Julie Anne Long
Publication Date: January 28, 2008
Series or Standalone: Pennyroyal Green #1
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
CW: Explosions; sexual assault
I’ve been meaning to dive into the Pennyroyal Green series by Julie Anne Long for ages now, and after enjoying Long’s Palace of Rogues series, I knew I had to bump it up on my list. Funnily enough, I totally forgot I had read this book in 2016. I only remember vague bits in pieces of it, so reading it felt like I was discovering everything for the first time. I enjoyed this book’s introduction to the Everseas and Redmonds and their centuries-long bitter feud.
Colin Eversea, the loveable rogue and bit of a black sheep of the Eversea family, is set to hang for a murder he didn’t commit. As he’s set to meet his fate on the gallows, he’s rescued by a beautiful and clever Madeleine Greenway. Madeleine didn’t rescue him out of the kindest of her heart; she did it as she’s a mercenary who saved him to pocket the coin. However, when it becomes clear that whoever wants to save Colin wants Madeleine dead, the two become unwilling allies and set out on discovering the truth.
Long expertly weaves together multiple different elements to deliver an engaging romantic tale. I enjoyed the push and pull between Colin and Madeleine as they go on an adventure of saving him from the gallows, to clearing his name, to getting him to the altar to interrupting his brother’s marriage. Their relationship was a slow and steady build, culminating with some sexy times in a hayloft. The chemistry between them was apparent from the start, even though they got off on rocky footing initially, and circumstances forced them together. My one minor complaint with the romance is it felt like there wasn’t enough build-up to them both declaring they love you. Yes, they go through a lot together, and there is an obvious attraction, but the jump to them saying the “I love yous” came on a bit quicker than I would have liked.
What is it about men named Colin in historical romances always being a bit of a rascal and rogue? Colin Eversea is a bit of a troublemaker who lives life to the fullest until he’s accused of a murder he didn’t commit. His personality actually reminded me a lot of Colin in Tessa Dare’s A Week to Be Wicked, as they both give off a devil-may-care attitude and are ready with a witty retort. Long really excels with weaving humor into her writing, and Colin is the perfect outlet for that. Meanwhile, Madeleine is an excellent foil to him as she’s cool-headed and very practical in her decision-making. She has to be after all the tragedy she’s seen in her life, and so she can escape to America to start fresh.
I enjoyed the plot of this one as Long takes you on a ride. The book starts with a literal bang as Madeleine saves Colin from the gallows. The stakes for Madeleine and Colin are pretty high as they have people shooting at them, and all of England is looking for the famous Colin Eversea. I loved the mystery of who framed Colin for murder and who wanted Madeleine dead. It took Madeleine and Colin in exciting directions, including a foray into dealing with bodysnatchers. Despite reading this book before, I could not remember who was behind everything, so it was enjoyable to unravel the mystery.
The Perils of Pleasure is a solid introduction to the Pennyroyal Green series, and I’m so excited to meet more members of the Eversea and Redmond clans. If you like an action-driven romance with a solid mystery plot, you’ll enjoy this one.