One of the best decisions I’ve made in my reading lately is to finally open a Samantha Young book. I’d seen her On Dublin Street series and wished I hadn’t found it so late in the series to get started. But her Hart’s Boardwalk series offered me the opportunity to discover Ms. Young is an author no romance reader wants to miss. Since reading her HB series, I’ve also started ODS. While I’m enjoying those books, the characters of Hartwell own my heart. However, Aidan and Nora in Play On have jumped very close to the top of my Samantha Young favorite list.
This book is written in three parts – the young Nora O’Brien whose dreams have been dashed in a terrible way, then the young adult Nora who realizes her move to Scotland is not everything she’d hoped for, and last is the Nora who believes she finally has her life under control and going just the way she likes it. Unfortunately, life just doesn’t work that way at all.
After her father’s accident that has left him a bitter man, college and an exciting future are truly out of Nora’s grasp. Drudgery is her life, so when she meets Jim and Roddy, Scotsmen who are in the midst of an American tour, life becomes a bit more shiny for her. She enjoys a brief friendship with Jim and is saddened when the boys must continue their journey. Jim, however, is one to take a leap of faith and returns to Nora, asking her to leap with him – all the way back to Scotland. Knowing this is her chance, Nora leaves behind all she’s ever known to marry a young man she’s known only weeks.
Which doesn’t work as well as she’d though it would. Jim and Nora marry and are living near his family in Edinburgh, but her life has basically jumped from one prison to another. It’s when she meets a man one night in the bar where, with Jim and friends, Nora begins to realize she has to make more difficult decisions. Jim deserves better than she can give him, but before she can go forward with her plans, life deals her another blow that once again knocks her to her core. Trying to work through her grief and guilt, Aidan Lennox barges in to her small world again at the hospital where she entertains ill children, and life finally turns the way Nora needs.
It’s Aidan and his niece Sylvie who now make Nora happy. Just when you think that happiness is here to stay for them, life rears up to knock them all for a loop – along with a bit of manipulation from a devious corner. All is lost and each must go on the best they can without one another. Nora has finally attained a couple of her dreams – college and the theater – and she’s…content. Rid of the girl who had such a rough time with life before, she’s now determined to do what she wants on her terms. And then she discovers the subterfuge that pulled her and Aidan apart, but she’s reluctant to go back, to let life get hold of her like before. Even older and sexy Aidan has his moments when he feels betrayed, especially after Nora left him on the worst day of his life. But then again it’s Aidan who won’t let go when he finds out exactly what happened on that day.
These tortured characters careened into me at 100 mph and didn’t slow down one bit. I kept thinking, “When are they going to catch a break??” They even brought me to tears on that fateful day everything falls apart. Usually when a character hangs on so long to their old emotion and new outlook as long as Nora does, refusing to budge, it irritates me to no end. However, Nora goes through so much in her young life, I held my breath to see what she’d do next. Aidan is one of those heroes you’re going to love, no matter what. He’s a former playboy who steps up when his life blow forces him to become responsible. The secondary characters are all unique and fun in their own way, especially Roddy and Seonaid. Comic relief and some levelheadedness just when needed. I also like the unexpected turnaround with Nora’s mother.
A wonderfully told story that will creep into your heart with every page, along with every emotional upheaval imaginable as these characters go through life. From Peter Pan to Shakespeare, there’s never a dull moment. My decision to begin reading Samantha Young is one of my best in a quite a while.
Nora O’Brien chased a dream from Indiana to Scotland, so sure it was the right thing to do. Three years later she was left in her adopted country with nothing to her name but guilt and regret.
Until Aidan Lennox entered her life.
Older, worldlier, a music producer and composer, the sexy Scot should never have made sense for Nora. But somehow in each other they found the light they were looking for, the laughter and the passion—the strength to play on despite their past losses.
But when life dealt Aidan another unlucky hand, instead of reaching for her he disappeared. The agonizing loss of him inspired something within Nora. It fired her spirit— the anger and hurt pushing her forward to take control and reach for her dreams.
Finally pursuing a career on stage while she put herself through college, everything is how Nora wants it. She’s avoiding heartbreak and concentrating on her goals.
Sounds easy but it’s not. Because Aidan is back. And for some reason he hates Nora.
He’s determined to be at war with her.
And she has absolutely no idea why.
No excerpt available.