No one loved McKenna the way Aline Marsden, his childhood playmate, his confidant turned lover, did. McKenna left thinking Aline had sent him away after dallying with him while Aline, punished, remained in the countryside.
Twelve years later, McKenna returned, a rich man, to the Marsden estate, on a business venture. The wounds in his heart have yet to heal and he ruthless plotted revenge. Perhaps then, he could purge Aline out of his system. But Aline at 31, had mysteriously remained unwed, and he later discovered, a virgin. Things did not add up but Aline was less than explanatory for she had a secret to hide. McKenna was not one easily to forget or forgive until Livia (Aline's sister) confided Aline's innocence and reasons in sending him away. Aline was desperate to keep McKenna from knowing her incident with the fire that her left her legs, from feet up, riddled with permanent scars.
At the same time, 24 years old Livia, a young widow felt alive once more after a fairy-tale dance with the worldly Gideon Shaw, McKenna's business partner. Unfortunately this American was too closely wed to the bottle (an alcoholic) but being with Livia was like breathing in a soothing balm. He had to make a choice, albeit a difficult one. Both Marsden ladies have their second chance at love and perhaps this time around, it would end happily.
This report prepared by Sharren Khoo
John Mckenna was a stable hand who fell in love with Lady Aline Marsden. Theirs was a passionate and magical love that transcended the moral and social rigours of society. When Aline's father discovered this forbidden relationship, Mckenna was sent away. Lady Aline was left heartbroken and exiled in her family's estate, hidden from society. Then, Mckenna returned, more devastatingly handsome than before, and Lady Aline must summon all her strength not to show Mckenna that he still holds her heart; for if he knew that she still loves him, no power on earth will stop him from rekindling the "magic" they once shared.
This report prepared by Rina Hall
Avon, Feb 2004, 6.99, 400 pp.
In 1832 Hampshire stable boy John McKenna and Lady Aline Marsden, oldest daughter of an earl, exchange vows of love. However, her father angrily shouts at Aline that her feelings for John prove she is her just like her whore of a mother. He warns her that if she fails to end it, he will destroy John. A heartbroken Aline tells her father he better help John start a new life or she will give her virgin body to the first available bum which will cause scandal to the family name. Aline tells John that she never loved him as he is beneath her. Her dad arranges an apprenticeship with a shipbuilder for the former stable boy.
Twelve years later, John arrives back in Hampshire accompanying his American business partner Gideon Shaw. John hates Aline for her “betrayal”, but is shocked she is not married. He begins to learn the truth about how much she sacrificed to keep him safe from her now deceased father's reach, but even before that he knew at first sight that he still loves her. This time he vows he will not let her go.
This an exciting historical romance that readers will enjoy due to a strong cast. The story line engages the reader from the moment Aline and her father confront one another, but really takes off when John returns to England after years in the United States. Though having her amiable brother as the earl instead of her acrimonious father takes away from the potential squabbles, fans will enjoy this fine second chance at love tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner