Beauty & the Spy

The Perils of Pleasure

The Runaway Duke

Ways to be Wicked

Like No Other Lover
by Julie Anne Long
(Avon, $6.99, PG-13)  ISBN  978-006-134159-5
The Redmonds and the Everseas were previously introduced by Julie Anne Long in The Perils of Pleasure as a set of families involved in a feud, and who often competed with each other. This is the story of the second Redmond son, Miles, but has little to do with the Everseas or the ongoing quarrel. Lyon, the eldest son, is gone with no real explanation as to why or where, leaving Miles as the stand-in heir. He is expected to marry Georgina Mossgate, a young woman whom he has known from childhood since they are neighbors. Miles agrees with his father that this is a match he should make.  While he has no real love for Georgina, with the marriage comes some grant money that he needs. Miles is a scientist, and has hopes of returning to Lacao, a tropical island that he has been to for research. He wants to return, but his father is not willing to finance his trip. 

Cynthia Brightly is also a bit of a mercenary when it comes to her marriage. She just recently ended a betrothal when her fiancé became overly jealous and dueled with a man who flirted with Cynthia. The fiancé’s parents were incensed and the betrothal was broken, with Cynthia being labeled the villainess in the matter. She is visiting Miles’ family at the invitation of his sister, Violet. Cynthia knows the scandal will follow her to the country and she needs to find another man to marry rather quickly, as she is poor and will be without a place to go if she is unsuccessful.

This is the tale of the house party at the Redmond’s estate. Besides Miles and Cynthia, we spend time with Violet and another Redmond sibling, Jonathan. There are three eligible bachelors in attendance: Lord Argosy, Lord Milthorpe and the eccentric Mr. Goodkind. Cynthia has already ruled out Miles due to his apparent interest in Georgina.  But despite that intention, she and Miles share a strong attraction and almost mysterious chemistry. They share a kiss and then fight their needs throughout the party. 

There is very little action and the first half of the book drags terribly. The prose is cumbersome at times and I struggled to get through it. The saving grace is that things pick up in the second half. Cynthia is difficult to like at first, but as we learn about her circumstances and get to understand her, she becomes more likable. Miles, too, starts off very staid and seems almost heartless. As his character develops, we are shown his vulnerability and his motivations also become clearer. Ultimately, their love story is satisfying but it takes a long time to get there.

There are several side plots, one involving Violet and Gypsies. I found this rather tedious and very easy to figure out. There is some humor but really only a few scenes where I thought the activity was truly funny. The best scene is one in which they are shooting pistols at apples as target practice. Cynthia missed and shot a male body part off of a nearby statue, which promptly acted as a missile and hit Goodkind as he was walking by.  I laughed out loud. However, most of the jokes didn’t work. There is one scene that I thought was almost cruel, where four people are playing cards and drinking every time Georgina told Miles he is interesting.

Julie Anne Long is a good storyteller and weaves a lot of emotion into her story. There are very touching scenes near the end that engendered those feelings in the reader.  There is strong sentiment without resorting to being sentimental.  This is actually what kept the book at the acceptable level for the rating.  Like No Other Lover is definitely not a classic, but if you stick with it, will provide the reader with an acceptable romantic story. 

--Shirley Lyons

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