated, didn’t want to believe he did but the others? The others read it for themselves and it was plain as day that Jason was up to no good in London. Sure it was a sign of the times since he wasn’t the only Lord to keep a mistress but it was so disappointing to realize that he wasn’t the hero that I remembered. The hero that I was so sure of before. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older and a bit more cynical but to me, it was so obvious that Jason didn’t spend his nights alone in London and that hurt my heart.

Reading this book all over again reminded me how angsty McNaught romances are. She really pushes you over the edge, emotionally before dragging you back by your hair. This book was an emotional roller coaster that knocked me on my ass more than once. I rejoiced with Tory and Jason, I raged at the both of them but in the end? I was so hot damn glad that they got their shit together and did right by each other. I came full circle with this read and while I didn’t absolutely love it this time around, I wasn’t fully disappointed either. I would re-read this one again.

So if you’re going to read this one, prepare yourself. It’s not easy, the characters will drive you crazy but you’ll be okay. Haha.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Remember When by Judith McNaught

Posted July 24, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Remember When by Judith McNaughtReviewer: Holly
Remember When by Judith McNaught

Publication Date: October 1st 1997
Pages: 432
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Remember When is one of Judith McNaught's most enchanting New York Times bestsellers, "a tender novel celebrating the power of love" (The Literary Times).

Alone on a moonlit balcony at Houston's White Orchid Charity Ball, Diana Foster courageously upheld the sparkling image of her family's Beautiful Living magazine. Recently jilted by her fiancé for an Italian heiress -- an insult delivered via a sleazy tabloid -- Diana was now very publicly unengaged, and surrounded by humiliating rumors. So why was billionaire Cole Harrison closing in on her with two crystal flutes and a bottle of champagne?

The former stableboy had received an ultimatum from his uncle: bring home a wife -- soon -- or lose his share of a booming multinational business. Coolly analytical and arrestingly attractive, Cole knew what he wanted in a bride, and Diana Foster -- rich, beautiful, principled -- fit the role perfectly. But while a long, slow kiss sealed the bargain that solved both their dilemmas, neither imagined the extraordinary journey that would begin on that unforgettable night. . . .

 

One of the things Judith McNaught does better than anyone is write drama. Her novels are filled with conflicts. The h/h are always struggling with each other, outside influences and themselves. And just when you think all is well and things are resolved and they’re going to live happily ever after, some new drama occurs and BAM, they’re back at square one. Remember When is one of the few McNaught novels where the drama is at a minimum and the h/h work together.

Unfortunately, I think the love story here gets buried under a lot of technical jargon and too much back story. The first 7 or so chapters focuses on when Cole and Diana first met..as teenagers. Cole was a poor college student who was working in the stable of a wealthy family to support himself. Diana was friends with the stable owner’s daughter and met Cole that way. They became friends and ended up spending quite a bit of time together. But Diana – along with all her friends and then some – had a major crush on Cole. They (she and her friends) used to make bets about who would be the first to kiss him. Although it was cute to read about their past together, I feel it went on for too long. I’d rather have learned about it during the present, or shortened the amount of time JM spent on the past. Although some of what happened then is necessary to the story in present day, I think a few chapters at most would have been enough.

The other problem is the outside conflict Cole and Diana have to face takes center stage here. Diana and Cole and their relationship play second fiddle. Diana’s company is suffering because she’s just been dumped by her fiance for a 19 year old bimbo. Cole’s public image is crap and his uncle decides to blackmail him into getting married and providing grandchildren. He proposes to Diana, thinking they can help each other out, but things get complicated when he realizes he cares for her and vice verse. The problem is that Cole has made a lot of enemies and now he’s under investigation by SEC for having inside information on trades (or something..I’m blanking out right now, sorry!).

McNaught spends a lot of time on the business aspects – both Diana and Cole’s. While I found it interesting, I feel it took away from their relationship too much. I would have liked to see more page time w/ just them. Still, I love that they stuck by each other. Once they committed to each other, that was it. Fabulous stuff. I also loved seeing Cole lighten up with Diana’s help. One of my favorite parts of the book is when she gives him a new tie and he keeps bringing it up. It was cute.

Overall the relationship aspects of the story are wonderful, but overshadowed. I’d recommend it just for Diana and Cole.

