Rating a book 5 stars does not happen all that often, for me. But when it does, it’s always the same, I end the book and think the same question every time, how is my next book going to top this? It’s simple to answer, it’s not. It might be equally as fantastic, but 5 star books for me are in a rare category all to themselves, the top of the top, the best of the best, rival to none. Down London Road has landed itself in that exclusive group. Samantha Young is a very talented writer. I LOVED On Dublin Street, so much so that I was slightly worried about starting Down London Road for fear of it not being as outstanding as it’s predecessor. People, if you were like me, have no fear. This book was AMAZING.
Let’s start with gushing about these characters. Jo was someone who we got to meet in On Dublin Street, and while she wasn’t necessarily painted in the most lovely light, you knew that there was going to be an interesting story there. I’ll even venture to say that Jo was relatively hard to like and relate to at the beginning of this book as well. It’s hard to make someone that is dating men mostly for their financial status appealing. While I surely did not always agree with the decisions that Jo made, the more you got to know her, it was clear that she was not a cruel or heartless person. She did what she felt she had to for her family, as misguided as that sometimes was. And try as I might to hold on to any begrudging feelings towards Jo for any of that behavior, it was near impossible to do as the book went on. She was living in a truly tragic and deeply upsetting situation. With the horrific upbringing she had it was a wonder that she turned out as well as she did. It was heartwarming how much love she had for Cole. He was her whole world, and not a single decision ever got made without him being at the fore front of Jo’s mind. She was in almost every respect his mother, and they had a touching relationship.
Cameron….just wow. His raw sexual energy BURNED of the pages. Even when he was being a complete tool at the beginning, I still wanted to know more about him. And make no mistake, he was a brash judgmental ass towards Jo before he got to know her. It was freaking hostile, and unfoundedly so! And yet again, the more that we got to know Cam, the more he wormed his way right into your heart. He was a very dominant Alpha male type, but he definitely had a large heart and was a no bullshit kind of dude. I really liked that about him, he was mostly honest, even to a fault. The way he took to Cole just solidified the love I had for him. I really enjoyed watching their relationship blossom right along with his and Jo’s.
It was so nice to see all the people we loved from the first book stay very relevant in the second installment. Lots of big changes going on for them too in this book. We also got to meet a few new great additions, Mick, Olivia, Nate and Peetie. One of my favorite things about her characters are their flaws. They are so real and relatable. She has this talent for taking these people who a first glance seem so rough and troubled, and gradually showing you how much more wonderful things there are about them just below the surface. And little by little they grow on you, until you can scarcely remember having shied away from them in the first place.
I would say that this book actually deals with quite a few touchy subjects. It was challenging to not get emotional at a few parts, the good and the bad. Another favorite thing of mine was the beautiful truth, that it’s not always the blood relations that make the family, but sometimes it’s the people that are there, loving you and supporting you by choice that mean the most. The Sunday gatherings at the Carmichael’s were always an enjoyable thing! It was touching seeing how they had all formed this ragtag family and were so much better for it.
It looks as if the next book in this series has Olivia and Nate as the leads, and that will most likely prove to be a very interesting story. At this point I have no reservations about diving right into the next book. Samantha Young has shocked and awed me two out of two times now, and I can’t get enough!! I truly can’t wait to read more about all these wonderful characters. Now I shall go bask in my contentment for the rest of the evening after having read this outstanding book!