It's Always Been You (Zebra Historical Romance) Mass Market Paperback – 31 Aug 2011
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Kate Hamilton isn't dead. Her parents told Aidan that she was to her dismay. She never forgets Aidan although she moved on and married an older man, taking care of his plantation and learning about coffee beans. Kate is now back in England and has started her own coffee shop. When Aidan walks into her shop, she is just as shocked as he is. He wants answers, which she's not willing to give because of a dark secret she's hiding. She a widow in truth, although she lets the world think she's still married. Aidan figures out she's keeping something from him, but he doesn't want to lose her by forcing her to tell him. Instead he asks to be her friend, which she accepts. But their passion for one another can't be denied and soon they're having an illicit affair. Aidan wants Katie as his wife and for her to divorce her husband. Katie refuses. She thinks she's just one of many women Aidan has seduced. And then someone from Kate's past arrives in London claiming to be Mr. Hamilton, who can ruin all of Katie's plans and freedom. Aidan won't let Katie go without a fight even if it means her own downfall and possibly life in prison for murdering her actual husband.
It's Always Been You is a passionate romance about former lovers reuniting. Both Kate and Aidan love each other deeply, but I felt the reasons for their separation weak, including the mystery surrounding Kate and her marriage. I also found the love scenes pretty mundane, which may be my own problem because I expect so much more when it comes to a Victoria Dahl romance. This is a pretty run of the mill historical romance that may be soon forgotten once you finish reading. Overall a ho-um and at times tepid reading, but otherwise should give readers a few hours of enjoyment, but nothing more.
Historical Romance -Aug. 2nd, 2011
3 ½ stars
This is a realistic historical about love lost and second chances.
Aidan is haunted by his past. Although he is now wealthy and successful he mourns the lost of his first love and he is ashamed of his wild behavior after her death. But while on the streets England he spies a woman that looks eerily familiar and follows her. Only to discover to his shock it is his lost love Katie! However, she is married. But Aidan isn't going let a little thing like marriage get in the way of what he wants!
Katie is fleeing her past and hoping for a bright future in her coffee store. But her newfound peacefulness is shattered by her first love. A man who never came for her and caused her life untold misery. Although she is still attracted to Aidan she is determined to forget those memories and keep him out of her life. But will she be able to keep her resolve or will their past keep them apart yet again?
This story made me wish that these two characters had been able to marry when they were young. There is a feeling of sadness for the time they lost when they were cruelly separated. It is a well-written story, but for some reason I was never quite able to become fully engaged in the main characters as much as I hoped. I liked how the author demonstrates how fragile a woman's position in society was and in many cases they had no power over themselves. I especially liked how she demonstrated how woman were easily threatened in the male dominated society such that it `diminished' their dreams and spirits. But she also shows the strength that woman have to recover. The story also has some drama that includes Katie's missing years that seemed a bit tacked on to add tension to the story.
A strong and enduring heroine and a thoughtful story make for an original read.
Reviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club
But wait! That's not all! Heroine Kate Hamilton takes the TSTL syndrome to whole new levels, much to the frustration of this reader. In the "Who's-the-Most-Annoying-Character-Ever-in-Romanceland" competition, the heroine has the hero beat by a mile.
OK, now to a bit of story. Aidan and Kate were young lovers 10 years ago. Star-crossed, they were separated by Kate's father. Kate was sent to Ceylon to marry a rather unpleasant but wealthy plantation owner. Aidan was told that Kate died en route while Kate believed that Aidan no longer wanted her because he made no effort to find her or get in contact with her again.
10 years later, Kate is back in England in a small town where she has a coffee shop. Aidan is there on business and accidentally spots her. Now, it seems pretty straight-forward, right? He should say to her "I thought you were dead and grieved mightily for you" and she should say "I thought you no longer cared about me and left me to my horrible fate in Ceylon". Then they should fall into each other's arms and live HEA. But no. We have to have a book full of misunderstanding, miscommunication and less than full disclosure about anything.
Kate has secrets about her life in Ceylon which are revealed to us in dribs and drabs and Aidan has spent 10 years feeling sorry for himself and living a somewhat dissolute life (albeit working hard at the same time and making piles of money). (BTW, an aside for those readers who like connections to other books by the same author: Hero Aidan is brother to Marissa, heroine of Dahl's A LITTLE BIT WILD.) Anyway, eventually things get worked out, the heroine's Ceylon problems are resolved, and we finally get our HEA.
I would recommend this book only to those who have a high tolerance for misunderstanding and miscommunication in a romance. Dahl has written better historical romances than this one and her contemporary romances are pretty good. I prefer them to her historicals.
God, this book was a frustration.
I just had a hard time being drawn in for the fist half of the story. The premise was difficult to start with, not because it was unbelievable - I'm excellent as suspending belief - but because it was heartbreaking. It's hard when you start off with the heartbreak without getting attached to the characters first. I think that that held my emotions back from getting fully engaged for a long time. Add to that the fact that while Aiden was pretty well done, Kate was less appealing, though it's hard to put my finger on why, exactly.
About two thirds of the way through, a dramatic separation of hero and heroine occurs, and here the author quite stabs the reader in the heart. This part was pretty well written, but so painful, and at this point I just wanted to steam through the book and be done with it.
Next Kate proceeds to act like an imbecile. Even as she is vowing to make better choices, she puts them off for no discernible reason other than to stretch the plot out. Respect for and attachment to the heroine receive a death blow.
Commence with the ridiculously easy resolution that provides little satisfaction and that even I found unbelievable.
Top it off with the tidy wrap-up ending and another flaming bit of idiocy (not to worry, we'll just tell everyone she's some different Kate, even though Aiden's mom couldn't hold a secret to save her life!) and there you have it.
If you're trying Dahl for the first time, I suggest you put this one off and start with the story that came before this one, A Little Bit Wild or one of her contemporaries, like Talk Me Down.
I wasn't sorry.
For one thing, through the first 70% of the book, Aiden and Kate **are** together. The book begins AT their reunion, and a beautiful one it is (taking into account a day or so of shock - he thought her dead!) Not a spoiler, you learn it in the first pages. No, Kate does not trust him with her secrets immediately, but it's not like her distrust makes no sense. After all she has been through, she wouldn't be ready to spill them at once. Life has not been kind to her. Aiden, too, was keeping some secrets - and believe me, I wouldn't have told Kate those either. Of course, just at the point when Kate is ready to trust again, the plot explodes and prevents it... for a bit, at least. But of course, we are guaranteed our HEA.
This was a book about choices, but it was not a book of particular sorrow and regret. It was a book about a woman who had lived a hard life but was determined to find happiness, and a man who'd lost his self-respect but then found his heart. His heart was Kate, and it was missing as long as she was. When he had her back again, we get to experience his joy with him. Ms. Dahl wrote Aiden marvelously and Kate sympathetically.
I loved it.