Julie Anne Long
Publication Date: October 28, 2008
Series or Standalone: Pennyroyal Green #2
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
I had to wait weeks for my library hold of Like No Other Lover to come in, and let me tell you, I dropped everything else I was reading to dive into book two of the Pennyroyal Green series. While I enjoyed The Perils of Pleasure, I absolutely adored this one!
The former belle of the ball, Cynthia Brightly, was driven out of London by a secret scandal and needs to find a husband before word of her downfall spreads or she risks being left destitute. Unfortunately, Miles Redmond already knows about the rumors and could make or break Cynthia’s chance to snag a husband. However, he’s always had a thing for her, even though she passed him over as she felt she was too good for a second, so he decides to work out a deal with her. Miles will keep her secret and help her find a husband – in exchange for a single kiss.
As soon as I read the blurb for this book, I had a feeling this book would be for me. What could go wrong with offering up one kiss in exchange for information and keeping a secret? I honestly don’t know ”it’s just one kiss” is a trope, but it’s one of my favorites cause you always know the kiss will take both people by surprise.
I adored the romance in this one. Julie Anne Long is a master a building up sexual tension, and this book was a prime showcase of that. The chemistry between Miles and Cynthia was bursting off the page, and I wanted these two to get together so badly. The banter between them was fantastic. And as much as Mile tried to deny his attraction, he couldn’t help doing things to help her and make her feel happy. He gives her a cat to make her feel happy, for goodness sake! As much as they tried, they couldn’t ignore the fiery attraction between them and it gave my heart all the feelings. They both tried to deny that they wanted each other, instead of going after the people they thought would be best for their future. There is a scene where they’re both sitting there, holding hands, miserable after getting what they claimed they wanted, and my heart broke. Seriously, this book gave me all the feelings and I could not read it fast enough as I wanted these two to get together so badly.
Let’s talk about these two fools (I say that lovingly). Miles Redmond – why do I love you so much? You nerdy man with glasses who loves bugs. There is something so sweet and endearing about him. I’m amazed how well he turned out, considering how terrible his father is. Miles’ position in the family has changed a bit now that Lyon’s disappeared, so he’s heir apparent, which means his father is paying more attention to him now. I loved how Miles is the glue that holds the Redmond siblings together. His relationship with his sister Violet was incredibly sweet – there is so much genuine love and affection there.
I was also incredibly surprised by how much I liked Cynthia. I feel like she could have easily come off as a vapid, pretty girl, but Julie Anne Long gave her so much depth. She’s also young at 22, but she came across a lot older and more mature to me. I felt so much sympathy for Cynthia as she’s being punished for the actions of men in her life. She’s forced into a deal with Miles out of self-preservation, but I enjoyed that she also was able to go toe-to-toe with him to negotiate, so she got something out of the deal. I admired her personality and drive. The only thing I didn’t like about Cynthia was when she made Georgina the butt of a joke at the party. Yes, Cynthia felt jealous, but it came across as very petty and needlessly cruel to have everyone else tease Georgina.
Outside of the romance and the characters, the writing in this book is superb. Julie Anne Long has a distinct voice for each of her characters that you immediately pick up on it. Because of this, her characters feel incredibly well-rounded and three-dimensional. Long seamlessly blends the romance, plot, character development and everything else perfectly to invoke a strong emotional response. One of the hallmarks of her writing style is how she always manages to weave humor into her stories. This book is no exception to that. From the logical Miles bursting into poetry in his head when he sees Cynthia to a scene where Cynthia almost kills a man with a marble penis, Long managed to make me laugh multiple times while reading this.
I know Like No Other Lover is only the second book in a series containing eleven books, but I can already tell it will be one of my favorites. Everything from the characters to the emotions to romance was perfect. I finished this one with a big smile on my face as I had such a fun time reading it. I definitely will be picking this up again in the future, and I cannot wait to read more in the Pennyroyal Green series!