The Legend of Lyon Redmond (2015) and the love story of Lyon Redmond and Olivia Eversea has been a long time coming. Julie Anne Long has written numerous books about the small town of Pennyroyal Green and the many epic romances sprouting from the area. Every young man or woman of marriageable age and suitable demeanor has been swept up in Cupid’s influence, including every Redmond and Eversea sibling. A common thread throughout all of Long’s previous Pennyroyal Green books is the whispered mystery of the failed romance between Olivia and Lyon–a Romeo and Juliet story of a love despite two rival families. No one knows exactly what happened, but the end result was that Lyon disappeared and has been missing for five years. Rumor has it that he has become the notorious pirate, Le Chat. Olivia has finally given up on ever seeing Lyon again and has agreed to marry the dependable and loving Landesdowne. And that is where we begin.
The book alternates between present day, with Olivia preparing for her upcoming nuptials with Landesdowne, and five years earlier when she first meets Lyon. The two most powerful families in the area would not approve of their children marrying [because they hate each other–for unspecified reasons], so they sneak around, meeting when they can, and not thinking about the future. Olivia gets jealous when Lyon’s father tries to pair him with the daughter of a Duke, and eventually Lyon has to face his father. In the present day, Olivia is getting her trousseau prepared. Lyon learns that Olivia is to be married and is presumably making some kind of plan.
So, let’s just get this out there. I did not like this book. I found it frustrating and boring. Almost two-thirds of the book covers what we already know from previous books. Lyon and Olivia liked each other, and then Lyon takes off. After years of the hype of their romance, I was expecting something a lot more dramatic than a disapproving father and a misunderstanding. They spend significantly more time apart than together and besides instant attraction, I didn’t really feel that they were meant for each other.
When we finally get to Olivia and Lyon together in the present day, about two-thirds or more through the book, it doesn’t make any sense. Instead of Lyon finding Olivia and talking to her like a normal person, he’s dressed up as a beggar to spy on her. He gets Olivia’s dressmaker to hire one of his employees in disguise, and then invites Olivia on a fake trip to meet some of her mentors fighting against slavery. Olivia decides to bring her newly hired dressmaker’s assistant as a companion [???] only to discover that her companion is Lyon’s employee and Lyon is there! Lyon takes Olivia on his ship to his beautiful home in Spain. First, they are mad at each other but then their attraction overwhelms them and they have a lot of sex. There is very little discussion about what Lyon’s been doing or the fact that Olivia is about to be married. Instead of discussing this, Lyon lets Olivia leave without a word when his ship comes back to pick her up.
My new pet peeve in romance novels is the dramatic conclusion at the wedding altar. If Lyon is really Olivia’s true love, and she’s been tortured for years because of his absence, how can she leave him to go marry another man? And why would Lyon let it come to that? And Landesdowne is a nice man. It is bad enough to end an engagement that will be talked and sung about forever, but to drag everyone from both of your families and the entire town to witness you dumping him and running after another man is just cruel.
The Legend of Lyon Redmond has 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, so there were quite a few people who appreciated it much more. I started wondering if I’m just burnt out on romance novels, or don’t know the previous stories well enough to appreciate the build-up. However, the more I think about it, the more frustrated I get. It just didn’t work for me. Also, I’ve always had a problem with excessive typos in Julie Anne Long’s Kindle books, and this continues to be a problem.
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