Series: Pennyroyal Green #10
Published by Avon on March 31, 2015
Wonderful Story of Second Chances
“Life is short. Love matters most.”
THE STORY: Lord Phillipe Lavay, a prince of the house of Bourbon, is recovering from life threatening injuries in Pennyroyal Green. Lavay’s life is at a crossroads. He needs to make enough money to repurchase his family home and he needs to determine whether it will be through his dangerous work for the Crown or through marriage. Elise Fountain has come down in life. A former teacher at a girls’ school, Elise is a fallen women with an son — and no husband. She finds herself desperate and needing a position as the housekeeper for Lord Lavay.
OPINION: This is a wonderfully gentle story where the relationship between Lavay and Elise builds slowly. The two begin as combatants with sharp words and clever repartee. Respect builds between them and also caring as Elise cannot ignore the physical pain she sees in Lavay. The differences in their stations are so great that it seems impossible for them to imagine that they are perfect together, but of course, they are.
The character of Elise is amazing. A woman who trusted wrongly, who took a chance on love and lost, she accepts her mistakes even as they are something that have utterly damaged her life. She has a wonderful relationship with her son and accepts him as the joy she has gained from the pain her choices have brought her. I liked how Elise takes pride in her work and always demands the best from herself and others.
This story is paced incredibly well. For a woman who has been burned before, I would have thought worse of her had she rushed into another relationship. Instead, Elise knows that she cannot afford to make another mistake for herself and for her son. Lavay ultimately knows and respect this as well. These two complex characters are a joy to read about.
Julie Anne Long always does these stories about living with moral mistakes and complex issues regarding sexuality — especially for women — incredibly well. This one is another book in that vein.
WORTH MENTIONING: Olivia and Lyon fans rejoice…the end of this book is the beginning of what you have been waiting for.
FINAL DECISION: The story here is not original nor is the ending unexpected, but Julie Anne Long has a wonderful way of working her characters and the emotions such that the end result is fresh and engaging.
CONNECTED BOOKS: IT STARTED WITH A SCANDAL is the tenth book in the Pennyroyal Green series. It can be read as a standalone although various couples from prior books make appearances.
STAR RATING: I give IT STARTED WITH A SCANDAL 4.25 stars.