- Avon Books
- Release Date
- February 2004
She gave him her innocence . . .Lady Aline Marsden was brought up for one reason: to make an advantageous marriage to a member of her own class. Instead, she willingly gave her innocence to John McKenna, a servant on her father's estate. Their passionate transgression was unforgivable -- John was sent away, and Aline was left to live in the countryside . . . an exile from London society . . .and he took her love.
Now McKenna has made his fortune, and he has returned -- more boldly handsome and more mesmerizing than before. His ruthless plan is to take revenge on the woman who shattered his dreams of love. But the magic between them burns as bright as ever. And now he must decide whether to let vengeance take its toll . . . or risk everything for his first, and only, love.
Apr 05, 2011 [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
159 people found the following review helpful
If I were asked to choose one special book by my favourite author Lisa Kleypas, it would have to be AGAIN THE MAGIC, the prequel to her Wallflower series. The emotional impact of this powerful and moving love story never diminishes no matter how many times I read it.
Aline Marsden and John McKenna are young and passionately in love, but it's a forbidden love. Aline is the eldest daughter of the Earl of Westcliff while McKenna is a mere stable lad on her father's estate. Their happiness comes to an abrupt end when Aline's father discovers their liaison. In order to save McKenna from her father's terrible retribution, Aline must ensure that when he leaves Stony Cross Park, McKenna will never return. The only way is to convince him that she has never really loved him:
"You're a bastard, McKenna ..... you have no family, no blood, no means....... what could you offer me that I couldn't get from any other man of low breed? Go, please."
Devastated, she can only watch him walk out of her life. Shortly after McKenna's departure, Aline is injured in a terrible accident, which almost claims her life and leaves her badly scarred.
Twelve years have passed and Aline is still living at Stony Cross Park with her brother, Marcus, now the Earl of Westcliff, and Olivia (Livia), her younger sister. Marcus is entertaining Gideon Shaw, a wealthy American businessman, and his party with a view to investing in Shaw's business ventures. Aline enjoys her role as hostess for her brother's guests but when she finds an old handkerchief left on her bed, she knows there is only one person who could have left it there – McKenna!
Now Shaw's business partner, McKenna is not the young stable lad she had loved all those years ago and has never stopped loving, but an arrogant, self-confident and brooding stranger with all the trappings of wealth. But what she sees in his eyes is not love but hatred, and Aline knows he intends to seek revenge for the way in which she scorned him twelve years ago.
Seduction will be a sweet revenge for McKenna:
He was going to make her suffer, weep, scream, beg. He was going to bring her to her knees. Break her. And that was just the beginning.
Aline wants to experience ‘a taste what might have been' with McKenna and becomes his willing victim. Despite everything, McKenna accepts that he has never stopped loving Aline and, when he discovers the real reason why she sent him away from Stony Cross Park, he begs her to marry him. Can Aline find the courage to trust in McKenna's love enough to tell him the truth about her accident? Or will she watch McKenna walk out of her life again -- forever!
Lisa Kleypas has the extraordinary ability to draw me into her books and I always feel a deep connection to her characters. In AGAIN THE MAGIC, the scenes between Aline and McKenna are so powerfully written that it is as if I am part of their lives instead of a mere onlooker. They have each been through so much that I desperately wanted them to have their happy ending. Some scenes are so heartrending that quite often I found tears streaming down my face. Their passion positively melts the pages and Ms Kleypas definitely increases her normal heat level in the love scenes.
Oh, McKenna -- "how you devastate me" -- to steal Aline's words. In my opinion, Ms Kleypas writes some of the best heroes ever and McKenna is undeniably one of my favourites. He is the embodiment of a hero – powerful, brooding, handsome, and passionate but also tender and caring. I love the fact that he is not afraid to show genuine emotion:
Turning, she (Mrs Faircloth) held her arms out to him in a maternal gesture. McKenna went to her at once, his black head lowering to her soft, round shoulder as he wept.
I knew that he couldn't have stopped loving Aline in spite of what he says to the contrary. Why else would he have kept her handkerchief for twelve long years? When Aline tells him she wants a certain amount of finesse in his seduction -- serenades, flowers and poetry -- would a man, who is not head over heels in love, concede to all her requests, even the poem?
I empathize with Aline because not only did she suffer the anguish of losing McKenna but the accident then left her both physiologically and physically scarred. I appreciate why she has a lack of self-worth because of her scars and therefore why she acts as she does. It is only when McKenna declares his unconditional love for her that I really wanted to shake some sense into her and say: "Come on Aline! Here's a guy that loves you more than life itself. Do you really think those scars will matter to him?"
That said, Ms Kleypas more than compensated for my frustration with Aline by writing an unforgettable final love scene between them that melted my heart and some of the most memorable romantic words ever:
"I want morning and noon and nightfall with you. I want your tears, your smiles, your kisses.... the smell of your hair, the taste of your skin, the touch of your breath on my face. I want to see you in the final hour of my life.....to lie in your arms as I take my last breath."
I like the way in which the secondary romance between Livia and Gideon Shaw is interwoven and find it every bit as satisfying as Aline and McKenna's. It is an unusual pairing of characters and the issue of Gideon's drinking adds an interesting edge to the romance. It also has one of my favourite quotes:
She smiled at him, though her hazel-green eyes were wary beneath the brim of a sodden hat. Right at that moment, staring at her across the hall, Gideon Shaw, cynic, hedonist, drunkard, libertine, fell hopelessly in love.
I adore Aline's brother, Marcus, for being fair and open-minded, so unlike his father, and caring so much about his sisters even though, at times, he can be a "self-important interfering clod", to quote Livia. He is so cynical about love that you know when he falls for someone, he will fall hard:
"Poor Marcus ..... how I (Aline) look forward to the day when you fall under some woman's spell."
Me too, Aline. Me too!
The secondary characters all add depth to the story: Mrs Faircloth, the housekeeper, always ready with soothing words and a warm shoulder to cry on; Susan Chamberlain, Gideon's bitchy sister, perpetually looking down her nose at everyone; Adam, Lord Sandridge, Olivia's friend and confidante, with a secret or two of his own.
My words can never do justice to such a wonderful book as AGAIN THE MAGIC. So bring a little magic into your life and read it soon!
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