by Jude Deveraux

November 2004
ISBN: 0-7434-7901-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Pocket Books
Mass Market Paperback

Jack has been brought in by unusual means to have a conference with his long-time friend, Greg. Jack is needed to find his estranged father, J. Barret Halbrooke, who was kidnapped six weeks ago and thought to be still alive and needed by the President. Jack is paired up with psychic, Darci Montgomery, who has been dubbed "The Hillbilly Honey" by the media. The media thinks she has done away with her husband Adam and his sister for the family fortune. Darci is on a quest to find them and clear her name, but still agrees to help Jack.

Jack and Darci set out on an adventure that sends them back in time to deal with a ghost that is trying to ruin Jack's present. They have to decide if tampering with the past can change things for the better in the present, or if some things are inevitable and occur for a reason that does not always make sense at the time. They have to deal with a whole cast of ghosts, shape-shifters and whether the soul lives on through time in reincarnation.

Always is the third book in a trilogy, but there is a great deal of reference to the occurrences and characters of the two previous books, so it could be read on its own. To get the full flavor of the plot and understand the characters' motivations better, I would suggest reading all three in order. This book is not a romance in the traditional sense. If you are looking for steamy love scenes, this is not the book for you. The emphasis is more on lasting love and a purer romantic love.

Ms. Deveraux has created a character whose intelligence matches her beauty in Darci. Darci has prospered against great odds and is courageous, which makes her most empathetic to the reader. You want to cheer her on as she struggles with giving up her "forever love" for the greater good.

Jack is a strong macho hero, but is a true gentleman with Darci. Perhaps some of it is because, not only is she still in love with her lost husband, but she is intimidating with her ability to communicate telepathically.

Although the plot is very complex and rather convoluted at times, Ms. Deveraux brings Darci and friends to a satisfying denouement. The reader must suspend disbelief and she will enjoy this story of the supernatural and the power of love.

Reviewed in October 2004 by Roberta.

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