Pocket Books, November 2004
Reviewer Sissy Jacobson
Darci Montgomery has always been ashamed of her special gifts. However, she uses them for the good when necessary. FBI agent Greg Ryerson admits to his best friend since childhood, secret agent Jack Ainsley, that he has used Darci’s talents in the past and is expecting her arrival at any minute to help with this special case. Jack’s estranged father, a very wealthy philanthropist, is missing and the President of the United States wants him found now.
Jack had been in an automobile accident that completely destroyed his face and almost claimed his life. After extensive plastic surgery, he is now a very handsome man who is not recognized by the people he knew before, except for Greg and Greg’s parents, employees of Jack’s father. Because Jack’s father had no time for Jack, the Ryersons raised him along with Greg. Jack believes his father thinks he died in the auto accident.
Jack does not believe in the paranormal and is sure Darci is pulling a fast one on Greg. When they are introduced, Jack develops an immediate intense, irrational hatred for Darci. He agrees to work with her to find his father, but he certainly doesn’t make it easy for them to work together. Darci, of course, knows that it is not Jack who hates her, but a jealous, evil female spirit who surrounds his body, keeping him from ever getting close to anyone but Greg.
Darci’s husband, Adam Montgomery, and his sister have been missing for quite sometime and even with the help of her special powers, something is blocking Darci from finding them. She has suspended her search for them to help the FBI look for Jack’s father.
ALWAYS by Jude Deveraux is the most convoluted, inane book I have ever read all the way through. For some reason I had to stay with the stories until the bitter end, otherwise it would have been a ‘wall-banger’. It’s as if Ms. Deveraux had a series of nightmares, wrote them all down, put them in a hat, drew one out at the time and put them together in book form. They are vignettes lasting anywhere from a couple of sentences, to a few paragraphs, to one or two chapters…all separate stories, strung together into a complete book. Darci and Jack time travel back to the nineteenth century where Jack inhabits the body of John Marshall, and immediately falls in love with John’s fiancée. Jack is perfectly content and feels at home here, but Darci has been stripped of her powers and fears she cannot get them back to their time. She not only has to worry about that, but also has to convince Jack to return with her. During this period, they meet strange characters whom Darci has to depend on to help her find a way to return.
The book talks about people that we haven’t a clue to who they are. Darci’s daughter and her niece, who also happens to be her half sister, I think, are mentioned but where are they while Darci is doing all this work and time-traveling? It seems that Darci’s father is married to Adam Montgomery’s sister. They have a child…Darci’s half-sister and niece…are you still with me? Where is Darci’s father?
The first chapter starts the confusion, and I stayed confused to the very unsatisfactory ending. The blurb on the back of the book has Jack with the last name of Rose. He identifies himself as Jack Ainsley, FBI, in one place, and his father’s last name is something altogether different. Plus Jack’s real first name is John.
Normally when we read a book that is part of a series, the author gives enough information to clue us to what has happened before…not this time. This definitely is not a stand-alone book. I finally figured out it must be part of a series when people whom I didn’t know kept being referred to. But after saying all this negative stuff about the story (or stories), I kept reading, wanting to know what happened next. If you are a Jude Devereaux fan and have followed this series, then go for it. If you are like I am, a long ago fan of the historical Montgomery clan, then you will be disappointed. The only other contemporary novel I’ve read by Ms. Devereaux was THE MULBERRY TREE, and that wasn’t a sparkling tribute to her earlier writing either.
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