Review: Since the Surrender by Julie Anne Long

Format: Mass market paperback
Pub Date: August 2009
Publisher: Avon
Length: 371
POV: 3rd, past
FTC: purchased used

I discovered the Pennyroyal series really late. I've read a few over the years, but was so out of the loop that I didn't realize they were a series until recently. This is an earlier entry in the series (there's a myspace page on the author bio), and it's a good one.

Although I've heard complaints about anachronisms, I think what sells JAL's books is her voice. She writes with such emotion and could probably lead a master class on how to show and not tell. Her books are immersive. This one was so particularly strong on sensory details that I made a ton of notes of favorite passages...something I'm usually far too lazy to do.

An example:
Just slightly, he brushed his cheek along hers, and she felt the heat of his skin, the start of whiskers, the hard plane of his jaw. His breath, hot, soft, brushed the lobe of her ear, and then his firm lips were there, just scarcely brushing the whorls of it, and gooseflesh danced over arms and legs and spine and, for all she knew, her very soul.

This book flirts with a few of my taboos, including infidelity. The author edges right up to my bright clear, do-not-cross line, but never quite steps over it. Meaning, there's a kiss, an emotional connection and attraction, but nothing further. It's still not right, but it's not a deal breaker in this particular book. 

Chase and Rosalind first meet while she is married to his military superior. They spend quite a lot of time being carefully circumspect around each other, intensely aware of their attraction, but determined not to surrender to it. Until they do give in with a scorching kiss. It's Rosalind who pulls back and states quite baldly that she loves her husband. Chase is transferred immediately afterwards, and he's never quite sure how the Colonel found out about his indiscretion. Both Chase and Rosalind are bothered about what they see as a moment of weakness and betrayal, largely, I think, because they did care about her husband, and did feel they had broken his trust, despite not sleeping together.

One thing that stood out as unusual for me with this book is how late in the book the first sex scene appears. It's in the last 1/4 of the book, although the sexual tension is off the charts throughout. I miss this kind of ...waiting. Most books usually make it to around 52%, but the dance these two go through is part of what makes me believe they will make their HEA last.

If you haven't already devoured this series, this is one of the GOOD ones. It's got lots of well done characters, some danger, some humor, and writing that makes you just sit back for a second or two and admire the hell out of it.

My only niggle is the resolution of the "mystery" which was just weird, paced oddly, and not very satisfying. 

My Grade: A-

The Blurb:
A Man of Action . . .

Fearless. Loyal. Brilliant. Ruthless. Bold words are always used to describe English war hero Captain Chase Eversea, but another word unfortunately plays a role in every Eversea's destiny: trouble. And trouble for Chase arrives in the form of a mysterious message summoning him to a London rendezvous . . . where he encounters the memory of his most wicked indiscretion in the flesh: Rosalind March—the only woman he could never forget.

A Woman of Passion . . .

Five years ago, the reckless, charming beauty craved the formidable Captain's attention. But now Rosalind is a coolly self-possessed woman, and desire is the last thing on her mind: her sister has mysteriously disappeared and she needs Chase's help to find her. But as their search through London's darkest corners re-ignites long-smoldering passion and memories of old battles, Chase and Rosalind are challenged to surrender: to the depths of a wicked desire, and to the possibility of love.

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