A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Monday, June 10, 2019

MANGA MONDAY- Never Look Back by Kinuko Nakayama and Anne Weale- Feature and Review


Olivia is taking on a big project for her company, renovating a historic mansion at Ramillies College. The opportunity is too good for her to pass up! But she soon discovers that their current client, Ludwig, is the same person who evicted her and her grandfather from their beloved home nine years ago! Despite hating him to the core, she is steadily taken in by his devilishly good looks and magnetic personality. In this unavoidable reunion, will she be able to take control of her feelings and seek revenge on the man who ruined her life?


Never Go BackNever Go Back by Kinuko Nakayama
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Never Go Back by Kinuko Nakayama (Illustrator), Anne Weale is a 2018 Harlequin/ SB Creative publication.

Nine years ago, Olivia, only nineteen, and her grandfather were forced to leave the mansion where she had grown up after the owner passed away.

Now, as an interior designer, she has been commissioned to renovate the mansion, a lucrative project to be sure. But if she accepts the offer, she will also face Ludwig, the man who inherited the mansion, and forced her out, and in her mind, is responsible for her grandfather’s death. However, the job is simply too good to pass up, not just for the money, but for the opportunity for revenge.
Ludwig didn’t seem to remember Olivia, or the dramatic scene she displayed nine years ago, or does he? The more time Olivia spends with Ludwig, the harder it is to remember her vendetta against him. Will Olivia exact her revenge or will succumb to Ludwig’s charms instead?

Out of curiosity, I looked up the original version of this book, written by Anne Weale and published by Harlequin back in 1995. The Goodreads reviews for that book are not good. However, this updated version is okay, although a bit too hurried.

It is a little rushed and the chemistry between Olivia and Ludwig, which should have featured some interesting fireworks, fizzles instead of sizzles and the story overall is a bit bland. But I did like the Olivia’s transformation, and the little twist that put things into a new perspective. Ludwig (that name!!), is a real charmer, and despite being suspicious of him, I grew to like him as much as Olivia did.

Naturally, the artwork is the centerpiece of these reprised stories and although I’ve never been disappointed in the graphics from SB Creative Manga Comics, the work here is a grade above what I’ve encountered previously.

Overall, the story is okay- I give it 3 stars, but the artwork is exceptional and gets a 4.5.





Jay Blakeney
aka Anne Weale, Andrea Blake

Jay Blakeney was born on Juny 20, 1929. Her great-grandfather was a well-known writer on moral theology, so perhaps she inherited her writing gene from him. She was "talking stories" to herself long before she could read. When she was still at school, she sold her first short stories to a woman's magazine and she feels she was destined to write. Decided to became a writer, she started writing for newspapers and magazines.

At 21, Jay was a newspaper reporter with a career plan, but the man she was wildly in love with announced that he was off to the other side of the world. He thought they should either marry or say goodbye. She always believed that true love could last a lifetime, and she felt that wonderful men were much harder to find than good jobs, so she put her career on hold. What a wise decision it was! She felt that new young women seem less inclined to risk everything for love than her generation.

Together they traveled the world. If she hadn't spent part of her bridal year living on the edge of a jungle in Malaysia, she might never have become a romance writer. That isolated house, and the perils of the state of emergency that existed in the country at that time, gave her a background and plot ideally suited to a genre she had never read until she came across some romances in the library of a country club they sometimes visited. She can write about love with the even stronger conviction that comes from experience.

When they returned to Europe, Jay resumed her career as a journalist, writing her first romance in her spare time. She sold her first novel as Anne Weale to Mills and Boon in 1955 at the age of 24. At 30, with seven books published, she "retired" to have a baby and become a full-time writer. She raised a delightful son, David, who is as adventurous as his father. Her husband and son have even climbed in the Andes and the Himalayas, giving her lots of ideas for stories. When she retired from reporting, her fiction income -- a combination of amounts earned as a Mills & Boon author and writing for magazines such as Woman's Illustrated, which serialized the work of authors -- exceed 1,000 pounds a year.

She was a founding member of the The Romantic Novelists' Association. In 2002 she published her last novel, in total, she wrote 88 novels. She also wrote under the pseudonym Andrea Blake. She loved setting her novels in exotic parts of the world, but specially in The Caribbean and in her beloved Spain. Since 1989, Jay spent most of the winter months in a very small "pueblo" in the backwoods of Spain. During years, she visited some villages, and from each she have borrowed some feature - a fountain, a street, a plaza, a picturesque old house - to create some places like Valdecarrasca, that is wholly imaginary and yet typical of the part of rural Spain she knew best. She loved walking, reading, sketching, sewing (curtains and slipcovers) and doing needlepoint, gardening, entertaining friends, visiting art galleries and museums, writing letters, surfing the Net, traveling in search of exciting locations for future books, eating delicious food and drinking good wine, cataloguing her books.

She wrote a regular website review column for The Bookseller from 1998 to 2004, before starting her own blog Bookworm on the Net. At the time of her death, on October 24, 2007, she was working on her autobiography "88 Heroes... 1 Mr. Right".

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