I'm back on the historical romance binge. So, here is my latest great read for you. I hope you have all heard of this author, if not she's one I highly recommend. Her stories are everything romance should be.
Summary from Goodreads
Paperback, 544 pages
Published September 1st 1997
by Pocket BooksISBN 0671011332 (ISBN13: 9780671011338)
I have stumbled on Judith McNaught purely by accident. Thank goodness one of my good friends has read her, and enjoyed her work. As she said, this author is special. I have only read two of her books so far, but I adored both of them.
Almost Heaven is the story of Elizabeth Cameron and Ian Thornton (whose name now gives me shivers because I adore him), who meet by chance one weekend and are thrown together into unlikely circumstances by Elizabeth's cruel and jealous friends. Ian is not the sort of man a nice young lady like Elizabeth should even be introduced to, never mind speak to. First of all, he's not titled. He also has something of a rakish reputation. But once these two do meet and spend some time together, it's immediately clear that they are perfect for one another.
If their meeting is pure chance, then so is their eventual marriage. Elizabeth is properly the Lady Cameron, however, she's near penniless thanks to her brother and father, and her uncle is intent on marrying her off, throwing her into a second unlikely circumstance with Ian. Ian now believes Elizabeth was playing a part to him during the weekend of their first meeting, and wants nothing to do with her. He cannot, however, help how much he is drawn to her. Or the meddling of both his uncle and Elizabeth's duenna, Miss. Throckmorton-Jones (who gave me much cause for fits of hilarity as I was reading this book) and Ian does find himself going through extraordinary lengths to make Elizabeth his wife.
I cannot begin to describe how much I adore Ian. I love how proud and disdainful he is, I love how he sees exactly who Elizabeth is. I love his strength, his noble nature. I love how much he loves Elizabeth. The man just makes me into a bowl of jelly. He also makes me want to slap him on occasion because he doubts Elizabeth, and for someone who's a genius (literally) I thought it rather stupid of him. But I forgave him because he is a man of passionate feeling. And anyway, he did go after Elizabeth and do all sorts of things he said he'd never do, like become the Marquess of Keningston, so that he could marry Elizabeth and show her how much he loves her.
It was Elizabeth I had a harder time forgiving. I love her character. Elizabeth is intelligent, witty, universally accepting of others, and very loving. She has a stubborn strength that challenges Ian's, so I honestly loved these two together. Elizabeth has suffered a lot because of her father and brother, pinching pennies and suffering the ruination of her reputation, and she's done it all without compliant. But her abandonment of Ian broke my heart. It may have broken hers, but it killed me because I was really angry that she could accept what Robert told her about Ian without question like that--personally, I wondered where her good sense had gone. Robert was her brother, but he was hardly very reliable. I'm just glad that when she finally came to her senses that she had the determination to wait out Ian until he realized that under all his hurt and pride, that he did still love her. Do I blame him for wanting nothing more to do with her after the trial? Not in the slightest. It was exactly what I expected from such a passionate, proud character.
The writing is sharp, evoking strong images and deep emotions from the reader. The story unfolds beautifully, and as much as I just couldn't put the book down, there were times I wanted to to prolong the pleasure of reading it. I wish everyone wrote like this.
His gaze held hers, and his voice was tender and rough. “Love me, Elizabeth.”
Elizabeth felt a tremor run through her entire body, but she looked at him without flinching. “I do.”
5 glittering stars