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In Your Arms Again (Avon Historical Romance) [Mass Market Paperback]

Kathryn Smith

Price: 3.53 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Former friends & one time lovers are brought together again 10 Sep 2004
By Rhonda - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
North Sheffield, a former Bow Street Runner and now successful private investigator, is hired by Lord Spinton to find out who is sending unwanted letters of adoration to his intended. North is more than interested in this case, especially since Lord Spinton's intended is none other than Lady Octavia Vaux-Daventry - North's friend and one time lover! While as first hesitant to accept the case given his personal involvement with Octavia, he eventually accepts Lord Spinton's persistent requests as he could not explain the conflict of interest without divulging the secret of his past with Octavia. Once involved with the case, North begins to recall what he loved about Octavia so much and also the reasons - both personal and societal - why he can never be with her again. He cannot believe that he hid these memories and feelings for all those years. Yet, she has a good life to look forward to with Spinton, and he knows he could not ever give her that.

Octavia is more than surprised to see North Sheffield brought back into her life by none other than the man who is trying to woo her into marriage. Yet she is glad to see North again, and his presence in her life makes the fact that she would only be marrying Lord Spinton for convenience all the more bitter. As much as Octavia remembers her times with North fondly, society and family see things another way, and Octavia must do what is right. What is expected of her.

As the letters to Octavia become more insistent, North devises a brazen plan to try and draw the secret admirer into tipping his hand - North pretends to also court Lady Octavia for her hand in marriage! This plan will also allow North to see more of Octavia, as he is very much aware. As the two former friends spend more time together, the strong feelings from the past come to the surface and result in some very heated moments between North and Octavia. Yet both know they cannot continue the charade - it cannot go any further. But their feelings for one another cannot be denied further. They both realize that any possible future they may have is complicated by what each other brings to the relationship: Octavia's need to fulfill her obligations to family and societal expectations, and North's dangerous past in the criminal underbelly of London. Somehow, these obstacles need to be overcome before they can be truly together again.

Ms. Smith brings together a strong cast of characters in this novel, the second in the Ryland Brothers series. North is a dark and dangerous man, observing and protecting London's ton from the seedier aspects of the city. He has trapped away his feelings and emotions, as they are a weakness in his profession that only lead to trouble. Yet his feelings for Lady Octavia will not be held back any longer, and trouble is not far away. Octavia is a woman trying to do the right thing - even if it is the wrong thing for her. Ms. Smith is very astute in capturing the true societal norms of this period in history. Octavia's feelings of obligation, duty, and place were put upon every person in society from the poor to the elite. Yet it was often the women who bore the brunt of this burden. Reading this book and experiencing Octavia's journey through these emotions was heart wrenching at times but knowing that she finally makes the right decision for herself despite the penalties that ensue is pure bliss. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who wants to read a great story of getting a second chance - and taking it despite the risks.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying, though at times dragging, historical romance 8 Sep 2005
By TheSchemer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As children, North Sheffield-Ryland and Octavia Vaux-Daventry shared a unique background -- each is the child of an actress and a nobleman -- but with one difference. Octavia's parents married while North's did not. Growing up together in the backstages of Covent Garden, North and Octavia shared their dreams and hopes for the future. He dreamed of acceptance in his father's world, while she yearned for a secure future. But just as their childhood camaderie turned to something deeper, Octavia's grandfather, Lord Spinton, decided to acknowledge his granddaughter. To ensure her acceptance in her grandfather's world, North relinquished all contact with his "Vie."

Turning his back on the world that won't accept him, North begins a career in law enforcement. Twelve years later, he has made a name for himself, first as a Bow Street Runner, then with his own investigative firm. The society that he once dreamed of joining now welcomes him with open arms. During an investigation at a ton party, North encounters Octavia again.

For the past dozen years, Octavia has tried to mold herself into the lady her grandfather envisioned. Hiding her true self behind a practiced demeanor, she has yet to bring herself to fulfill her grandfather's last request: to marry the new Lord Spinton. Adding to Octavia's doubts is her reaction to seeing her beloved "Norrie" again. When her would-be fiancé asks North to investigate some mysterious letters Octavia is receiving, both believe it is their chance to finally lay their past to rest and say their final farewells. But can a love that has survived a dozen years apart really end?

