Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On House Parties: A Review of Like No Other Lover by Julie Anne Long

Like No Other Lover (Pennyroyal Green, #2)Last November I reviewed a book called The Perils of Pleasure, and I took little pleasure in it. For me, it was a most underwhelming novel. The writing style itself had nothing wrong with it, so when it came down to giving the author and the series another shot, I  found myself surprisingly willing (eleven months later). Let me tell you how that went.

The book opens by telling us how Cynthia (a popular and lively young lady), once snubbed Miles at a ball, commenting to her friend that a second son is beneath her notice. Later, however, Cynthia falls on hard circumstances after being the center of a terrible scandal. Now her only hope is to find a quick match with a man who has not yet heard of her past--and her last opportunity for that will be at the house party at Miles' family home. Miles knows that Cynthia is desperate. He, too, has resigned himself to a dull marriage of convenience to one of the ladies at the party. Miles offers to help Cynthia find her wealthy and gullible husband, in exchange for a single kiss.

Positive Comments

The entire book was much better than I expected. The tone is different from the previous book, with a cozier feel and a more limited setting. The plot is so much smaller, with just Cynthia and Miles dealing with their respective marriage woes--and yet I preferred it. I find that I was much more able to enjoy Long's excellent writing style and the way that she characterizes our hero and heroine.

Cynthia and Miles will challenge you as a reader, because they are both fairly flawed--at times even unlikeable. They are singular in their goals to ignore love and marry the most convenient person at the party, as expediently as possible. Cynthia's focus is on gaining financial security, since she is flat broke and facing a life of service if she doesn't marry right now. Miles wants to marry one particular girl, Georgina, because his family approves of the match in terms of prestige, and because her father has the money to fund another exploratory expedition for Miles. They both seem shallow. Cynthia seems vain and desperate. Miles seems cold and selfish. Yet they aren't unlikeable. Over the course of the book, you begin to understand their positions more and more--I felt a lot of empathy for Cynthia, who's financial situation is truly precarious. I felt rewarded for sticking with them to the end, and I felt that Cynthia in particular learned a lot about honor.

The relationship building is so slow, but slow worked for the tone of the book. They are clearly in love from an early point in the book, but both are too stubborn and bound by their circumstances to admit it. This is one of my very favorite romance tropes, and again I found it rewarding to reach that point where they finally give in.

Critical Comments


My criticism is basically that, as stated above, the characters are potentially quite unlikeable, and I suspect some readers would never get past some of their negative qualities. Miles's courtship of lady Georgina, while he's trying to set up an assignation with a married lady at the party, while he's pining for Cynthia...that really pushed my limits. Boys will be boys, I get that, but I found his casual attitude toward adultery right before he's about to propose marriage to be repugnant.



Overall, yes, I really do like Long's method of story telling. The plot of this one worked much better for me than her previous work, and I really liked the smaller setting and the dynamic of the house party. I also liked the complex characters and the slow burning romance. I'd recommend this to historical romance readers. 3.5 stars.  

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting. I've never read this author before. Maybe I'll TBR it. Thanks for the review! :D


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