Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Historical Romance Review: It's Always Been You by Victoria Dahl

I've been a fan of Victorian-era romance for quite some time, and I've heard many good things about Victoria Dahl's books, so I was eager to read her latest release, It's Always Been You, the second book in her York Family series--and I am eager now to read the first book.



Aidan York has spent ten years mourning the woman he once loved and lost. He's filled the void in the only way he knows—by distracting himself with wild behavior and scandalous trysts. It's a hollow existence, but it dulls the pain. Until the day he encounters a ghost: the woman he thought drowned at sea, alive and as enchanting as ever.


When Kate Hamilton sees the man she once hoped to spend her life with, she is hit with a storm of memories and longing. But though resisting Aidan's passion proves impossible, Kate must try not to love him all over again. For her seemingly quiet London life shields a dangerous secret, one that will catch up to her the moment she lets herself fall. . .

ISBN: 978-1-4201-0484-4

Pub Date: August 2, 2011
Imprint : Zebra, Paperback
This book was fast paced, and started right where it should have, an action filled scene. The author has built a complex, detailed back-story for the characters which are revealed throughout the book (and at some points a little too slow, as I found I was getting confused.) It was a great unfolding, and kept me turning the pages to find out what happened to both Kate and Aidan.

Sensual love scenes that were unique to the characters and I felt moved the story along.

I liked that the majority of the setting was not in London. This makes the book unique and I also liked that the characters were not your typical Lord and Lady. Kate has a dark past. She's running a coffee shop, poor, hard working. Ms. Dahl obviously did her research on coffee. Aidan is also a man of business and has to build his own fortune. His wealth wasn't handed to him on a platter. I was easily engaged in the story, and the author elicited emotions from me for sure. I certainly wanted to strangle the h/h at points, hug them, laugh with them.

The secondary characters were also fun. I enjoyed both Lucy and Mr. Penrose. I also liked the small romance that went on between them.

The dialogue was excellent! Ms. Dahl really can write witty, engaging and entertaining dialogue. Additionally, you actually see these characters grow and change throughout the story.

One teensy weensy nit-picky thing... And normally if used only once I wouldn't bring it up, but it was used several times: Bullocks.  In the book it referred to a man's testicles, as in "with my bullocks intact," "located your bullocks" and it was also used as a curse word.  The problem is, "bullock" refers to either a castrated male bovine or a young bull.  When referring to a male's anatomy or for a curse, it is "bollocks" or "ballocks".  I've actually seen this mistake dozens of times. The reason most likely is spellcheck does not recognize "ballocks" or "bollocks" and changes it to "bullocks" and unless you are anal like me, you probably won't even notice.  In any case, it doesn't detract from the story, and I really like it when authors use period curses in their writing, it makes it more authentic.

I will definitely read more of Victoria Dahl's work.

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