Review: Once and Always by Judith McNaught

Posted June 18, 2008 by Casee in Reviews | 22 Comments

Once and Always

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.

I love this book. Love it. It’s my favorite JM historical. Not something you hear often, I know. Yet every time I read this book, I love it a little more. Jason and Tory are two people that would never have ended up together, they are so opposite. Yet they are perfect for each other.

After her parents died, Victoria and her sister are sent to England to live with their mother’s relatives. Though they knew their mother was from the other side of the pond, they knew nothing else. Victoria agreed to go to England w/ her sister, but she knew she wouldn’t be there long. See, she was practically engaged and knew that her almost-fiance would be coming for her soon.

From the moment that Victoria and Jason meet, there are sparks. Victoria is rather naive, which is to be expected. When the weeks pass and she hears nothing from her fiance, Victoria doesn’t give up hope. Yet when she is faced with a decision to either wait for the man she loves or marry Jason, who can give her security, it’s an easier decision than she would have thought.

This book came close to having a BIG MISUNDERSTANDING, but JM didn’t take it that far. From the day of their wedding, there is one misunderstanding after another. Victoria wants to find peace in her new life as Jason’s wife, yet he makes that practically impossible. Eventually they come to an understanding and they both admit their feelings for the other.

Jason also has a past that will make almost every reader cry. He has gone through things that no man or woman should ever have to go through. The fact that he’s still able to love Victoria after everything he’s seen and been through is quite simply amazing. That’s what makes the love between these two characters so special. Jason, against the odds, found Victoria who makes him a better man and heals him in a way that no person has been able to do before.

Don’t miss this amazing book.

5 out of 5.

This book is available from Pocket Books. You can buy it here. No e-format available.

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22 responses to “Review: Once and Always by Judith McNaught

  1. Sayuri

    I have never had the urge to read a historical. Never. But I think I may want to read this. In fact, I have never read a JmcN but I think her back cat will be getting seriously raided soon.

  2. Yes, he did rape her. She said, “No! Stop! If you do this I’ll hate you!” and he didn’t stop. Hello, rape!

    Right, depending on who you the author. But she doesn’t count, does she?

    (Love you, Casee)

  3. It was not rape. It was more like forced seduction. I’m not saying it was right, but it wasn’t rape.

    No, she doesn’t count b/c she leaves it up to the reader to perceive it. Look how many readers never even considered it before I posted it last week.

  4. Not so. If it was forced seduction and not rape, at some point Tory would have agreed to wanting it. She never did. She said, clearly and concisely, right from the beginning all the way through the end, No. N-O.

  5. OMGosh, my eyes are bleeding!!! Rape? Jason would never rape Tory. I agree with Casee, it was forced seduction.

    Sayuri, you should definitely read Once and Always. The book is pure magic.

  6. Lori

    Laughing, cause it was my 1st JM, and I loved it. I glomed all the rest immediately. And I don’t remember him raping her either, Casee. I think Holls is a little toched in the head.

    Howsomever, I will admit to being heartbroken when JM admitted he did cheat. I choose to believe he didn’t like it.

  7. I read it years ago, and I loved it too. I don’t remember it as being rape, though. Now I think I need to go back and re-read…

  8. Holly, dear, you are thinking of some other book, I’m sure.

    ‘Cause Jason didn’t cheat and he most definitely didn’t rape Tory! *outraged gasp* The very idea!!!! *indignant huff*

  9. Anonymous

    First the possibility of “cheating”, then “can’t get it up” *chuckling still* and now RAPE – yeshhh, you gals really know how to tear down a girl’s fairytale dream.

    Argument against rape claim – Lots of gray area here but if Jason (and you can throw in Clayton/Whitney, too) did rape her, Tory would never, never allow the him to touch her again – I don’t care what horrific and heartbreaking childhood he had. (more likely, she’ll be thinking “you deserve it, you horrible jackhole!”)But she did – again and again with great pleasure!

    I think it’s more bullying and manhandling. hmmmm, manhandling….


  10. I don’t remember much about this book, but I remember it fondly because I found a hardcover copy for 2$ in a clearance sale one and sold it back on e-bay for nearly 300$ :-DD. Lol. I don’t think this title was ever among my favorite of McNaught’s, but I didn’t hate it either because I never hated any of her books. McNaught does tend to overuse the Big Misunderstanding plot device. I think she has it in all her books.

  11. Sweet! I’m always overwhelmed when I look at how many JMN books there are at the bookstore. I never know where to start, even thought I know I like her books. Thanks for directing me!

  12. No, no, no, It wasn’t rape. If you want to read about rape – try some Kathleen Woodiwiss or Rosemary Rogers *shudder* or maybe not.
    And he didn’t cheat! *stomps foot* He Didn’t. This one is my favourite JM book and one of the few I added a further story too in my head. See – a year or so later Jason takes Tory to India to show her all his property and everything. They have a grand time on the ship and in India and she comes back enceinte (or however the heck they spell it)

  13. Ok, read the book and loved it. I’m just getting back into romance and have stayed away from Historicals cause they seem to full of virgins who have fantastic sex for thier first time. Whatever.

    However, there are a couple of things.

    1. I am agreeing with Holly. WHat happened on thier wedding night was so not consetual. Full Stop.

    2. The cheating thing, He so totally did, but I can see where the provocation and the misunderstandings make that slightly less of an unforgivable act.

    3. The last two points didn’t make me think less of Jason for some reason. Noe that, is some good writing.

    4. What about poor Andrew Bainbridge? Hmm, not a word said about he was terribly used? I felt so sorry for him. His childhood sweetheart, the woman he had set his heart on since he was a child was stolen from him. That’s some bad karma there.

    That said I did love this book and I am now feverishly coming the secong hand bookshops for more JM historicals.

    • QueenLove

      So glad someone finally spoke about poor Andrew. He was used as cannon fodder to further the story between the protagonist. He was loyal to his love and the author did not even give him a side story. By the way iIread this book around 1993 \(^0^)/

  14. I am so happy you enjoyed it Sayuri! I’ve heard from so many contemporary readers who have been turned onto historicals because of JM’s fabulous writing! You have so many great stories ahead of you. A Kingdom of Dreams, Almost Heaven, Something Wonderful, Until You, Whitney, My Love. I so want to be you right now, lol.

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