Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Always Been You

It's Always Been You by Victoria Dahl 1214

Aidan York and Katie Tremont had been young and in love but her father had deemed the second son of a mere baron not good enough so he had refused his suit. He kept them apart through lies and deceit and after marrying Katie off to a much older and very wealthy coffee grower in Ceylon he told Aidan she was dead. A decade later Aidan is shocked to see Katie running a coffee shop and immediately all the old feelings rush in after so long lying dormant. But Katie is now Kate and she is much different; a year living in a place she hated with a man she had only the barest relationship with, has left her less vibrant and far more reserved. She is living in hiding, under a fake name, telling people her husband is still alive, when she left Ceylon under her stepson's rumors that she had killed her husband, and claiming to have lived in India to avoid having anyone make connections to her real past. He knows he should keep his distance, that he does not want to risk the same heartbreak he suffered all those years ago but he cannot stay away; cannot resist the temptation that Katie presents.

Katie and Aidan find themselves mutually unable to stay away from each other and soon they are going for walks and picnics and falling into the same pattern of courtship as when they were younger. It is not long before Aidan is looking towards the future and seriously contemplating a life with Katie even while thinking that she is married and while Katie herself protests that she does not want a future. Katie is terrified of the consequences; for herself if the murder charges ever come out and for him if he ever discovers the lies she has been telling him. They both allow themselves to imagine what life would be like if there was a future for them and they both realize that they made mistakes years ago and that they should have had more faith in each other. But when Kate's step-son shows up, claiming to be her husband, it throws both of them, and the legal system of England into disarray and Aidan worries that the hope he had been treasuring has been thrown away. Unlike when they were young they must trust in each other to work through anything to have the future they were always meant to share.

Katie was a rich, entitled little girl who fell in love with the wrong guy and whose very uptight father sold her to the highest bidder. She went through a lot in her life and I felt like the changes she underwent fit really well with what had happened to her. She was mature and responsible and I love that she took what life gave her and tried to use what had happened to make a life for herself by opening a coffee shop. She was obviously very intelligent and was not scared to stand up to people who were not giving her her due and I respected that. Aidan was wonderful because I love how he was so obviously in love with Katie and wasn't worried about risking scandal to ensure her happiness and wanted what was best for her even when he didn't have the entire truth. He took responsibility for what had happened when they were younger but also forced her to realize that she was also partly to blame and that they needed to work together to move past what had happened. He worked hard, he was handsome, and he protected what was his so really he was not the most original hero, but he worked.

Their relationship was not quite as developed as I would have liked and I felt like the book did rely on their past together and their memories than was warranted. They did spent time together, getting reacquainted and finding out how much they had each changed and coming to grips with what had happened and how their pasts had affected them. I felt like there was so little happiness in their interactions though because either he was bitter about the past or she was concerned with what would happen when her past in Ceylon caught up to her and it was kind of a downer. I also really did not like how she waited so long to tell him the truth because it just seemed like a very poor way to prolong the novel and was a misunderstanding that didn't have to be. I did enjoy how the villain of the story was not completely evil and his motives made him almost sympathetic but I just could not get over how awful Kate's entire family was and I would really have liked them to have some sort of comeuppance. The writing was fast, if not precisely fun and I found myself easily engrossed in the book.

Rating: Two characters I easily got a feel for but I cannot say I entirely enjoyed the romance or the development of their relationship.

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