Title: The Legend of Lyon Redmond
Series: Pennyroyal Green #11
Author: Julie Anne Long
Format: Paperback & eBook, 384 pages
Published: September 29, 2015 by Avon
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Bound by centuries of bad blood, England’s two most powerful families maintain a veneer of civility...until the heir to the staggering Redmond fortune disappears, reviving rumors of an ancient curse: a Redmond and an Eversea are destined to fall disastrously in love once per generation.
An enduring legend
Rumor has it she broke Lyon Redmond’s heart. But while many a man has since wooed the dazzling Olivia Eversea, none has ever won her—which is why jaws drop when she suddenly accepts a viscount’s proposal. Now London waits with bated breath for the wedding of a decade…and wagers on the return of an heir.
An eternal love
It was instant and irresistible, forbidden...and unforgettable. And Lyon—now a driven, dangerous, infinitely devastating man—decides it’s time for a reckoning. As the day of her wedding races toward them, Lyon and Olivia will decide whether their love is a curse destined to tear their families part...or the stuff of which legends are made.
5 stars, was there any doubt? I will say though, it's a 5 star rating put into the context of the journey you take if you read every book in the series. Taken on its own, I would have probably given it somewhere in the range of 4 stars.
Men will do things for women they wouldn’t otherwise in their right minds do.
No one knew that better than Lyon.
The Redmonds and the Everseas have been the staunch adversaries of Pennyroyal Green ever since 1066 and a cow argument, or so history murkily relays. But when Lyon Redmond meets the gaze of Olivia Eversea across a crowded ballroom, a stolen waltz changes all their destinies. Living a Romeo and Juliet story is thrillingly romantically dangerous to the young couple who put off reality for as long as they can but when they are forced to face it, reality hits back hard. A stormy night filled with fear and pride separate Lyon and Olivia for five years, until Lyon receives word that Olivia is set to marry. This time anger and hurt keep them apart until longing works to crumble their walls. The story of Lyon and Olivia has been the whispers in the corners for a long time but no one has known their full story, until now.
How she loved that sentence. "Love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart." And she loved the little silence that followed when he’d read it to her, because she knew he was thinking about her, and wanted her to know it.
I knew that Lyon and Olivia must have fallen in love hard and fast but I had no idea it was so deeply consuming. The first half of the story is mostly flashbacks to their first meeting and clandestine get-togethers. They're young and as a consequence their love is at times immature and petty but also overwhelming and deeply felt; they have the love but not necessarily the tools, experience and maturity, to understand it. Every word they spoke to each other and every action they took felt so real, believable, and raw I lost the ability to think of them as fictional characters.
She loved him. She always had. He knew it as surely as he knew the color of his own eyes. And he was just as certain then he'd been born loving her, as surely as he'd been born with blue eyes. It was that simple. That permanent. And if it was a curse, then he didn't know what a blessing was.
Going back and seeing how it all started, the first love, excitement, and sense of home they had with each other was fascinatingly beautiful and knowing the heartache to come added some bitter sweetness to it all. I was shocked and impressed, for all the sense of doom hovering over our couple, that Ms. Long still was able to infuse them with lightness. Through their words and actions you could almost see their burdens lift when in the presence of one another and they were humorous together, which I, rightly or wrongly, didn't expect.
“Ah,” Lyon said softly. “I believe I understand now. You didn’t have the courage to fight for the woman you loved. You made the wrong choice. And look at you. Look at what you’ve become.”
If you have read the other books in the series, then you know that there has been the suggestion that Lyon's father Isaiah once loved and possibly still does, Olivia's mother Isolde. This is rumored to be the current strife between the two families and similarly in other books, Isaiah plays the villain here. The conversation between Lyon and his father was so amazingly tense and well done, it took me awhile to come out of my stupor and turn the page when the final harsh words were proclaimed.
And suddenly she hated him as much as she loved him for forcing her to make this decision, now, in the pouring rain, in the dark.
Lyon and Olivia were blinded by their love in the beginning, it added to the tension seeing everyone cautiously dancing around their covert warnings to the couple. When the real world hit our couple it was even more painful that I had prepared myself for. I think Olivia will take the brunt of anger from readers and her actions may slightly skew into added for angst sake but they still felt real.
She sensed a sort of coiled potential in him that boded ill, something was being wound tighter and tighter. His face was taut, his mouth white at the corners.
But she couldn’t seem to help herself from winding it tighter. She wanted it to break. You weren’t there. I needed you I missed you. You missed it. You missed it all.
The second half of the story is what readers have been dying for, Lyon and Olivia coming together and having their reckoning. I know I keep saying this but it all felt so real, the brittle pain between the two was gripping, deeply moving, and emotionally draining to read because of the author's talent of metamorphosing words on a page to emotions was riveting. Olivia and Lyon kept hammering away at one another with their own pain, until they both shattered from it. If I was to have a disappointment in this story, this would be it. Waiting almost ten years for their story must have made me a little into a sadist because I would have liked for their struggle and eventual main fight to have lasted longer. I was left a smidge unsatisfied with how it all went down and the swiftness of their joining and forgiveness of the past.
No one else had ever been able to really hurt her. No one else could save her from herself.
The ending had me a bit divided, on one hand I see what Lyon needed and was asking for from Olivia but on the other hand, it felt like forced in angst again. These characters weren't perfect but they will overfill your heart, stomp on it, and most importantly absorb you into their story. We get explanations into little mysteries that were sprinkled throughout the series, the white gloves, Olivia's miniature, and the elm tree. While others, Isaiah and Isolde's true story and Olivia's father's involvement in the slave trade, are still left strongly implied but never confirmed. I know some readers will sympathize strongly with Landsdowne, Olivia's fiancé. Thankfully, the author doesn't make him an easy victim, readers will like him, but I was also ok with him getting a bit of the shaft in this book. As with Henry in What I Did for a Duke, this wasn't to be his story and his happily ever after wasn't Olivia, I bet he has something better and right waiting for him on the horizon.
"Why did you do it?' she whispered. He was silent a moment, thoughtful. And then his mouth quirked at the corner.
"Because you couldn't." He said it gently. But deliberately. Ruefully. Laying those words out as if delivering a truth. Just the way he'd done the night he'd left: What if loving you is what I do best? It was indeed what he did best. He had gone and proved it. Her breath snagged in her throat.
Lyon and Olivia's journey is the sweeping love saga we all dream about, not sure we would want or could survive going through, read and reread, and end up pushing a bit desperately at friends to read. Is the last half and ending a bit sappy and over indulgent with looking back at past characters and overall stories? Yes but it's also the ending those of us that have been there from the beginning ultimately deserved. This might sound weird but I would suggest waiting a while after finishing the last chapter and moving on to reading the epilogue, I found it took away from my sweet closure of Lyon and Olivia’s story. I’ve see rumblings of Ms. Long moving into the world of contemporaries and I think we may have a glimpse here of where that move may start.
My almost ten year wait was to get the immediate above quote and let me tell you, it was worth every sibling, cousin, and friend story to get there. Read this series and find out what I mean.