Once & Always is my second favourite book written by Judith McNaught. I like both the hero and heroin in this book, Jason Fielding and Victoria Seaton; and I can go so far as to say that Victoria is my favourite character as well.
Of all the heroes in McNaught's regency novels, Jason has the darkest past. I mean really, you will feeeeeeel for him. No one could have survived what he's been through without going mental!
When we first met Jason, we saw that he had an unfaithful wife who despises him. They had a son whom Jason loved very much. One night, she ran away with her lover on a ship bound for Barbados and took their young son along. She intended to use him as a pawn to ransom more money from Jason. But alas, the ship sank and all of them were killed.
Jason was away on business and he only found out about it a few days later when he came back home. He was crushed but he couldn't cry.
As a child, he was brutally tortured by his adopted parents. They were missionaries to India and used him as an example of evil by calling him 'the product of evil' because he was a bastard son to some one and such. He's then forced to kiss the helm of those gatherers dirty robes to ask for forgiveness. Poor boy.
Because of these experiences, Jason was afraid or possibly has an inability to love and be loved. However, according to the sailor man who rescued him as a child and was more like a father to him, once Jason love, it will be for always. Le sigh.
As for Victoria, she is my favourite because she doesn't make me want to shout obscenities at her while reading through this story. Many romance heroins do; plainly for their cluelessness, inability to see the whole picture and disloyalty. In essence, one without brain or logic :p
Tory on the other hand, is smart, willful, independent and loyal. I like my heroin this way, but most often than not, the heroins in romance novels are airheads. Tsk tsk!
Head over to Rip My Bodice for a brilliant review on this book here.