Johanna Walker is used to taking charge. But she’s about to meet someone who will make her lose control….
It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother, she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may not—fly.
But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try.
Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to uncover all of Jo’s secrets even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece.
There’s no doubt about it. I am officially a fan of Samantha Young’s writing. Down London Road features Jo and Cam, who we meet in On Dublin Street and can I just say, I’m so glad Young decided to write Jo’s story. Johanna’s character surprised me. The things she went through, the responsibilities she had to take at such a young age–I wasn’t expecting it at all. Here is this 24 year old who instead of having fun and falling in love, has to worry about how she’s going to pay the rent, feed her family and put her brother through college. Not only that, but she has to deal with an alcoholic mother, and later on, an abusing father.
In On Dublin Street, Jo comes of as this one-dimensional gold-digger. We don’t get to see a lot from her in Joss’s story, but what we do see is that first meeting with Braden, where she sets her sights on him, thinking he’s the perfect match for the kind of man she’s looking for: handsome and rich. Obviously Jo’s plans for Braden didn’t go anywhere–and thank God for that because Joss and Braden? They’re adorable. Now as we read Jo’s story we start to understand why she only dates the kind of guys she dates and why she behaves the way she does. Jo doesn’t think much of herself–she dropped out of school so she could get a job, so in her eyes, she has no real value. The only thing she has going for herself is her looks and she uses that to her full advantage. However, the Jo we meet is this strong, caring, nurturing young woman, who’s handled the shit thrown at her in a graceful way. And little by little, with the help of Cam, we see Jo grow as she sheds her insecurities and pushover tendencies.
Ultimately, the way characters are written in a book can either make or break a story. And Cam? He sets the bar high. Cameron comes off in the beginning as this tattooed jerk with his preconceived notions about Jo. He insults her, looks down on her and it’s infuriating… But at the same time it’s utterly satisfying because we just know he’s going to be thrown for a loop. And he is. And it serves him right. More than that though, is the man we get to know as the story progresses. There’s no unspeakable tragedy in Cam’s past. There’s no unbearable secret being kept. Cam is honestly, a pretty normal, stable guy, and we don’t often see those in New Adult books nowadays. However, he’s no cookie-cutter, boy next door. Cam definitely has his alpha tendencies that go hand to hand with Jo. The dormant, timid, pleasing girl Jo normally is with men is thrown out the window from that very first encounter, and it’s utterly satisfying to read.
Joss and Braden, as well as Ellie and Adam, Hannah, Elodie and the rest of their adopted family make a reappearance in Down London Road, and as always, it was a treat to hear back from them. The little bit of Hannah we learn more about just makes for an anticipating read (her novel, Fall from India Place, comes out June 3rd), and while I liked her in On Dublin Street, I fell in love with her snarky, quirky personality in Down London Road. However, there are still new characters we meet in the sequel, most specifically Cole, Jo’s younger brother. There’s still so much more I’d like to know about Cole, so I’m really hoping that untitled fifth book in the series will be his story. Nevertheless, the relationship Jo and Cole had was sweet and definitely more of a mother-son relationship than a sibling one.
As always, Young writes perfectly, well-developed characters as well as some smoking, sexy, hott scenes that make you blush, laugh, awweeee and feel for. I don’t think I can say it enough, but Samantha Young, and her Dublin Street series, is definitely one you’ll want to go back to, over and over again.