by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare… Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core. Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached. But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul
On Dublin Street was in my TBR pile for a good four months before I dug it out for the Take Control challenge in March and I am glad it is one of the books I selected. Young offers up complex characters, a fantastic setting and weaves it all together to create a romance that swept me away.
The tale takes place primarily in Scotland after a brief prologue that gives us a strong sense of Jocelyn Butler’s background. Jocelyn is in search of a new flat and roommate after graduation and is on her way to visit a place on Dublin Street when she hails a cab and ends up sharing it with Braden Carmichael. Their conversation was funny and right away we get a sense of who they are. She ends up falling in love with the flat and takes an immediately liking to Elle her new roommate. As fate would have it, it turns out that Elle is the little sister of Braden who is now Jocelyn’s landlord. The tale that unfolds held me captive as Jocelyn struggles with her past, her feelings for Elle and Braden, and a fear of losing herself.
Young created fleshed out characters with flaws you can identify with. Jocelyn from the outside appears confident, calculated and snarky. She keeps people at a distance, tucking them into neat little boxes with labels. I instantly connected with her, and despite wanting to shake her a few times, I felt her emotions and struggles were genuine. Elle is in a word, “adorable” Ever optimistic, a totally romantic and someone you enjoy spending time with. She is a listener, and very good at picking up on subtle body language. While she is curious about Jocelyn she doesn’t push her. Braden is older than Jocelyn and has been previously hurt in a failed marriage. He is successful, and goes from one relationship to the next. He is charming, smexy and despite all the dating, he is faithful when in a relationship. There is an immediate physical attraction between them but Jocelyn tries very hard to deny it. Braden really gets her, and cleverly worms his way into her life and bed. It was fun to watch it all unfold. Their relationship is hot, sweet, turbulent, intense and beautiful. I found myself wrapped up emotionally in the outcome. The secondary characters all had their own voice, and personalities making the setting intimate.
There were many threads in the story, quickly making me invested in the characters and while it focused on Jocelyn I found myself caught up in the other characters lives as well. Jocelyn has secrets and carries a lot of grief but we see growth throughout the novel. Young has her seeing a therapist and I loved that she made Jocelyn strong enough to realize she needed to talk to someone. I consumed this in a single evening and enjoyed the author’s writing style and plot pacing. There are some hot, steamy scenes, that are detailed enough to let your imagination soar. I quickly slipped away from reality as the world and characters she created took me on an emotional journey I did not want to end. This series has the feel of a small-town series and I am excited to continue.
Fans of character driven romances will enjoy On Dublin Street. Down London Road is the next book in the On Dublin Street series and we get Johanna Walker’s story. She is the bartender who worked with Jocelyn in book one.