H/H: 4.5 out of 5
The rest: 3.5 out of 5

This book is available from Simon & Schuster. You can buy it here.

three-half-stars


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Simple Gifts by Judith McNaught and Jude Deveraux.

Posted December 19, 2007 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Simple Gifts by Judith McNaught and Jude Deveraux.Reviewer: Rowena
Simple Gifts by Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 1st 1998
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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five-stars

In the snow-covered hills of Virginia, a young widow finds that miracles really do come in the least expected packages, in "Just Curious," praised as "one of Devereaux's best (Philadelphia Inquirer). "Change of Heart," set in modern-day Colorado, is the touching story of a clever twelve-year-old who plays matchmaker for his bighearted, impractical mother.

Every year, I read this book around this time. It’s like my Christmas is not the same if I haven’t done my yearly reread of this book and this year was no different. My book is starting to look worn out, I might be needing a new book soon…hehe, I love new books.

Anyway, on with the review.

Just Curious

Hero: MacAllister Taggert
Heroine: Karen Reed
Grade: 5/5

This was such a good holiday story.

I loved it right from the very beginning. When we meet Karen and learn of her husband’s death and how she can’t get over it and how she’s let herself go and to see her getting dicked around the office, getting roped into doing others work while they get the glory from it made me angry on her behalf but then Mac comes into her life and turns it right upside down. I loved that! I loved how their love story came to be, with Mac asking her to take a job “posing” as his girlfriend at his friend’s wedding and how he did everything just so that he can be with her because she could tell him and his brother apart, it was just the cutest story and a great thing to read around this time. Mac’s friends were great and his family was wonderful too. This story never ceases to bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. I loved how Karen thought the lowest of Mac and how he proved her wrong. I loved the first time these two made love, it was such a cute scene and then when they’re awakened on Christmas morning and the kids are in the room and they go down to Christmas morning where Karen is bombarded with gifts, gift she knows that Mac bought and not the others written on the tags. Just to see the lengths in which Mac went to, to snare Karen was just what this romantic loves to read about…I swear you will enjoy this story, a lot…or else something is wrong with you, JUST KIDDING!

Such a great read! Oh and I loved her little notes she’d leave around the office, Magnificently Jettisoned or some other, so frickin’ hiliarious!

Miracles by Judith McNaught.

Hero: Nicki DuVille
Heroine: Julianna Skeffington
Grade: 3/5

A lot of JM fans were disappointed in Nicki’s story because they felt that he deserved his very own full length novel and I wouldn’t have been mad if JM had decided to write that because I didn’t really enjoy this story..for Nicki. He’s trapped into marrying a girl that was pretty much trying to get ruined so that she wouldn’t have to marry anyone and so that she can live the life she’s always wanted to live. Of course, none of that happens because she has to marry Nicki and Nicki banishes her to one of his residents and she’s left all alone, her only recourse of expressing her feelings is through letters to her late grandmother. It is through these letters where everything comes out, the truth behind the night that Nicki “ruined” Julianna, her feelings about her mother, her feelings about Nicki and just every dang thing. This is one of those misunderstanding plots and I’m not really fond of those story lines especially because this was Nicki’s story. I wanted a better and just more for Nicki and I didn’t even like Nicki that much in this story. He was so hard and nothing like the Nicki that I knew and loved from the other books…it was just…okay. Oh and he didn’t even say I LOVE YOU JULIANNA, he only said, “I yearn too!” That is not at all the same thing, Ugh.

Change of Heart by Jude Deveraux

Hero: Frank Taggert
Heroine: Miranda Harcourt
Grade: 5/5

This was another fantastic and very romantic read. When I talk about this book to my sisters and my friends, the storyline sounds so cheesy and it kind of is but I don’t even care, I love this story so much! I loved that Randy was such a “real” woman, she wasn’t the thin heroine we’re used to reading and she loved reading romance novels and she was struggling to make ends meet. She sometimes cried at her circumstances but she never gave up because her son needed her and I just super duper loved that about Randy. I loved her son as well, Eli was such a great character and the wealth of love that he had in his little body for his Mother just warmed my insides. The lengths to which he went to make sure that his mother was taken care of before he pursued his own dreams was admirable for a young boy of 12. With his genius IQ and his friendship with millionaire, Frank Taggert, the little things that he would get into with his best friend had me laughing and sighing at the same time. They were just too cute, how they put the whole thing together with the help of Mike and Sam Taggert was just fantastic. I loved how it all came together and how Frank’s issues with Randy were real and how Randy reacted to all of it was just fantastic! This book brings out the romantic side in all of us and the ending was just soooooo great! This is such a cute read that I highly recommend everyone read it!

