Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #3) by Samantha Young
“You’ll end up living a lonely life if you’re waiting around for perfect.”
So, it’s no secret that I absolutely adore Samantha Young’s books. There seems to be the perfect balance of angst, happy, and emotional in her writing formula that just works for me as a reader. Ever since I read On Dublin Street, I’ve been not so subtlety shoving her books down my friends’ throats for them to read.
Before Jamaica Lane is the story of library assistant, Olivia and her best guy friend Nate, who embark on a series of flirting lessons in order for Olivia to gain more confidence around the other sex. We’ve heard this story before, right? WRONG! Ms. Young did a wonderful job with an old story line and making it into something uniquely her own.
“I want to be someone’s big love, Dad. I think I deserve to have the man I love love me back just as much.”
Olivia is a heroine to stand by; she’s loyal to her friends and family, not quick to judge anyone, and very endearingly hopeless when it comes to men (at the beginning of the book at least). I loved the development of her character throughout the book from a semi-meek girl, into a woman who finally accepts herself for what she is: a confident, attractive and smart woman with a lot to offer.
I’m not one for dual perspectives, but I really did find myself wishing as a reader that we could see Nate’s point of view, as he could be so hard to read sometimes. And here is a segment from the main summary of the book as proof that I’m not spoiling anything, “But then Nate’s past and commitment issues rear their ugly heads, and Olivia is left broken-hearted.” Even without the summary giving this away, it was fairly obvious that Nate had many issues due to his tragic past and he would end up hurting Olivia. The scene in which this happens had me in knots and I felt like I was going to puke (not really, but you know what I mean). I kept returning to it as I continued reading because I felt I gained more insight to the story. So if only for that scene alone, I bow down to Ms. Young. You like to play with reader’s heartstrings like they’re a bloody violin. Bravo!
Most authors neglect to have the party at fault grovel enough to make up for past wrongs. Nate more than made up for it to Olivia, and in return Olivia didn’t give into Nate so easily, thank god. One of my favorite quotes from the book:
“I thought I could do it. I thought I could lie to the both of us. But seeing you on the street last week with that guy and the little girl… It was a glimpse into the future. It didn’t hit me until right in that moment that walking away from you, from us, meant having to watch you be with someone else, have kids with someone else… Christ Liv, I couldn’t breathe.”
One thing that stood out to me in this book and On Dublin Street was how well Ms. Young wrote as an American. I am convinced that she’s lived in the states, despite being from the UK because she does such a wonderful job writing as an American that it’s believable in the books. I know what you’re thinking, there aren’t that many differences between Americans and the Scottish, but it’s the small things that make up one’s culture. Like how Olivia calls shotgun and the Scots have no idea what she meant. Plus the American slang/idioms used throughout the entire book. Masterfully done.
“I didn’t just want Nate to love me. I wanted him to love me the way I loved him. The kind of love that’s so big it would last beyond a lifetime.”
So now that I’m done gushing over Ms. Young and her book, I highly recommend this series to anyone. This book technically could be read out of order, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Start with the first book and make your way down. Plus, I am extremely excited for the next book about Hannah and Marco, an intriguing romance that began to develop in Down London Road.
“I never meant to fall in love with you. But I did. I felt it the first night I made love to you. I tried to walk away then because I’ve never felt so lost and yet so fucking found as I felt that night.”
***Note, I originally wrote and published this review in January of 2014 on Goodreads, just adding it to the blog now***