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book cover Limecello’s review of Always by Lauren Dane
Contemporary romance released by Samhain 14 Apr 09

I had been looking for a simple romantic contemporary story. I wanted to read about a guy and a girl falling in love, and only about that. No secret mafia wars, no exploding bombs, no secret family curses or vampires, werewolves, or were-anything. That’s exactly what Always offered, and I really enjoyed it. Caitlin and Eamon are extremely likable characters.

Caitlin Moore is a great heroine. She’s 26 years old, and when the book begins, finishing up the first half of her year as a 2L, which is a second year law student. She lives in Seattle, and runs into Eamon at a club. They met in Ireland a few years ago, when she worked at his father’s pub for a summer during college. Caitlin has had an interesting life. While growing up with a privileged childhood, she was emotionally impoverished. Her parents aren’t the warm and loving type, and she also had a bad experience with her ex-fiance, which put her life on hold. However, all of that really caused Caitlin to become who she is today. Caitlin knows what she wants, and knows how to get it. She’s not pushy or overbearing, but she doesn’t let others control her or negatively influence her. She’s extremely capable, and satisfyingly independent.

Eamon Blake is a photographer who moved to LA for his career, and to be closer to his brother and sister-in-law. He’s charming, a lot of fun, and very career oriented. I liked that he had a sense of humor, and a close relationship with his family. It’s nice to see a hero who already has experienced real and fulfilling interpersonal relationships. It’s also nice that he’s so into Caitlin. Although Eamon is in no way static or incomplete, he does cede the stage to Caitlin.

I really liked that Caitlin and Eamon had history, even though it was just as fuck buddies. They had their summer fling of food and fun, and they were done. Caitlin went back home to the states, and Eamon stayed in Ireland. They left with no strings and no regrets, knowing their affair was only temporary. However, a chance meeting at a club in Seattle brings them together again, and this time, feelings begin to develop. And now, we come to the part that I really enjoyed. The realistic development of the relationship between Caitlin and Eamon.

Yes, they have really hot sex. A lot of really hot sex. And through that, both of them start to realize that they’re developing feelings for the other. But more than that, they speak to each other daily. Over the phone, internet, video chat, and remain um… intimate that way as well. It’s cute. They visit each other a few times a year, and it helps develop the relationship because Caitlin and Eamon are able to interact with the other’s friends. I think the interaction between mutual really helps develop and legitimize the relationship. (As an aside, I really liked how both Caitlin and Eamon had their own friends and personalities outside of just each other. And I must add, that I really liked all of the secondary characters.)

I felt that the tension between the relationship was extremely realistic, and legitimate. Both of the characters had their own hang ups to overcome, and Ms. Dane treated them respectfully and perfectly. I could understand and accept what motivated the characters and the actions that they took. In fact, I think all the events that happened were exactly as they should have occurred. Nothing was easy, but at the same time, nothing ridiculous. No missing someone by seconds to delay events, or drag on the story.

My only issues were that I felt like there might need to be a little bit more to this book. while I really enjoyed the story, I wasn’t gripped by it. I will say, however, that I didn’t really have a problem with, or notice a number of the dialogue issues that usually jump out at me with Ms. Dane’s writing. The characters still use dialogue for emotion (it’s hard to explain) – but it worked much better here. Always is a great story that follows the relationship of two unique and fun characters. I really liked that the relationship slowly developed over 1-2 years, which really adds credibility to the story. I definitely recommend Always to anyone looking for a great read that is a straight contemporary romance.

LimecelloGrade: B

Sometimes you have to go more than halfway to meet in the middle.
Caitlin Moore has every reason to celebrate. She’s through with law-school finals, and out for some post-semester fun when she runs smack dab into Eamon Blake, the Irishman with whom she had a summer fling years ago. Time hasn’t dimmed their lingering friendship—or their sexual chemistry.
Eamon isn’t looking for love when he bumps into Cat while he’s in Seattle on a job. Yet over the next year, he finds himself involved in a rekindled long-distance romance that moves from casual to a lot more.
That’s the rub. Cat is determined not to repeat her past mistakes with men and give up the dream job for which she’s worked so hard. Independence is something she’s spent years achieving. Eamon can start over so much easier than she can—why shouldn’t he make the sacrifice this time?
But Eamon doesn’t much relish leaving the life he’s been building in Los Angeles—and he really doesn’t like ultimatums. At an impasse, goodbye seems the only direction to go. Ending it is the right thing to do…or the biggest mistake they ever made.
Read an excerpt here.