This ... is more like it.
Having not enjoyed the previous installment of Long's Pennyroyal Green series I began this one with some trepidation. But my worries were not founded as the magic had returned. Fewer typos too so I guess the publisher pulled it together as well.
This story was fun, especially in that it starts with one well-worn trope and suddenly and unexpectedly slingshots to another. What I loved about that sudden change was that it was completely organic and came about in a way that I'm always hoping for but never get to see. Often I read along wondering "what would happen if they just spoke to each other about their thoughts/worries/suspicions?" Well, Genevieve and Alex did and it was such a refreshing change. But the old trope couldn't stand after that, of course, and that was just a nice surprise.
Alex's late wife was not turned into a shrew, but remained a happy, if painful memory for him, which was a nice departure. Genevieve is funny, yet kind and sensible in her dealings with other people. I thought their romance moved forward naturally and with believable chemistry.
My only real problem comes with the ending. I was thrilled that Long finally included an epilogue since her stories typically end very abruptly, but by the end of this story I was getting weary of Genevieve's blockheadedness where her feelings were concerned. It would have been nice to have had some more time at the end to settle into those feelings and trust that they were true and would endure. That's the problem with the abrupt ending -- the reader often feels unsure of the HEA. The epilogue was a quickie wrap-up and didn't really provide that settling in either, so ... that's why I give it four stars instead of five.
I'm off on a search for a flow chart of the Redmund and Eversea families because there are just so many characters and I think it's time I became familiar with their names. It can be confusing.
I recommend this series if you like historical romance. Julie Anne Long has a real gift for humor and chemistry and some lovely romantic moments.