Double Exposure by Judith McNaught

Hero: Spence Addison
Heroine: Corey Foster
Grade: 4/5

This story was pure cheese. The prequel to JM’s Remember When showed the romance story between Diana’s step sister, Corey Foster and her childhood crush, Spencer Addison. We see how these two end up together and all that jazz. When I read RW, I was hecka in love with Spence, I thought he was a straight up stud, I still do and though I liked his story well enough, it wasn’t my favorite. I thought it was cute even though I couldn’t believe that Spence thought he could pull marrying Corey without her knowledge FOR REAL off. I mean, seriously…yes, he was desperate and yes he realized that he loved her and we all do stupid things when we’re in love with love being blind and all that but seriously, that was really stupid. I thought his niece and the chap she was marrying were a bit much but I loved seeing Diana and Corey’s Mom and the grandparents, the grandma was hilarious! That scene at the table when they’re telling the story of Spence standing up Corey and her being all heartbroken, I thought it was so cute. How they wanted Spence to know the truth and how he felt bad and then went on that crusade to win Corey back for real and forever was….cute. This story was cute and it still brings a smile to my face even after all these years of rereading it. What’s the holidays without some cheese, huh?

Overall, this book is a wonderful read. I read it without fail every year and every year I enjoy it all over again. I am not yet sick of these stories yet so that’s a good thing because I seriously love it…you guys should definitely read this book and it will be a great holiday gift for your Mom, Sisters, or whoever reads romance like us.

Read These Now!

five-stars


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Review: Once and Always by Judith McNaught.

Posted November 22, 2007 by Rowena in Reviews | 12 Comments

Review: Once and Always by Judith McNaught.Reviewer: Rowena
Once and Always by Judith McNaught
Series: Sequels #1
Also in this series: Once and Always
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: April 25th 2006
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

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.

I read this book for the first time, many many years ago…I believe it was back in ‘99. I remember because this is the book that I took with me on the drive to Utah when me and my family were driving out there for my Uncle Johnny’s funeral. I was pregnant with Brenna, though nobody knew about it and it was while I was reading about Jason and Victoria falling in love that my cousin, Leen asked me if I was pregnant. I remember I was wearing my Calvin Klein jacket that I absolutely loved but I remember being so intensely into this book while at that funeral that the miles that passed through went by in a blur because this book was just sooo frickin’ good.

This is one of those books that had those big misunderstandings that I was bothered about in No Regrets but in this book, the misunderstandings didn’t bother me one bit. I loved seeing Jason melt a little more each passing day in Tory’s company. I loved how Jason fought his feelings for Tory and I loved how Tory finally won him over.

You see, Tory and her sister are orphaned when their parents die in a tragic carriage accident or whatever and they’re shipped off to some distant relatives in England…now, their Grandmother will only take in ONE of the daughter, so Tory’s younger sister, Dorothy goes with the grandma and Tory is taken to reside with another “relative”, Jason Fielding…who is the bastard son of some guy he thought he was his dad but really isn’t. So anyway, Tory is sent to live with Jason and Jason doesn’t like it.

You see, Jason is really bitter about life and love because of the life and the love he had. His first wife was a total b word and she took their son and went and got them killed while she was leaving him or whatever, she was a faithless b word who didn’t care about anyone and it left Jason really cold toward everyone because she took the one thing that he loved most in the world….his son. Having grown up with a set of “parents” who despised him and had him beaten while they lived in a different country then his native, England…Jason was not brought up with the best of homes. He truly is one of those tortured souls and Judith McNaught does a fantastic job of drawing you into Jason’s world and totally rooting him on to find his happily ever after.

There wasn’t one point in the story where I hated Jason, even that dratted scene that nobody likes, the one where they all totally hate Jason for. I don’t and won’t hate Jason because he was finally gentled and found his happy ending with a terrific heroine and I couldn’t have been happier with their story.

Jason and Tory were great together, they both learned and grew together and it was a wonderful journey, one that will always stay with me because I love these two! I totally recommend this story to those of you who wants to read about two wonderfully lost souls finding a love together they never knew existed.

Oh what a sap, I am but I don’t care…this book was good!

five-stars


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