Down London Road by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #2
Also in this series: On Dublin Street , Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Castle Hill, Fall From India Place, 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, On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) , On Hart's Boardwalk, Echoes of Scotland Street
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler » No « Hide Spoiler
Content Warning: View Spoiler » Domestic Abuse, Child Abuse, Violence, Alcoholism « Hide Spoiler
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
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Johanna Walker is used to taking charge. But she’s about to meet someone who will make her lose control...
It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother, she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may not—fly.
But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try.
Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to uncover all of Jo’s secrets... even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece.
I recently re-read this book and it was just as good as the first time. Although I enjoyed most of this series, Down London Road remains my favorite.
This review was originally posted on May 3, 2013.
We first met Johanna Walker in On Dublin Street. She was Joss’s good friend and co-worker. She was also a shameless gold digger. She was portrayed as a blond bimbo who was just looking for a man to take care of her. Yet even in that story we see there’s more to her, since she takes care of her younger brother, Cole.
Here we finally learn what’s behind the bimbo mask Jo wears. Yes, she dates older, wealthy men. But she’s never been with someone she didn’t genuinely care about. And who can blame her for wanting stability and wealth when she has her younger brother to think of?
Until she meets Cameron McCabe at an art show. Cameron seems to see right through her, into her very soul. They have an immediate attraction and Jo, for the very first time ever, craves a man who won’t be any good for her family. Until Cam opens his mouth and ruins it by jumping to conclusions about her and making her feel bad about herself.
Thanks to his harsh words, she starts seeing herself in a new light, and what she sees isn’t good. When Cam gets a job bartending with her, then moves into the flat below hers, she’s forced to admit she wants him, even if he is a total jerk. But when Cam realizes he was wrong about Jo and presses her to explore what’s between them, she’ll have to choose between doing something for herself and the stability of providing for her family..
The truth about Johanna isn’t that she’s a gold digger. She’s just desperate to provide a good life for her brother. She grew up with an abusive father who finally disappeared when she was around 10. Since then she’s been caring for her younger brother, as her mother is nothing but a drunk. And not a functional drunk, either, a bed-ridden one. Jo dropped out of high school at 16 to get a job to support them and she’s determined that Cole with have a better life than she did.
Because she’s uneducated, she knows there isn’t much hope of her providing a stable life for Cole….unless she can find a man. She might be dumb, but she’s pretty and that’s enough to get her what she needs. The interesting thing is that though she takes gifts from her boyfriends, she doesn’t ask them to support her. She doesn’t have them pay her bills, or give her cash. They buy her gifts she later sells on ebay for money, but she won’t take money from them direct. She also works two jobs.
In this, Young did an excellent job of showing us both sides of Jo. The insecure girl who has a fear of poverty and the strong, independent woman who only wants the best for her younger brother (who is really more like her son). I’m not sure she would have worked quite so well if there hadn’t been such a good balance between strong and vulnerable.
Cam hits every one of her insecurities right in the heart. He judges her and makes her feel less than she already does. She’s used to people thinking the worst of her, but for some reason his scorn really cuts her to the quick. Although it was hard to read those parts with Cam being such a jerk at times, I feel they were necessary to force Jo to really look inside herself and find her worth. She has to look inside herself to find out why his opinion of her matters so much, and what she can do to live up to his expectations.
That isn’t to say she changes for him. I think this book is as much Jo’s personal journey as it is a romance. She doesn’t want to change to be the person he wants her to be, but she wants to stop being the insecure woman who jumps at her own shadow. Cam was merely the catalyst for this transformation.
Cam is a tough character to like in the beginning. His disapproval of Jo and her lifestyle is understandable in one respect, as he isn’t too far off the mark about her. Yet he goes too far, jumping to conclusions and saying things that are way out of line. But we see there’s more to him than the judgmental jerk we meet in the beginning. Jo sees flashes of kindness in him almost immediately and as the story progresses he’s revealed as a strong, steady man who knows himself and is willing to put himself out there for those he cares about.
Aside from the fact that Jo and Cam are both dating other people, there’s added drama that comes from Jo’s life. Her alcoholic mother, gone but not forgotten abusive father and surrogate uncle who abandoned her. She has to overcome all of these obstacles in order to have happiness with Cam. I liked that her self-awareness grows as she does.
This is a novel of multi-faceted characters filled with emotion and depth. Highly recommended.
On Dublin Street
This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.