On Dublin Street #3
Contemporary New Adult
Available January 7th
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
One simple lesson in seduction between two friends can turn into so much more…
Despite her outgoing demeanor, Olivia is painfully insecure around the opposite sex—usually, she can’t get up the nerve to approach guys she’s interested in. But moving to Edinburgh has given her a new start, and, after she develops a crush on a sexy postgrad, she decides it’s time to push past her fears and go after what she wants.
Nate Sawyer is a gorgeous player who never commits, but to his close friends, he’s as loyal as they come. So when Olivia turns to him with her relationship woes, he offers to instruct her in the art of flirting and to help her become more sexually confident.
The friendly education in seduction soon grows into an intense and hot romance. But then Nate’s past and commitment issues rear their ugly heads, and Olivia is left broken-hearted. When Nate realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he will have to work harder than he ever has before to entice his best friend into falling back in love with him—or he may lose her forever…
There’s nothing that can be said about the premise of Before Jamaica Lane to make it sound anything other than exceedingly familiar, the friend-aiding-another-friend-in-sexual-exploration trope one that’s been done again and again, but while this story certainly doesn’t sound different to us, when we crack the spine we find the differences present themselves in how Olivia and Nate’s story makes us feel. We know from the onset that this friendship is going to go down in flames, but Ms. Young so excels at writing characters who forcibly yank us into their lives that we discover in ourselves previously unknown masochistic tendencies; ones that have us devouring page after page just to feel the burn resulting from the sheer joy of their developing feelings followed by the deterioration of something beautiful.
Olivia is a woman with body issues–seeing physical flaws in the mirror no one but she can see– making her feel more realistic everyday woman and less romance heroine from the get-go. Though her insecurities often deter her from engaging in any type of flirting with the opposite sex (aside from Nate), she’s never overly whiny or self-pitying, her skewed perception of herself something she’s fully aware of and hoping to change with Nate’s help. Her relationship with Nate is something that brings a smile to our faces from the beginning, their easy banter and utter comfort with one another flowing rather seamlessly from friendship into physical intimacy, and while we of course shake our heads at her and Nate’s shared naivety in thinking their experiment won't spectacularly blow up in their faces, their moments together are still lovely, joyous and of course oh-so hot.
Nate is a player by synopsis definition, but thankfully it’s not an obnoxiously prevalent aspect of his character, and aside from one or two scenes in the beginning where Olivia is forced to bear witness to the ease with which Nate loves and leaves women, we don’t have to endure constant physical reminders of his emotional unavailability. He’s funny, charming and absolutely adorable with Olivia, and even when things between them fall apart, he never crosses an irredeemable line wherein he hurts Olivia past our capacity to forgive him for it. He causes her pain, yes, but it’s clear that she’s not the only one with a heart struggling to beat through its misery, and when he finally gathers his courage, his campaign to see her back in his arms feels heartwarmingly genuine and painfully honest.
Overall, what Before Jamaica Lane lacks in originality it makes up for in emotion and characterization, returning us to a beloved group of friends with enviable romances that make even our darkest days brighter with their telling, and we can’t help but look forward to the next couple who will no doubt break our hearts and then expertly mend them in the streets of Scotland.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.