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Always Mine    by Sophia Johnson order for
Always Mine
by Sophia Johnson
Order:  USA  Can
Zebra, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Lydia Hunter has been drawn to Blackthorn Castle for as long as she can remember. In particular, she's captivated by the image of Damron Alasdair Morgan, a laird of Clan Morgan who lived in the eleventh century. She's been enamored of him since she was a child and called him her Lord Demon, and that genuine emotional engagement with a man who lived so many centuries ago has never faded. Each year, she returns to Castle Blackthorn, and to the image of Damron. This year, she needs the comfort his portrait offers more than ever, after having suffered through a miserable divorce.

The shopkeeper at Blakthorn Castle knows Lydia, and approaches her with an old brooch she found recently. Immediately, Lydia has a vision of Damron pinning that brooch on her. Distraught and confused, she runs up the stone stairway where the remnants of Damron's rooms are located. She falls from the tower, and the next thing she knows, she's in the eleventh century, inhabiting the body of Lady Brianna, Damron's bride-to-be.

In Always Mine, Johnson pens a deeply emotional tale of true love that spans the ages. I was immediately drawn in by the powerful concept of soul mates, and found myself captivated by the characters from the first page. Lydia's complete and utter need for Damron is enthralling. She has no idea why she's drawn to him, yet it's clear that he's the only man she's ever truly loved. When they finally come together, so many obstacles stand in their way that it's almost impossible to believe in a happy ending, even if one seems inevitable giving the romance genre and the fact that Lydia and Damron are clearly meant for one another.

Some of the strongest scenes in the book stem from Lydia's modern-day opinions. In particular, her reluctance to be ordered around by a man, her need for Damron to be faithful to her and to cherish her in a truly romantic, passionate manner, and her dismay at the thought of returning to the 21st century and leaving her beloved behind. All those beliefs and fears are understandable, and they make the conflict between the main characters that much more believable.

Unfortunately, a subplot involving a jealous woman who would do anything to have Damron for herself feels tacked-on and unnecessary, given the wealth of obstacles already standing in Damron and Lydia's way. However, the relationship between the two main characters is so strong, that minor complaint can easily be overlooked. Overall, this is a sensual, lovely tale of romance across the ages.

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