The Incomparable Judith McNaught

judith

The Amazing Judith McNaught

The first romance novel I ever read was by Judith McNaught. It was a life changing moment in my life as I had never been so moved or captivated by a book. In the days before Amazon and big box book stores, I would scour every shelf at relative’s houses and second hand book stores for copies of her work. She writes enchanting stories that have you laugh, cry, smile and sigh. To me she is the benchmark that I measure all romance novels that I read. Strong characters, beautiful imagery and plotlines that is sweeping and all encompassing.

For the past ten years, she has not published a book. To say that this is a disappointment is an understatement. She has many fan pages on the internet, twitter and Facebook full of avid readers who still linger over plot lines and share favourite characters. Who knows if she will release another book again, but I thought I would share my favourite works by this author and maybe you’ll find one that makes your top ten book list.

Whitney My Love
whitney
Overview by Amazon:
One of today’s best-loved authors, Judith McNaught launched her stellar career with this dazzling bestseller. Now in a special edition that features a brand-new, enhanced ending and endows familiar characters with new depth, Whitney, My Love lives on as “the ultimate love story, one you can dream about forever” (Romantic Times).
Under the dark, languorous eyes of Clayton Westmoreland, the Duke of Claymore, Whitney Stone grew from a saucy hoyden into a ravishingly sensual woman. Fresh from her triumphs in Paris society, she returned to England to win the heart of Paul, her childhood love…only to be bargained away by her bankrupt father to the handsome, arrogant Duke. Outraged, she defies her new lord. But even as his smoldering passion seduces her into a gathering storm of desire, Whitney cannot — will not — relinquish her dream of perfect love.

Why you will love this book:
Whitney is the most headstrong and captivating character. She is like a horse that has yet to be tamed. She longs for passion, freedom and adventure. She doesn’t see that Clayton is the key to all that she needs and she fights him. Every time they spar it is like a spark igniting the page. These two characters are so perfect together. He is the model for most romantic heroes and the depth of his character is well developed. What I loved so much about this book is that there is not the perfect resolution. These characters fight and hurt each other deeply. Their triumph together is the result of deeper inner reflections and humbling moments. The passion they have together is fiery and the images linger with you for days. Whitney and Clayton are the perfect couple and I adored the merry chase McNaught sends the reader on as they learn to love and trust one another.

Almost Heaven
almost heaven

Synopsis by Amazon:
ELIZABETH CAMERON
The Countess of Havenhurst possessed a rare gentleness and fierce courage to match her exquisite beauty. But her reputation is shattered when she is discovered in the arms of Ian Thornton, a notorious gambler and social outcast.
IAN THORNTON
A dangerously handsome man of secret wealth and mysterious lineage, his voyage to Elizabeth’s heart is fraught with intrigue, scandal, and a venomous revenge.
Destined for each other, yet wary of each other’s motives, Elizabeth and Ian engage in a dance of suspicion and passion that tests the very soul of their star-crossed love. As a twisting path of secrets takes them from London’s drawing rooms to the mysterious Scottish Highlands, Elizabeth must learn the truth: is Ian merely a ruthless fortune hunter at heart?

Why you will love this book:

The story of Ian and Elizabeth is the first romance novel I have ever read. Like most McNaught books, they meet, fall in lust, are torn apart and must overcome insurmountable odds to be together. But then something dastardly happens and that fragile trust and love is tested until it bends. Ian is the most perfect (and imperfect) hero. He is so captivating and sure of himself. I adored reading about him and how he views the world he lives in. Elizabeth is a gently guarded young woman who is naïve in the ways of society, but realistic about the world. She is to be sold on the marriage mart in order to save her beloved family home Havenhurst. Ian is a mere mister and therefore rejected. Though they steal away for a passionate tryst, she is ruined. They separate only to be reunited a few years later and must put past hurts and anger aside to admit that neither has forgotten what could have been. They are not safe together as the passion they have for each other would have them making reckless decisions again. The plot and secondary characters are so well developed, that you will hold your breath as the drama unfolds and Ian and Elizabeth face the demons that drove them together and apart. It’s not a total happy ending as they are tested again by a wedge that drives them apart. This is how McNaught captures your emotions as deeply as you want to weep at the situations and the way the characters handle what life throws their way. This epic love story is number one on my list and I re-read it every year to remind myself that such truly amazing words can make me feel so alive.

A Kingdom of Dreams
kingdom of dreams

Synopsis by Amazon:
Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as “The Wolf,” his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will—until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web…a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.

Why you will love this book:
I measure all medieval books I read up against this one. It’s up there with the Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss as one of the best of the genre. Royce is a fierce warrior who kidnaps Jenny and her sister. Although he is frightening and scary, he treats Jenny well. He is shocked at his captive and the beauty she is. He lusts after her and wants her with all his body and soul. She scorns him and so the game begins. The cat and mouse chase that McNaught creates is alluring, fun and romantic. You want Jenny to end up in his arms. You want Royce to win his political battles. But one will have to lose for the other to win. This is why the author is so amazing. She makes you long and pine for the situation and how tenuous their time together is. Jenny is such a fun character in many ways; she tricks Royce and causes so much trouble. Royce is the vision I have of a man wielding a claymore and the archetypical warrior on a destier. This romance story is not just about a captive woman and a warrior; it’s about families divided, war and the ultimate sacrifice for love. A wonderful, wonderful story.

