Again The Magic by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Wallflowers #.5
Also in this series: The Devil in Winter, Scandal in Spring (The Wallflowers #4), A Wallflower Christmas
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 13th 2009
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She gave him her innocence . . .
Lady Aline Marsden was brought up to marry a man of her own class, but from the moment she meets John McKenna, she risks everything to be with him.
He gave her his heart
Although their love is forbidden, McKenna's passion for the beautiful Aline is too compelling to deny.
When their secret is discovered, their world is shattered. McKenna is forced to leave forever, unaware that the only reason Aline has given him up is to save him.
Now McKenna has returned, a powerful man determined to take revenge against the woman who broke his heart. But the magic between them burns as fiercely as ever . . . and as McKenna uncovers Aline's deepest secret, together they discover a love that will defy Fate itself.
The blurb of this book is kind of misleading, so I’m going to give you a better summary. Please be advised that the summary and my review will contain mild spoilers (things that are discovered early on in the book).
Aline and McKenna grew up together. He was taken in by the housekeeper and given work in the stables as a young boy, and he and Aline quickly became best friends. As they grew older, the feelings between them changed into something much deeper and more mature. McKenna knew they couldn’t be together, but Aline desperately tried to change his mind.
They were seen kissing (the farthest McKenna would let things go) and Aline’s father banished McKenna from the estate. Aline knew McKenna wouldn’t leave her unless she made him believe she didn’t love him. So she lied and told him she’d never cared for him and had only been playing with him. Shortly thereafter she’s involved in an accident and her legs are severely scarred in a kitchen fire. As a result she never married, or really ever even left the country estate.
Years later McKenna returns to Stony Cross Park, a wealthy American. He’s made a fortune and has now come to seek revenge on Aline for destroying him as a young boy. But he couldn’t have predicted how the sight of her would still leave him breathless and wanting. And before long he’s just as captured by her as he was in his youth.
One of the things I love best about this book is that it deals with the powerful emotions we deal with in our youth. I can remember my first love, and how devastated I was when it ended. Although I don’t still pine for him (I have an amazing husband, one that outshines everyone and everything in my life), I could really understand the pain both Aline and McKenna carried with them.
I love McKenna. Even when he was dead set on revenge I was drawn to him. As a boy he had no ambition and was content to work in the stables and spend his free time with Aline. After her betrayal (or what he felt was her betrayal) he became driven, and eventually made a fortune as the business partner of an extremely wealthy American. As a man he isn’t anything like the boy he was. He’s cold and cynical and jaded, and his only thoughts are to make Aline pay. But we, as the reader, can see he just needs the right incentive to love as he once did.
I understood the reason Aline sent McKenna away, even as my heart broke for both of them. But I became extremely annoyed with her later in the story, worrying so much about something she had no control over. Because her legs are scarred, she feels no man, especially McKenna, will want her. So she continues to push him away. This didn’t bother me as much the first time I read the book, but this time around I wish she’d put more faith in him. As the story wore on she seemed more and more like a spoiled child. Aside from that, I did like her character. I just wish she’d been honest sooner.
I adore the secondary romance between Livia, Aline’s younger sister, and Charles Shaw, McKenna’s business partner. Shaw is an alcoholic and Livia has been living in self-imposed exile since a scandal hurt her in the past. Watching the two of them overcome their demons and fall in love really worked. Especially because falling in love wasn’t the end of the story for them.
Although I had more issues with the story this time around, I’d still say it holds up.
4.25 out of 5
Something you might not have realized: the heroine(s) of this book are the sisters of Lord Marcus Westcliff, who gets his story in It Happened One Autumn, the second book of the Wallflowers series. Marcus Westcliff is also featured in Worth Any Price, the third book in the Bow Street Series.