Julie Anne Long
November 2008, European Historical Romance (1820s England)
Avon, $6.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0061341592 Part of a series
Like No Other Lover combines some of my favorite elements of romance to create a story that at times had me laughing to the point of tears and, at others, had me tearing up in sympathy. The beautiful, yet vulnerable heroine, the scientist hero, a flying marble appendage, and lovely storytelling make it a truly worthwhile read.
Cynthia Brightly is desperate. She’s all alone in the world with only a few pounds remaining in her possession and scandal nipping at her heels. An invitation to a house party could be her salvation. She has no other option but to attend and hope that she can make an advantageous match before scandal catches up with her and forces her to give up her hopes and dreams of a family and security. She has a few things that work to her advantage: Beauty, charm, and the promise of eternal gratitude.
Miles Redmond, the second son of a prestigious family, is a bit of a disappointment to his father, though he is the presumptive heir since his elder brother’s disappearance. His scientific studies have taken him to exotic locales to study the flora and fauna and he returned to England with a small amount of fame and a desire for further expeditions. However, his father refuses financial backing and instead suggests a marriage for Miles that could link two powerful families and bring about the backing he needs. The last thing he wants is to see Cynthia again since she’s the only woman to ever make him act like a lovesick fool. However, he knows her for what she is – a gold-digger.
Despite his immediate and overwhelming attraction to Cynthia, Miles attempts to deny it and court the woman he hopes will soon be his wife, while also arranging a much-desired liaison with another house guest. Yet, as a price for a favor, he agrees to give Cynthia information about all the eligible men present to increase her chances of a successful marriage. However, neither can resist making trouble for the other.
For me, this book resonated on many different levels. First, it features two of my favorite character types. Cynthia is beautiful and charming and motivated by a desperate need for survival. The reader experiences that sense of urgency that makes her character completely believable and sympathetic. Miles, on the other hand, is a bespectacled, scientific hero who understands his duty to his family. As he begins to see Cynthia for who she really is, he becomes more compassionate as a hero. Second, there are consequences for the actions that they take, something that seems to be missing in quite a few historicals these days. While all ends well, things aren’t completely perfect. Finally, emotions run the gamut in the course of the story. There are a few moments of humor that made me literally laugh out loud – which has become a rarity in reading recently - while, along the same vein, there were moments that made me tear up with compassion as well.
The only thing that keeps this one from being a true DIK is that I didn’t have an insatiable desire to reread it immediately. There is, in my opinion, absolutely nothing wrong with this book, but that desire to reread is an absolute necessity for a DIK.
Julie Ann Long’s Like No Other Lover provides movements of humor and levity that are beautifully written and captivating. The drinking game, discussions of cross-dressing, and the flying bits of anatomy alone make it completely worth the time. It's a book I highly recommend.
-- Heather Brooks
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