Julie Anne Long
Publication Date: June 29, 2010
Series or Standalone: Pennyroyal Green #4
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
CW: Slavery; racism; violence; pregnancy
Who thought peeling a potato could be so fraught with sexual tension? Seriously.
I adored I Kissed An Earl, the fourth book in Julie Anne Long’s Pennyroyal Green series. This book had a little bit of everything. You have forced proximity, pirates, enemies-to-lovers, adventures on the high sea and sexy potato peeling. What is not to like?
The new Earl of Ardmay, also known as Captain Asher Flint, is on a mission to capture a pirate known as Le Chet. When forced to attend a ball, he runs into a man who looks shockingly like the notorious pirate. The man happens to be Violet Redmond’s brother Jonathan, giving her a clue about the fate of her missing older brother Lyon. As Captain Flint heads back out to sea to track down Le Chet, Violet sneaks on board his ship to uncover what Lyon Redmond is up to and prove his innocence. However, she finds herself constantly butting heads with Captain Flint, who is tasked with bringing her brother to justice.
This book was dripping in sexual tension. Like seriously, dripping. I was dying every time Violet and Flint were together as all I wanted them to do was kiss already. The fact that they were trapped on a boat at sea and couldn’t escape each other definitely helped ramp up the tension. If you liked forced proximity, this was an A+ execution of the trope. There’s also a hint of enemies-to-lovers in there, as they are constantly engaging in a battle of wills, especially as Violet believes Flint is hunting her brother. That puts her in a sticky situation as she wants to be with Flint and wants to protect her brother. This book is also an excellent slow build as it takes a while for Violet and Flint to do the deed. Still, there are enough moments of fraught sexual tension, including a sexy potato peeling scene (seriously!), some fantastic kissing scenes and some excellent finger banging to tide you over.
Part of the reason the romance was so good in this book is because of the characters. I absolutely adored both Violet and Captain Flint. Violet surprised me as she’s always been known for her antics in society, but she’s driven by boredom more than anything. But her devotion to her brother Lyon – and the chance she can find him after his disappearance – sets her on a journey where she takes wild risks, all for the people she loves. Violet’s incredibly smart and has more backbone than anyone gives her credit for. I adored her as she was such a strong, well-rounded character.
Captain Flint was the perfect match and a worthy adversary for Violet. He pushes her buttons in all the right ways, sees her intelligence and challenges her in ways she didn’t expect. Despite being an Earl, a title recently given to him by the Crown, he’s an outsider in society. Everyone knows he doesn’t fit in with the traditional nobility, and they call him “Savage” because of his parentage. He’s much more at home on his ship and he’s very good at what he does as a privateer in hunting down the pirate Le Chet. He’s a bit arrogant and leans a bit more into some masculine traits than I usually like, but all the pieces worked together. He also broods, but he broods so well.
Outside the characters and the romance, I adored the plot of this one. We’ve heard mention of the missing Lyon Redmond previously, and we finally get more details about him! I loved Violet’s devotion to her brother’s innocence – and it turns out she was right. We meet Lyon for the first time in this book, and I cannot wait to get his full story as it’s clearly full of heartache, pain and redemption. While I guessed what was going on pretty early in the book with Le Chet and his motivation for going after certain ships, it was still satisfying to see everything come together.
While I’m not done reading the Pennyroyal Green series, this book is up there with Like No Other Lover as one of my favorites. I was fully hooked on the story and stayed up way too late reading it multiple nights. And that SEXUAL TENSION! No one delivers on the emotions quite like Julie Anne Long. I highly recommend you pick this one up, as it was truly delightful.