Book Review

Like No Other Lover by Julie Anne Long


Title: Like No Other Lover
Author: Julie Anne Long
Publication Info: Harper Collins 2008
ISBN: 9780061980572
Genre: Historical: European

Book Like No Other Lover Like No Other Lover gave me the happy romance book experience that I hadn’t even realized I was missing.

I was drawn to it because the hero is a scientist, and you guys know how I am about scientist heroes (I married one).  I was kept enthralled by the characters, the dialogue, and the joy of reading something so flawlessly constructed and so full of humor, angst, joy, and tenderness.

Like No Other Lover is a Regency romance involving Cynthia, a woman who is desperate to marry a wealthy husband, fast, as she is almost literally penniless; and Miles, a scientist who is looking for money for his next trip to the tropics.  Miles doesn’t fit the usual geeky scientist stereotype.  He’s not geeky at all – he’s very buff and socially adept and quite a hit with the ladies.  Cynthia begins the book as a queen of the social season, but by the time the story properly begins she is broke and under the cloud of scandal. 

Miles and Cynthia meet at a house party that Miles is (reluctantly) hosting.  They strike up a tenuous, somewhat hostile alliance when Miles explains to Cynthia that he knows she is looking for a husband, and he is not available.  He has to marry Georgina (poor, poor Georgina…how I hope she has a happy ending in some sequel) because his father wants him too, and because Georgina’s father will help pay for Miles’ next expedition.  Hilarity ensues as Cynthia charms a succession of men, and heartbreak ensues as Miles and Cynthia fall more and more hopelessly in love with one another, knowing that they cannot be together (more on this later).

At first, I was a little disappointed by the characters.  Miles, I thought, wasn’t really much of a scientist character.  He was just some Regency romance hottie like any other Regency romance hottie.  But as the book progresses, the way he thinks becomes very important, and the way we know he and Cynthia belong together is that she thinks in a similar way.  Cynthia doesn’t have a previous interest in science, but when Miles talks about the natural world, she becomes fascinated.  They both share a scientists’ skill at careful observation, logical thought, and an appreciation of the smallest details in nature.  Look at this beautiful passage:

And she went still, breathless with a rush of understanding:  she suddenly saw that Miles Redmond saw the world as little worlds within worlds.  Everything – spiders, people, plants that ate animals – were both separate and connected, living the intricacies and beauties and violence of life, woven together like a web.

And this, too, was why, even when he was quiet, when he was still, he seemed to contain worlds.  To feel vast.

Because everything matters, he’d said.

There are a couple of things that I look for in a romance.  One is that the characters recognize each other, in the sense that they see each other truly, and they show each other how amazing they are while accepting one another’s faults.  Another is that the characters make one another better.  Both elements are central to this book.  Watching Cynthia and Miles grow as individuals, encouraged by each other, was truly delightful.  Cynthia, in particular, was simply a joy to read about.  When she did something unexpected near the end of the book, I let out an audible cheer (which was awkward, because I was in public).  And Miles is so very determined NOT to grow that watching him grow despite himself made me feel, frankly, a little smug.  And goodness gracious, but the sex is very…well, my mom reads my reviews so I’ll just assume my most prim expression and state that the sex scenes are well written.

I have one problem with the book, and it is this:  there is a lot of time devoted to explaining why Miles and Cynthia shouldn’t get together, but it is, frankly, stupid.  Miles won’t marry Cynthia because he wants the funding for his next expedition.  To get the funding, he has to marry someone else.  There is a larger threat that he could be financially cut off entirely, but the main obstacle that is brought up again and again is that Miles needs to marry Georgina to get the funding for his next trip.  But Miles says at the very beginning of the book that he is confident that he could have secured financial backing on his own – it just would have taken longer.  Then at the end, he’s all, “I can totally marry Cynthia!  Because I can get financial backing on my own – it will just take longer!”  Here’s Cynthia, being awesome, when Miles judges her for trying to make a mercenary marriage (at this point she has five shillings left):

I know what you think of me, Miles.  I know what you – have thought of me.  But I have a heart.  I do have a heart.  I just cannot afford to use it.  Don’t you see?  Why can’t you see this?  Whereas you – may play at all of this as much as you like.  There will always be someone for you.  And that is the difference:  I cannot afford to use my heart.  And you – you choose not to use yours.

If I were pressed at gunpoint to come up with other flaws, I'd say that until I wrote this review I hadn't noticed that the author is fond of italics, but she is.  Also I've had the Beatle's song “Something in the Way She Moves” stuck in my head for two weeks and I'm getting tired of it.

