Julie Anne Long
Publication Date: January 29, 2008
Series or Standalone: Pennyroyal Green #3
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
CW: Kidnapping; infidelity/cheating; sex trafficking
Who would have guessed that this book would have so many puppets in it and that the puppets would actually be so important to the story? I certainly didn’t expect that going in, but somehow Julie Anne Long has a way of making the unexpected work. I’ll be honest – this one felt like a little bit of a letdown after how amazing Like No Other Lover was. That’s not to say this is a bad book. I still really enjoyed this one, but it felt like it was missing that special something to make it truly shine.
Captain Chase Eversea is a well-respected English war hero who is used to order and getting his way. But when he receives a mysterious letter, little does he know he’s about to be confronted by the one woman he could never have, Rosalind March. Rosalind March seeks out Chase after her sister goes missing from Newgate. She suspects something fishy is going on and enlists Chase to help her despite their past. As they spend more time together exploring some of the darkest corners of London, they cannot deny the connection that existed between them years ago has not faded and they may have the opportunity to surrender to lust and love.
The chemistry between Captain Chase Eversea and Rosalind March is explosive. Long knows how to make me feel all the feelings with her romances – I got all the heart-dropping, butterflies in your stomach feelings emotions while reading about Chase and Rosalind. This book is a bit of a second chance romance as the two of them couldn’t be together originally as she was married to his commanding officer. Yes, there is a kissing scene while she was married, but it doesn’t go beyond that and, honestly, I couldn’t blame them for the kiss as the chemistry and longing between them were off the charts. I liked how their relationship developed, even if Chase is a bit too practical in his actions sometimes, but I did like that he respects Rosalind’s wishes when she tells him no. I did find the library scene to be incredibly sexy, but also found myself questioning some of the locations they decided to bang. The museum bangs, while arguably still hot, also felt the most questionable given the location since it didn’t seem sexy.
While I like both Chase and Rosalind, I did struggle to get a read on Chase a bit. He’s a very buttoned-up, no-nonsense soldier and sometimes I found him to be a bit flat. Yet I still ended up like him in the end. I LOVED his fear of puppets – I mean who wouldn’t fear them? – especially when they seem to be stalking him and trying to tell him a message. I also liked Rosalind and her devotion to her sister is admirable. All her choices have been to help and protect her family and the only time she gets to do anything for herself is when it comes to pursuing a relationship with Chase. Choosing to be with Chase is something she can do because she wants to, not because she feels she has to.
The mystery in this was enjoyable, if not a little predictable. At some points, I did find the mystery plot to overpower the romance a little bit – I think it dragged on a little longer than it should have. While I might have guessed the bad guy and what was happening pretty early on, it was still satisfying to see all the pieces come together. Especially the puppets.
Long’s writing continues to shine. She so quickly manages to establish distinct voices for each of her characters that you feel like you get to know them incredibly well. I’m always in awe of how she can weave humor into serious scenes and her ability to evoke such a strong emotional response through her words. Truly, every time I read her books, the writing is one of my favorite parts.
Outside that, I did really like some of the secondary characters in this novel. Little Liam the street urchin who worms his way into Chase’s closed-off heart. Liam is way more perceptive than anyone gives him credit for and I loved all the scenes where he made an appearance. It was also really nice to see the Eversea’s together, especially Colin who is so happy being married and won’t shut up about his cows.
Overall, I enjoyed this one, but I didn’t find it as memorable or remarkable as Like No Other Lover. This book really shines when it comes to the chemistry between Chase and Rosalind, but it gets a little bogged down with the mystery. I am still loving my first read-through of the Pennyroyal Green series as Julie Anne Long’s writing is beautiful and she has a way of making me feel all the emotions in her books.