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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on April 7, 2004
This was my 4th PW book read (Emma is still waiting) and the one that led me to find the earlier 2 out of print books. I was a bit concerned that earlier books often don't have the maturity or fully developed style but, even if without, they will still be good stories if they came from PW's romantic, meant-to-be, passionate heart.
I didn't notice Jessalyn's character being underdeveloped. If true, then the raw passion of McCady more than made up for it. Some of their scenes together just took my breath away, the emotion was so soul-wrenching. But then I have come to expect nothing less. I actually think this is one of her better books if it is even possible to grade PWs stories; they are all so beautiful.
I keep repeating myself on every PW book review. Just buy it; buy them all. A great passionate, grown up romance novel from a great writer. Her men are real men.
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on January 24, 2004
Penelope Williamson mixes romance and history in this novel set in Cornwall during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. McCady Trelawny, the novel's dark brooding hero, is the latest Earl of Caerhays. He is seemingly destined to self destruct, as did all his ancestors, though strong drink, gambling and other vices. Unlike his relatives, McCady's vice is an obsession to invent the first steam locomotive to run on rails. He has recently returned to England from fighting at Waterloo and the former captain, who made it through the war, almost blows himself up during a failed experiment with a small steam engine. A teenage girl, a wild child of the Cornish coast, destined to become a beautiful lady, attempts to rescue him but he rebuffs her assistance. Jessalyn Letty, who insists that McCady call her Miss Letty, is not easily deterred, however. And she is absolutely fascinated with the Earl, who she believes is a kindred soul. She contrives to meet him at fairs, along the beach, and occasionally ventures into his "laboratory," making a pest of herself. He, in turn, stops thinking of her as a child and begins to see her as the woman she will become.
Trelawny leaves Cornwall for a few years to serve in the military in the West Indies. When he returns, Jessalyn has turned into the lovely, sympathetic woman she promised to become, and is engaged to her childhood sweetheart, an acquaintance of Trelawny's. She loves this man, a wealthy banker, but only as a friend. Trelawny's reappearance on the scene convinces her that she must break her engagement.
"Once In A Blue Moon" takes some surprising twists and turns, with attempted murder, jealous rage, betrayal, sabotage, and a passionate love story, all set against the backdrop of getting that steam locomotive on the rails and running. I thoroughly enjoyed the story. It's an interesting light read. The steam locomotive part is based on historical fact. In 1804 a Cornishman made the 1st locomotive to run on rails and as early as 1801 Parliament had already passed an act establishing the principle of a public railway.
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on August 12, 2003
This book is touching and romantic in away the defy's explanation. It will make you cry and laugh and smile deep inside. It touched my heart in a way that no other book I have ever read has. The characters live in my mind long after I have finished. I have read well 4 to 5 romances a week for the last 27 years of my life and this one was by far the best.
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on February 18, 2002
While a well written book, it doesn't capture your heart the way that her other works do. The descriptions that I have read on this book really don't paint the correct picture of the story. While he was devoted to the steam locomotive, Ms. Williamson doesn't show how devoted he was or how he was torn between the woman and his dream. There's too much else going on for you to really get a handle on this relationship. Also, there was no depth to the female lead character. The story picks up five years later and she still seems to be the same naive and clumsy young girl at 21 that she was at 16. Heart of the West and The Outsider are by far Penelope Williamson's best work.
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on September 1, 2001
Wow, I love this author! I had read some of her more recent titles but by sheer luck I found this one at a used shop as it's no longer available through the publisher. I liked The Passions of Emma and the Outsider very much but this book was just sheer magic! None can write like Penelope Williamson, incredible passion and intense emotions that ring true with unforgettable characters are hallmarks of this author. Remarkable book.
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on June 11, 2001
I read this book for the first time when I was 14 yrs old. I was an exceptional reader at a young age. I absolutely fell in love with this story. I have read many Historical Romancesin my life time, and most have the same plot. You can almost always predict the story. I lose interest soon or never feel the need to re-read the story. This story captivated my heart and my mind. The plot has no equal. The story is so beautifully written that even the strongest of hearts finds themselves yearning for Jessalyn and her broken heart. The love created between the two characters is unmatched in any love story I have ever read (and I have been around the Historical Romance mill!) I recommend this story to everyone. It will have you crying, laughing and yearning for the love that comes Once in a Blue Moon!