This book is part of a series, and it’s the only one I’ve read, although I am desperate to read the one about Miles’s sister Violet.   Seriously – Can. Not. Wait.  I didn’t have trouble jumping into the series at this point but there were a lot of references to family drama that evidentially happened in the first book.  If it bothers you to have a lot of references whiz past your head, then I suggest starting with Book One, The Perils of Pleasure.  A later book, What I Did For a Duke, was a Sizzling Book Club pick back in October of 2012.  I missed it then, but rest assured I’ll be reading it now.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    SB Sarah says:

    My apologies that comments were closed – my mistake entirely, and I fixed it.

  2. 2
    Jen says:

    So glad to see your review of this one. I LOVE this book, deeply. I first got turned on to the series when it was on sale a few months ago, and I too started with Like No Other Lover. I adored Cynthia and Miles, or at least I did by the end. I thought Cynthia was shallow and selfish at first, which she kind of is, but the way the story revealed her motivations and then had her grow as a person…just fantastic.

    I understand what you’re saying about Miles’ reluctance to marry Cynthia, but I actually thought it made sense because it really WAS about more than just funding this one expedition. It was about the lifelong access he would have to funds and colleagues by joining his father’s society, and I think it was also about his father’s approval, though this wasn’t really as explicit. Miles tried to do what he was told and be the good son—he was told to marry Georgiana so he was going to do that. I don’t think he really considered what it would mean to actually move on without Cynthia until the end. I’m paraphrasing here, but the “morning after” he has that one thought “Like a man, he hadn’t really considered what would happen in the morning.” Her actions (unintentionally) forced his hand, and it was only then that he realized what he was willing to do (or give up) for her.

    I haven’t read the entire series yet (I think I’m up to book 4?). I like the other books quite a bit, but none are as spectacular as Like No Other Lover, IMO. Violet’s story is kind of crazy. There’s a good dose of humiliation for her, which admittedly is kind of deserved, but it’s still not my favorite trope.

  3. 3
    Emily Jane says:

    Yes. I’ve loved every JAL except the one with the vicar. (I guess because I’m married to a preacher, and I like my preacher tons better than Adam) but knowing each other and helping each other grow…yes. That’s the beauty of any relationship.

    This review made me tear up a little, but I am 12 weeks pregnant.

  4. 4
    Shannon says:

    I have Julie Ann Long’s It Happened One Midnight on my TBR pile.  I’m not even sure this is in the same series.  Ah, so many books.  So little time.  Of course, life would be a lot worse if it were so much time and too few books. 

    On italics.  It used to be that publishers had to pay extra for additional fonts and even italics or so the story went.  I assume that’s no longer the case since I see lots of italics.  The most italicized word now seems to be you as in it’s you I love.  I suppose it adds meaning but in a lot of cases it feels like the author cannot find any other way to convey this is really important line of dialog or silent thought.  Or maybe it’s just more obvious on Kindle how much is italicized.  Writing does change.

  5. 5
    Vasha says:

    yes, poor Georgina—like you, I want her to have a happy ending. I think, personally, I would match her with a woman. She says she’s been in love with Miles since childhood, but that seems to not be true—she only admires him (without understanding). She has nothing in common with him, has no spark wirh him or anyone else at these mixed-sex, male dominated gatherings, is reduced to dull blankness. Perhaps where she shines is in the world of women that was so separate in those days—perhaps there are things she’s really good at and another woman who’s really on her wavelength.

  6. 6
    Jules says:

    This was the book that made me want to continue this series, as the series itself is very hot and cold for me. I’ve only read through book five, and five (What I did for a Duke) and this book are my favorites thus far.

    Your review makes me want to crack my newly acquired e-copy and read it again!

  7. 7
    Kim says:

    I really liked this book. The shooting scene is one of the funniest things I’ve read in an historical. That said, the best book in this series is What I Did For a Duke. It has humor, angst and great dialogue. Since you don’t mind reading out of order, then you have to read this one next. The Notorious Countess Confesses, I Kissed an Earl and How the Marquess Was Won are great, too.

  8. 8
    Kellianne says:

    I love this series and think that JAL deserves much more recognition than she has gotten so far.  While each book in the series is good, three of them stand out for me:  Like No Other Lover (this one),  How the Marquess Was Won, and A Notorious Countess Confesses with What I Did for the Duke a close second.  JAL does a masterful job at tweaking all of the emotions from humor to sadness.  Plus, she should be named Queen of Similes.  They are frequent and creative.  Anyone that has not delved into this series— DO IT NOW!

