Well, I've just finished reading Almost Heaven and I'm glad to say that I'm in love with Ian, Elizabeth, and everyone and everything else in the book. Ian and Elizabeth were so much in love with each other that it rendered them defenseless, insecure and wary. "And when I'm finished," he whispered hoarsely as she wrapped her arms around him and wept brokenly, "you can help me find a way to forgive myself." Tortured by her tears, he clasped her tighter and rubbed his jaw against her temple, his voice a ravaged whisper: "I'm sorry," he told her.
I do think she left the best 'til last, even though I did love the first two in the series also. I have already reviewed the book on first reading it, so won't bore you anymore. I have said it before and I'll say it again, "every book should have an epilogue". I think it might have become one of my favourite books ever. I think, he said softly, that you are magnificent. Elizabeths entire body started to tremble as his lips began descending to hers. And for this of you who think there are NO sex scenes in Historicals... I loved meeting with Jordan and Alex from the previous book and the Dowager! I know she has written contemporaries also but I think she shines in the Historical genre. As I have said before to those of you who do NOT read historicals, please give them a try. The three books in this series have been solid FIVE stars, if not more for me.
THIS is exactly why I love historical romances. Ian is known as a scoundrel, a gambler, anything but the titled husband Elizabeth needs. At first I was a little concerned because Elizabeth and Ian get together so quickly. I shouldn't have been concerned, because their initial meeting was only the calm before the storm. Ian is a downright bastard to Elizabeth when they meet again two years after the fateful first time. But it's no secret that I love the bastards.
Through the hardships,tears and yes, misunderstandings I couldnt put this book down, I wanted, no needed to keep reading to find out what happen next to these two amazing leads. After having her uncle force her hand in an unwanted marriages, Elizabeth is face once again with her past, one where in order to save her home and her brother from debts she was to get married to a rich, kind man and she felt foolish enough to fall in love whom she thought was the wrong man and only wanted her for a quick tumble in the sheets, and with a vengeful friend out to destroy her, Elizabeths reputation was in ruins. Ian goes through life making gambles and money hand over fist, but never truly happy, until he finds love and heartbreak with Elizabeth. Overall: This book was beautiful from start to finish and yes, I have I did cry buckets, but more often then not they were tears of joys as two great souls Ian and Elizabeth finding one another.
I'm pretty sure - but not positive - that Judith McNaught is actually a god-like being who writes romance from the sky, just for me. I'm not one for sweet heroes, and I was unsure - even though he had an intoxicating presence about him - how much I was going to love a hero who immediately proposes to the heroine, while professing to her that's she "magnificent." Well, I should have known right away (this is Judith McNaught folks, Queen of Conflict) that their amicable relationship wouldn't last long, and that their short 'tryst' actually became a nightmare for the heroine. But McNaught does it in a way that makes it feel like it's the present, and the first meeting between Ian and Elizabeth was electric - Ian, a more handsome than sin scoundrel without a title nor fortune to keep him in the ton's good graces. Her hatred of Ian is greatly returned, and when she shows up on his doorstep in rural Scotland, they both didn't think they'd be pulled together like they had that very first time two years past. The chemistry between the couple was electric - hell, Ian was eletric himself, and there was an abundance of conflict to keep me stuck to the pages.
Sadly, the main character's immensely stupid action made me dislike her so terribly, and my annoyance with her idiocy was such, that I lost interest in a book in which I'd had invested so much of my time.
Well, Judith McNaught is my favourite romance novelist of all time and this novel is my special #1. Each time I re-read this novel, I am captivated by the absolute romantic splendor that's filled with angst, comedy, tragedy, drama that befits a soap opera and most of all: a second chance tale of love lost and found again. The H met the heroine Elizabeth at a country house party years ago during her debutante season and he was filled with insta-love for the beautiful young noblewoman: Elizabeth is the belle of her Season and she received many marriage proposals from her adoring admirers, but there was only one whom her mercenary brother favoured: Viscount Moundevale. It all blows up in their faces, Elizabeth is ruined, Ian offers to marry her because he's in love but her nasty brother challenges him to a duel. The story begins a few years after all this drama went down and the heroine's brother has "disappeared". I don't know why I still love Ian above all other H's. I think if I'd read this novel for the first time as an adult, my perceptions might be slightly different. Ian's proud and filled the need for revenge because he thinks that Elizabeth had spurned his offer of marriage all those years ago. McNaught is one of the few authors who also manages to create some wonderfully unforgettable minor characters who are crafted with such care that one can help but love them. Two of these are: Lucinda Throckmorton-Jones ( Elizabeth's eccentric, grouchy, sourpuss but loving chaperone ) and Ian's uncle Duncan ( a priest who plays the central role in reconciling the MC's ). It's only after Elizabeth leaves Scotland that Ian's uncle Duncan tells him the truth. He does this this because he has to save Elizabeth from a forced marriage to the nasty Sir Francis Belhaven and because the heroine's uncle would only give her to the man with the highest title. He even ensured that the jealous junior hagwitch Valerie got her comeuppance when he gave her the social cut at a ball by telling her that she'd misspelled the word "greenhouse" in the notes she'd sent to him and Elizabeth all those years ago. Ian also proves his love for Elizabeth by protecting her from her horrible uncle Julius: Certainly, Julius said, his face reddening with anger. Rounding on Elizabeth, he continued, He paid a fortune for you, you conceited little slut Ians savage voice cracked like a whiplash. Without looking at Elizabeth, Ian snapped a question at her, Do you want it? Although Julius didnt yet recognize the depth of Ians fury, Elizabeth saw the taut rage emanating from every line of his powerful frame, and fear raced up her spine. Elizabeth didnt know what he wanted her to say, and in the mood he was in, she was actually terrified of saying the wrong thing. Ian accepted that as if the woman spoke for Elizabeth, his gaze still boring through Julius. I disliked Elizabeth in this part of the story because her idiocy and inability to trust the man she loved almost ruined her marriage. In this scene, it was the heroine's turn to grovel and I loved seeing how turnabout was great fair play. I think that's what made the novel so splendid for me: in the space of one story, I got to see instances where each MC had to bend over backwards to prove how much he/she loved the other. McNaught also added a grand cast of characters like the MC's ( and their relatives ) from her other great love story Something Wonderful, who made cameo appearances. As if Elizabeth and Caroline sensed that they were being observed, they both looked up at the terrace, and then they smiled and waved two green-eyed girls with gilded hair and love shining in their eyes. Turning to look up at the tall man beside him, he said, You think heaven will have whatever a person most wants it to have, is that it? I see where that could be a problem, Ian agreed, and he tenderly laid his hand against his sons cheek.
Ian for instance isn't English, but 'brutal Scot' and just because he's Scot seemed like McNaught saved all of her best words and emotions for this man. Dialogues between him and Elisabeth who is a true gem as well left me in awe, because there is this special connection that I feel most of the time when I read McNaught's books and I don't know how she does it. Ian is definitely the proudest man I have encountered in this genre, but he as well had something that I hadn't seen before: a happy and normal upbringing.