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on August 31, 2000
I thought I would share with other readers my all time favorite romance. ONCE IN A BLUE MOON by Penelope Williamson is an unbelievable, magical love story. One that I have read more times than I can remember and each and every time I do, it blows me away! The story centers upon Jessalyn Letty and her love for McCady Trelawny. Since a young girl, she has been captivated by this fascinating man. Yet McCady's past is infamous for all of his ancestors have met an early and violent end. Every Trelawny has died in debt and in utter disgrace. The people of the Cornish moors speak of the infamous Trelawny men in shocked, scandalized whispers. All but Jessalyn. McCady is dark, extremely handsome with an aura of untamed danger. That aura of unpredictability and wildness draws her, captivating her until she falls completely in love with him. Dark fires drive McCady. He is desperate to escape his tarnished past and has a secret dream, one that could change the world. Jessalyn believes in McCady and in this dream, awakening within his hardened heart hope and a longing for this young, carefree girl. In a moment of heartfelt passion, Jessalyn declares her love. A love McCady fears to believe in. He leaves her with harsh words and goes off to fight in the West Indies. Five years have passed till they meet again. Jessalyn has grown into a very beautiful woman. McCady is still just as handsome but hardened. Gazing at him, all of the unrequited love she has tried to deny sweeps over her. She longs to tame this brooding man who has stolen her heart with effortless ease. Yet McCady is still tormented by his dark past and the dream society ridicules him for. A dream to build a steam locomotive . . . No matter how fiercely McCady tries to resist Jessalyn's powerful allure, he finds that his will is no match for the purity of her love. He falls and falls hard for this beautiful woman who so selflessly gives her love. Only when she makes the ultimate sacrifice, does he realize the absolute agony that will engulf him if he should ever lose her. ONCE IN A BLUE MOON is filled with intense emotions, sensual love scenes and proves that love is soooooooo magical! This is Penelope Williamson's best novel to date and one you should try. It will blow you away . . . . . .
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on July 2, 2000
The first time I read this book was when I first started to read romance. At the time I wasn't mature enough as a reader to recognize what a poignant, emotional story I had in my hands. Re-reading it again two years later made me realize that Penelope Williamson is one of the best writers of today. The story revolves around Jessalyn Letty and McCady Trelawny, two people whose passion is as wild as the cornish moors they love and as rare as a blue moon. It is unfortunate that they found this love at the wrong time in their lives for Jess is at sixteen too young and Mac is too tortured by a legacy of failures in his family. It is with Jess that Mac shares his dreams of railroad transportation and eventually his dreams becomes hers. Because neither of them come from fortune Mac must marry into it in order to fund his dreams, and though Jess is heartbroken she doesn't stop loving him. It seems that their love would be the star-crossed type and though we know that they will end up together at the end, I was worried that Williamson would do away with Mac's wife in an easy fashion, but she didn't. The events are all well written and believable and engaging. Williamson's characters not only say "I love," but also show it through actions. When Jessalyn sets out to save Mac from debtors prison, Williamson allows us to feel the bittersweet pain of giving up something that is cherished to save that which is loved. I understood the characters, I even understood the villian, and that is rare.
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on April 12, 2000
I've read MANY romance books so I don't say this lightly. Basically all romance books have the same plotlines and characters, but for some reason I keep turning back to this one. I think that the relationship between McCady and Jessica is the most gripping, emotional, interesting, and, well... romantic I've ever read about. I adore everything about this book (although I've had friends who've read it and said it's nothing special), but I think it will always be my #1. McCady is every woman's dream and Jessica could be every woman's best friend. I'm glad I can read it over and over!
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on January 3, 2000
This book was great, I loved Jessalyn and McCady. They went through so much to be together. I couldn't put this book down. You won't be disappointed. It touched my heart in so many ways that I will never forget this wonderful story.
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