  9. 9
    LSUReader says:

    Like No Other Lover was my first Pennyroyal Green book, too. I loved it. I’ve kept up with the series, and this remains one of my favorites, along with What I Did for a Duke. (Violet’s story is pretty good, too.) Thanks for the review, and for reminding me how much I enjoyed the romance between Miles and Cynthia.

  10. 10
    leftcoaster says:

    This is one of my favorites from the series (I too love scientists in romance, I am one and so is my spouse). I love a brainy but sexy protagonist of either gender.

    The only JAL that beats it for me is “What I Did for a Duke”. I love that one and re-read it twice (!) in the last 2 months while I live through some stressful medical stuff happening with my 4 year old son. The older man/younger woman combo is far from my favorite, but that book has some powerful catnip for me. I think I’ve figured out that I find a hero or a heroines’ journey to self-knowledge and self-love (um, that too, but that’s not what I meant) irresistible. And when someone sees the “true” them and not only loves them but helps them own themselves….irresistible!

    I was a little sad about Violet’s story, I think I like it better when both characters start out with something close to equal power, and less when one has to wrest it from the other. In general though, I really like JAL’s writing. Even her less favorites of mine I’ll still re-read when I need something entertaining but thoughtful.

  11. 11
    trudy says:

    I think Like No Other Lover has the most clever dialogue. Cynthia is just hysterical. Miles was a bit of a snob in his way but she more than held her own with him. If you read the series, you’ll now that Miles’ father is a bit of a dictator and won’t hesitate to be ruthless with his children.  Unlike Emily above, I was amazed at how beautifully written A Notorious Countess Confesses. I thought Adam was the sweetest, kindest man and the inner and outer dialogue was pretty exquisite.  Julie Ann Long is one of my favorite authors and I love her work. She is also a beautiful person.

  12. 12
    Kelsey says:

    The only thing that really bothered me with this book was the attempt to make Miles a playboy, always looking for the next fling. It just didn’t fit his character. He can still be experienced, he can still be setting up a rendezvous with the married woman at the house party, and he can still be off-the-charts in bed, but he can also be a bit more choosey and less prolific in his affairs. Besides, he’s busy with research and travel and courting funding for his expeditions. How does he have the time?

    Overall though, I loved this book. I was pleasantly surprised by Cynthia. I didn’t think she would win me over after her comments at the beginning, but the author turned it around and in a very believable way. I’ve read books 1-7 in this series (after getting the great tip here that they were on sale). This one, What I Did for a Duke (#5), and How the Marquis Was Won (#6) were my favorites. I was really looking forward to Violet’s story (#4) as well and it held up for 1/2 the book, but sadly the second half just fell apart. #2 was also not my favorite, though it’s flaws were interspersed throughout. I’m still hopeful for the upcoming additions to the series.

  13. 13
    Genghis Mom says:

    ah this whole series!!! I totally wanted to add about a dozen more exclamation points to that.

  14. 14
    Janice says:

    I’ve had this on my TBR pile for awhile, along with The Perils of Pleasure. Thanks to your recommendation, they’re up next on my to-read list!

  15. 15
    LaineyT says:

    This is such a timely review.  I recently noticed that my library has the Pennyroyal series available so I have just started the Perils of Pleasure as a tester to see if I will add the other books to my TBR pile.  So far (and it’s still earlier on in the book) I am still on the fence but the recommendation of this later book in the series (in both the review and the comments) has prompted me to keep going.  It sounds there is more to this author than like early impressions.

  16. 16
    Terrie says:

    I’m another that loved this book, loved this series, and will read anything Julie Anne Long writes.  That said, this book is probably my favorite.  Great characters with great moments.

  17. 17
    Karin says:

    I’m going to cast a favorite vote for the first book in the series “The Perils of Pleasure”, because it’s a fast moving thrilling plot, and I love the heroine-rescues-hero trope. So far I’ve liked Violet’s story the least, because I didn’t find the seagoing story believable. For a seafaring adventure, “Almost A Scandal” by Elizabeth Essex is the gold standard, imho.  I’m now up to #5, which is “What I Did For A Duke”, and although I don’t like the big age gap between H & h, the book is irresistible, with laugh out loud funny dialogue.  I’m not done with it yet, but it may end up being my new favorite. Julie Ann Long’s trilogy about 3 sisters who are separated as young children, which was written before the Pennyroyal Green series, are also great books and worth reading, especially the first one “Beauty and the Spy”.

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