Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Judith McNaught - Almost Heaven

No beauty in England could outshine Elizabeth Cameron, Countess of Havenhurst. But beneath her exquisite emerald eyes and cloud of golden hair, lived a girl of rare gentleness, good humour, and a splendid, even ferocious courage. In Ian Thornton's powerful embrace, Elizabeth felt the first stirrings of a passion that blazed through her senses. Yet for Thornton, a dangerously handsome man of secret wealth and mysterious lineage, the voyage to Elizabeth's heart was fraught with intrigue, scandal, and a venomous jealousy. 
From the elegant salons of London, to the wild beauty of the Scottish Highlands, their tempestuous, dramatic romance was played out, a romance between two lovers destined for each other, even though they refused to admit it. 

Comment: This is the third story in the Sequels series by author Judith McNaught. I've enjoyed reading the previous two books, so I was also interested in reading this one and expected more of the same adventures included in the others.

In this third story we have Elizabeth Cameron as the protagonist. She was a childhood friend of Alex, the heroine from the previous book. 
Elizabeth has had her debut at a time her brother was controlling things and despite the family having a title and property, thy also needed money so Elizabeth was encouraged to look for a good marriage. She shouldn't have tried to get into Ian Thornton's radar for he was known to be the bastard grandson of a duke and he wasn't very well received in society. However, they met one day and somehow recognized each other but their relationship was broken because of external factors and suddenly Elizabeth was an outcast in the same circles that welcomed her so much before.
Now, a few years later is her uncle who controls things and he decides Elizabeth must marry and sends a letter to all the men who have offered for her hand at some time in the past, including Ian. But everything is different now, will Elizabeth and Ian ever find out again why they suited so much a second time?

This was a very good story. I had a great time reading it, especially Elizabeth's adventures to get her way, which is, of course, her best to ensure her propriety Havenhurst stays with her, not only because of the memories she has created there but as a way to protect those who depend on her.
I liked Elizabeth a lot, she is young but shows a personality I admired because she was naive but resilient, she was young but knew what she should do to help others.
I didn't like how she felt easily seduced. I mean, she wasn't a fool, doing things she oughtn't; she was falling in love and trying to help Ian. Her behavior and choices obviously reflect her lack of savoir faire when it came to society and the rules but she was not acting TSTL.

From this, we get to see how Elizabeth evolves into being a wonderful person. If I were to say she has some flaws is precisely her easy trust, she should be a bit more cynical in some regards but of course we are meant to see how, despite bad situations and experiences, she still maintains her grace and optimism. It was difficult not to like her by reading about all her good actions throughout the story.

Ian is a more complex character. He has had some disillusionment in his past, mostly because of what happened to his parents and he tries to cope by not letting many people close and if someone betrays him, he severs all ties. Still, his grandfather is ready to make peace with him but Ian resists. He also sees Elizabeth's actions when they first meet as untrue and resists. I liked seeing his character evolve as well, and of course his change is into a more accepting one, so we are meant to think how complementary his personality is to Elizabeth's.

The plot isn't complicated but since this was written in the early 90s is has many scenes that seem a little silly, especially thinking about the historical romances written nowadays. Some situations are a bit over the top, namely about the romance development (whish feels too simplistic, considering the social situations portrayed too).
Some things are also easily questionable, for instance closer to the end Elizabeth does something I feel is so silly - even if she does it by the right reasons - that although it doesn't put her in TSTL level, it gets close to it and only begging and penance make up for it, in the true epic styled romances of before. But well, there's an amazing HEA and that counts for something.

I also loved some funny scenes...I still laugh to myself when thinking about one in particular, when Elizabeth is trying to convince a suitor that he won't want to marry her by playing the part of a silly prude...
All in all, this has all the ingredients to be a good romance for me. It has some things I'd change but for the most part, it's engaging and vibrant and I was very happy the main characters found common ground and happiness.
Grade: 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment