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    Can I Tell You How Much I Loved This?

    "Our story begins right where the Epilogue of The Legend of Lyon Redmond ends . . . " FINAL DECISION: Passionate, optimistic, emotional and funny this was a book that made me smile, sigh and just feel better about the world. Thankfully, Malcolm & Isabel's story lived up to the promise in THE LEGEND OF LYON REDMOND. THE STORY: Isabel Redmond, raised in a series of foster homes, comes to Pennyroyal Green having discovered a long family history centered in this English town . Under the historic trees that have seen centuries of lives in Pennyroyal Green, Isabel meets Doctor Malcolm Coburn. Instantly there is something between them that could change both their lives if they are willing to take the chance. OPINION: The epilogue of historical THE LEGEND OF LYON REDMOND jumps again centuries and introduces readers to the contemporary world of Pennyroyal Green. Centuries after the events of the Pennyroyal Green series, readers are introduced to Isabel and Malcolm. Readers got to see their first meeting and that moment which changes everything. Reading reviews of the book some readers were confused by the epilogue, but I have always believed it is part of the greatness of THE LEGEND OF LYON REDMOND. A promise that the love that Lyon and Olivia not only is a "they lived happily ever after" but still resonates through the centuries. And that moment that occurred centuries before -- two people who see one another and just KNOW still happens. To me the epilogue said, the lives and loves of the characters in the Pennyroyal Green series mattered and continue to matter. This story picks up EXACTLY after the end of the epilogue. Isabel and Malcolm have met and this book tells their story. This story reminds me of the famous Faulkner quote: "The past is never dead. It's not even past."  The history of Pennyroyal Green lives in these contemporary characters. Not that they don't have their own paths, but there is something incredibly comforting thinking that all the lives of those who have gone before have significance in the present. Isabel, an American, has arrived in the English town Pennyroyal Green after discovering her own heritage. She is a thoroughly modern woman who designs jewelry and likes music. She seems well adjusted but definitely has abandonment issues.  Isabel doesn't connect deeply easily. Malcolm is a doctor who has been around the world but come to build his life in a town which is home to him. (He also happens to like the same type of music Isabel does!) He is dedicated to his profession and to the town. He feels solid and committed to his profession, but he remains disconnected from any romantic attachments. I really liked Isabel and Malcolm. Their connection is palpable, sweet and geeky in the best of ways. Anyone who has had the experience of meeting a person and immediately wanting to talk the night away, will recognize these characters closeness. This is not a story about external obstacles. There are some small difficulties which arise, but the real obstacles for these characters are their own emotional lives. Can a chance meeting change your life? Are you willing to risk pain and rejection to take a chance on that possibility of something more?  These characters can't be safe and take things slowly and carefully. Life demands these characters take big risks and open themselves up to pain and rejection. In this shorter novel, the obstacles they have are more than enough to fill the pages. Like the characters, this novel is big and open about the emotions. I really enjoy Long's writing style which often feel like an ode to love. As a result, the story feels eternal and big and important. I left this book warm and happy and just smiling more about the world. I read this book through at a rapid pace, and then immediately went back to my favorite sections. And even as I write this, I'm tempted back into Isabel and Malcolm's story. I know this will be a story I return to over and over again. WORTH MENTIONING: Please, oh please, Julie Anne Long write the stories of the other characters in Pennyroyal today. I have hopes that there will be more since this book is billed as Pennyroyal Today. I want to know about Finn and Poppy and Liam (the new dishy vicar) and the current owner of Eversea House, and the "very private" head of Redmond Worldwide. Long has a knack of writing a community of characters who are intriguing and have complexity. CONNECTED BOOKS: MALCOLM & ISABEL should be read after the epilogue of THE LEGEND OF LYON REDMOND. It is certainly possible to read this book after reading only the epilogue, but why not treat yourself and read the amazing Pennyroyal Green series? STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.
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