Review: Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young13:12
Author: Samantha Young
Date of publication: 7 Jan 2014
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My rating: 4 stars
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…
This is the third book in On Dublin Street series. I haven't read the second one, Down London Road, yet, where Olivia and Nate (the main characters in this one) were first introduced but that wasn't a problem since their previous story was nicely recapped and I was able to fully enjoy this latest installment in the series.
The trope of a male best friend giving his female best friend lessons in seduction to boost her confidence so she can date other guys leading to them falling for one another is not a favourite of mine but I think it worked really well here.
Olivia was a great character - she was a shy and proper librarian, self-proclaimed geek, with a great sense of humour and very caring, open-hearted nature, yet she lacked confidence and her lack of experience with men made her feel self-conscious. She has been attracted to Nate from the beginning but they have limited their relationship to being just (great) friends.
Nate was also more than likable - he was smart, funny and sexy, a bit of player and a loyal friend.
When their lessons in seduction start both of them were reluctant to admit that it is more than that. They had their personal issues to overcome. Their love didn't come out of the blue, it grew naturally out of their friendship. Moving on to friends with benefits led them to open up to each other and to share their secrets and dreams. There were the inevitable ups and downs, saying and doing the wrong thing on both sides but in the end they were able to move on from their pasts and embrace a future together.
The ending it predictable but very sweet. If you have read any of my other reviews you already know how much I appreciate a good epilogue to any story and I did like the epilogue very much. It encompassed the whole book beautifully - it was sweet and funny and tender and sexy, just as the whole love story of Nate and Olivia was.
I liked the presence the rest the characters, we catch up on things between Joss and Braden, Jo and Cam, Ellie and Adam. I was disappointed with Castle Hill, the novella on Joss and Braden (my review) and I think that this books presented the events in their lives much better than the said novella. They felt more consistent with the characters as we know them from On Dublin Street.
At times the supporting characters (friends relatives, parents) were too much to handle. They gave richness to the story and set the stage for upcoming books (Hannah and Marco's story is up next) but their presence was overwhelming, overshadowing the main story.
Overall, this book offered some witty banter with Scottish accent :), some internal struggle, deep thoughts on love and trust, making it quite an enjoyable read. There were some hot, sexy times presented beautifully, as expected from Ms Young. Olivia was the perfect student and an overachiever in her lessons in seduction :)
After my disappointment with Castle Hill, this book quickly brought back my enjoyment of Ms Young's writing. I would go as far as to say that this is a must-read for the fans of her On Dublin Street series.