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Every Breath You Take    by Judith McNaught order for
Every Breath You Take
by Judith McNaught
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2006 (2005)
Hardcover, Softcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

If you enjoy reading about larger than life characters in larger than life situations, with romantic encounters that sizzle, then Judith McNaught is one of the best, and she delivers once again in Every Breath You Take, the perfect beach read if it were only summertime. Mitchell Wyatt was raised in obscurity, unaware of his relationship to the most illustrious (and wealthy) family in Chicago. His grandfather Cecil refused to acknowledge the child of 'a common little tart' and arranged for his grandson to be raised in a succession of boarding schools. Despite this callous upbringing, Mitchell grew up to become an extremely successful, rich businessman.

Seven months before the story opens, Mitchell's half-brother William discovered his existence, tracked him down, and pushed himself (and his wife and son) into Mitchell's life. Then William disappeared. At that point, Cecil Wyatt made contact with his 'prodigal grandson' and invited him into his life. Redheaded Kate Donovan, on the other hand, was raised by a loving father, who owned and managed an elite Chicago restaurant. As the story opens, Kate is in mourning over her dad's sudden death. Kate's in a drifting relationship with lawyer Evan Bartlett, whose family firm works for the Wyatts and whose father made all the long-distance arrangements for Mitchell's schooling. Evan has booked a private villa for himself and Kate in the tropical island of Anguilla. He's been delayed by a trial and Kate's waiting for him to join her there, when she rescues a stray brown dog (she names it Max) and meets Mitchell. Their attraction is mutual, instantaneous and fiery.

They spend a perfect night together but then - of course - misunderstandings accumulate to separate them. Mitchell has for some time been under suspicion for William's murder, while Kate returns to Chicago to run her restaurant and deal with the repercussions from her tropical vacation. When the pair do meet once more, it's under the most trying and emotional circumstances possible, leading to a highly satisfying ending. There's not much depth to this story, and the characters - both good guys and villains - are too good (and too attractive) to be true. However, Judith McNaught writes a clever plot and wrings every ounce of emotion possible from it. Note that this paperback edition includes 'new bonus scenes'.

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