The second in Kathryn Smith's series about the intriguing Ryland brothers, IN YOUR ARMS AGAIN is a poignant love story driven by the internal conflict of the main characters. North is a noble, strong-willed hero with one flaw -- his inability to envision a future with the woman he loves. Octavia is a vibrant, passionate woman slowly suffocating under the weight of everyone's expectations. While their situation is poignant and heartfelt, it seems to drag on just a tad too long. Several secondary characters add depth and a sometimes welcome diversion, especially the rest of the Ryland siblings, whose stories I can't wait to read. Emotional and lushly romantic, IN YOUR ARMS AGAIN should satisfy fans of historical romance everywhere.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Enough 30 Jan 2007
By msbooklady - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lady Octavie (Vie) was raised with her actress mother who took protectors to support the two of them after her father dies. When her mother also passes away, Vie is taken in by her aristocratic grandfather who makes her promise to never tell anyone of her background. He also makes her promise to marry her distant cousin, Spinton in order to ensure her passage into the aristocracy. Her grandfather disinhereted her father after he married an actress, but now Vie is all he has. When her grandfather dies, Vie inherits his home and although they have not been officially bethrothed Vie knows she will marry Spinton as she keeps her promises. However, her heart still belongs to North (Norrie)Sheffield,who was her childhood friend and first lover and the bastard son of Lord Reyland.

North Sheffield is shocked when Vie's soon to be fiance Spinton hires him to find out who has been sending her anonymous love letters. The letters seem non-threatening but one of the letters advises that the writer knows Vie's secret. North is currently involved in a case that involves tracking down a vindictive murderer and he fears that if his former relationship with Vie is discovered she will be rejected by society or worse hurt by one of the criminals he is tracking.

When North and Vie meet again after years apart it is like they never left one another. They are each other's best friend and would do anything for one another. Soon they resume their sexual relationship although they both know they can never be together. Will they let society get in their way or go for what their hearts want?

I was kind of disappointed in the heroine Octavia (Vie). She is rather selfish in insisting that she fulfil her promises to the dead that she is willing to hurt three people to make herself feel noble. Her intended Spinton and her cousin Beatrice are in love, but Spinton will follow through with his promise to marry Vie unless she releases him from the bargain. Also, she is sending a message to Norrie that he's not good enough to marry, only to sleep with. The hero North is kind of stubborn also, but at least he is pushing Vie away because he fears she will be hurt by the criminals he is chasing. His motives are the only real noble ones here, but Vie wants to have her cake and eat it too...sleep with Norrie and marry Spinton. Still it is a passionate story and not really bad. I just didn't like Vie.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable part of the Ryland brothers series 14 Jun 2005
By S. Reader - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While this may not be Ms. Smith's strongest book, I liked it. I enjoy character studies, so if you don't, you may have problems with this. I enjoyed the childhood sweethearts aspect very much; it was so obvious they belonged together. What a wonderful relationship they have. The book also provides more insight into the unmarried brothers, especially Brahm.

On the negative side, North's and Octavia's reasons (especially his) for not pursuing a relationship (or even acknowledging a friendship) became old and weak. It was not, perhaps, the most compelling books in terms of its suspense. But I felt that the strong emotional pull and chemistry between the characters overshadowed these negatives.

If I had the ability to give portions of stars, I'd rate it at 3.8, but that may only be because I just finished In the Night, which I LOVED. So I'm giving In Your Arms Again a solid 4 stars. I might have rated it higher than four if I'd reviewed it before reading the next entry. I think this is a solid link in the series, one that helps build the whole into something truly wonderful.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid entry to Ryland Brothers series 10 Mar 2006
By M. Rondeau - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
North Sheffield-Ryland was the illegitimate son of Viscount Creed. After his mother passed, he was brought to live with his father's three other legitimate sons, his half-brothers. Try as he might he was never fully accepted by society so he diverted his energies into becoming a highly sought after private investigator. In cleaning up dirty little secrets of the ton he gained an acceptance and gratitude that he no longer desired.

Based on his reputation, the Earl of Spinton came to him asking for an investigation into disturbing letters his fiancé had been receiving. North knew the man's fiancé, Lady Octavia Vaux-Daventry. Octavia had been his childhood best friend and love whom he'd been forced to give up twelve years ago when her wealthy grandfather came into her life and claimed her as his heir. Convincing North that `he wasn't good enough' for the granddaughter of an earl.

Octavia, had resolved herself to keeping the promises made to her mother and grandfather of becoming a lady and marrying Earl Spinton a man she didn't love. Thrown together to smoke out and unmask the author of the letters the passions of their youth were re-kindled with a vengeance. As he worked to expose the blackmailer, another more dangerous enemy emerged. North would be willing to do what ever he had to in order to keep Octavia safe and back in his arms again.

*** I've been impressed with this authors ability in crafting well-written, adventuresome and sensual novels while thoroughly enjoying her Ryland brother series. Smith excels in creating strong, yet complex characters in her stories. She puts an edge on North, the dangerous but somewhat tortured hero, and creates empathy for Octavia who so wants to make good on her promises, even at the expense of her own happiness. Her writing is smooth, she establishes a nice intrigue, and the romance is lovely and sensual. While not my favorite Ryland book, I can still recommend it for those like me that tend to follow a well-done series!
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