Something Wonderful
something wonderful

Synopsis by Amazon:
The tempestuous marriage of Alexandra Lawrence, an innocent country girl, and Jordan Townsende, the rich and powerful Duke of Hawthorne, is about to face its ultimate test of tender loyalty. Swept into the endlessly fascinating world of London society, free-spirited Alexandra becomes ensnared in a tangled web of jealousy and revenge, stormy pride and overwhelming passion. But behind her husband’s cold, arrogant mask, there lives a tender, vital, sensual man…the man Alexandra married. Now, she will fight for his very life…and the rapturous bond they alone can share.

Why you will love this book:
A child bride, a young man who abandons his bride – not an auspicious start to a romance novel, but this is one of her best. Jordan marries young Alexandra to avoid scandal and then leaves England and presumed dead. In his absence, Alex has blossomed into the darling of the ton. She is a rich, titled widow and she can do as she pleases. She gambles, swears, dances all night and loves every minute of it, especially since she knows that the man she married thought of her as an inconvenience and didn’t want her. But, he returns and is NOT pleased to find out that his mouse of a wife is the raving beauty in front of him. The raving beauty that is furious that he is not dead. The story is about how the two of them battle their way back together. Jordan tries high handed tactics, he tries wooing her, and he tries seduction all with the intention of winning the love of his wife. Once again, with McNaught they reconcile only to have another evil plot tear them apart and their very lives are at stake. This story is full of fun, passion and adventure. I adored the spirit of Alex and the cool arrogance of Jordan. A perfect match once they overcome their demons.

Every Breath You Take
everybreath you take
Synopsis by Amazon:
Unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and riveting suspense: These are the trademarks of beloved author Judith McNaught. With millions of devoted fans and ten New York Times bestsellers to date, McNaught is a writer whose work just gets better with each new novel–and Every Breath You Take is the book readers have been waiting for. Returning to the lavish Chicago setting of her popular novel Paradise, and revisiting some of that book’s characters as well, this story will captivate in inimitable Judith McNaught style.
High atop a snow-covered hill, the stately old Wyatt mansion is perched like a crown, its stone spires pointing upward, its stained glass windows glowing like colorful jewels. Such opulence means success and, surely, happiness. But on the eve of wealthy philanthropist Cecil Wyatt’s eightieth birthday, all the money in the world won’t bring back his missing grandson, William Wyatt. The only thing for certain: Foul play was involved.
The family, the police, and the media–all have tried in vain to discover the young man’s fate. Now suspicion has turned shockingly toward William’s own half-brother, the rather distant and enigmatic Mitchell Wyatt.
Kate Donovan never dreamed that a chance romantic encounter on a tropical island paradise would tag her as a suspect in a high-society murder case. But after Kate tangles with the darkly charismatic Mitchell Wyatt, she finds herself cast in a shadow of guilt and mistrust. As the Chicago police tighten their net, it will take all of Kate’s ingenuity to clear her name. With her calm, cool wit, and the help of a man who may or may not be a dangerous catch, Kate vows to claim the life and love she desires.

Why you will love this book:
Judith McNaught has written many historical romance novels, but her contemporary ones are just as great. This book is a similar recipe to her historical ones. A couple meet, lust overcomes them and they spend time together building something special. Only fate takes its opportunity and they are separated and lust turns to hate. Three years later, both Kate and Mitchell have moved on with their lives. They are both doing well and have no intention of reconnecting except an emergency forces them together. Mitchell finds out that he is a father and that Kate hid the child from him. I felt like Mitchell was Royce about to wield his claymore in anger and agony at the turn of events in his life. The twists and turns of this story make you root for this family to find one another again and to be whole. Mitchell is a hot billionaire and he’s definitely an alpha male. Kate is a fiery Irish woman who plans to live her life exactly as she wants. The reconciliation of the two is so heart wrenching that McNaught manages to get tears and hope bubbling up inside the reader. This book is amazing. A story that makes you frantically read each page to find out what happens next!

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17 thoughts on “The Incomparable Judith McNaught”

  1. Whitney, My Love was the book that first introduced me to Historical Romance. I am so disappointed that Judith McNaught has not written any books for so many years.

      1. According to a post on her FB page dated 25th June 2013 she was working on a Westmoreland trilogy featuring the modern-day American descendants of the Westmoreland Dynasty. The last post on her FB was 6th March 2014. So when those books will surface is anyone’s guess!

  2. After reading this, I’m really looking forward to reading Whitney, My Love now. 🙂

    I’ve tried reading her contemporary romance novel, Paradise, but I put in on hold because it was too long for me.

      1. Oh sure! Though I think I still have to wait a lot of time to read it since I’m planning to buy a paperback of that book. If it’s even possible here. I guess I’ll just have to acquire an ebook. Again. *sighs*

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