Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #3
Also in this series: Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: January 7th 2014
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The follow-up to the runaway bestsellers ON DUBLIN STREET and DOWN LONDON ROAD
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 brokenhearted. 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….
I didn’t enjoy Before Jamaica Lane as much as Down London Road (my favorite of the series). The characters both read as young to me, which marred my enjoyment somewhat. I think the story suffered for having been written in first person. I generally don’t mind that with Young, but I think we needed to see more from Nate. Because we only saw things from Olivia’s side, it was hard to understand why Nate acted the way he did. I understand his trauma at losing his teenage love to cancer, but he was often immature and didn’t think before he acted. Had we been able to see things from his point-of-view it might have helped understand him better.
Olivia’s lack of confidence when it came to men could have come off as silly or contrived, but I thought Young did a good job of making the circumstances believable. A teenager who spends all her time taking care of her mother would have little experience with men and it was easy to believe that would morph into an almost fear after a bad experience in college and nothing since. In fact, I thought she was a likable heroine, period. She was witty, funny and a bit on the nerdy side. I liked the banter between her and Nate and how determined she was to start over.
Nate and Olivia’s friendship was really well written. They laughed together, shared secrets and spent a lot of time in each other’s space. They had a solid foundation before they ever got physical, which made the progression of their relationship realistic. It made sense that Olivia would fall in love when she knew everything Nate. That he knew everything about her and took care with her feelings only solidified things.
It was good seeing the rest of the Edinburgh crew. They didn’t overwhelm the story, but they certainly played a part in it, which was nice since the friendships in this series are one of the things I enjoy most about it.
While this wasn’t as solid for me as the previous book, I can’t deny I was drawn in by Olivia’s bright personality and her friendship with Nate. This is a sweet, steamy tale.
3.75 out of 5