It’s rare to find a series that book after book never disappoints, never fails to capture my attention and make me fall head over heels in love with the characters, but On Dublin Street is not only one of these extraordinary instances, it is also a series that never stopped getting better and better. Two characters oh-so easy to love, an emotional storyline that kept me glued to my seat for hours on end, literally gasping for the next page—this is a book I adored and could not walk away from even days after I first finished it, needing to re-read parts of it over and over again. I have never not loved a Samantha Young book, but this one just might be my new favourite.
“Are you a hero, Cole Walker?”
“What is a hero, really?”
“I suppose it’s someone that saves people.”
“Yeah, I supposed it is.”
“So, do you save people?”
“I’m only fifteen. Give me a chance.”
Shannon and Cole met as teenagers, for a brief but unforgettable moment in time, and while their lives have led them onto very different paths, they both ended up becoming survivors of the cruel hands that fate has dealt them. While Cole’s childhood has been marred by neglect, and physical and psychological abuse at the hands of his only parent, he has grown into a kind-hearted and protective young man, whose ‘tatted-up’ bad boy appearance stands in stark contrast to his true character. Shannon’s emotional scars, on the other hand, come from a different but no less traumatic place. Every single relationship that she has been in has left a bad taste in her mouth, her last one leaving her battered both physically as well as emotionally. Moving to a new town might seem like the only way to escape her painful past, but she soon realises that no matter where she goes, her memories would inevitably follow.
“…somehow, hopefully, along the way I was going to find the girl I’d lost because of him.”
When Shannon steps into Edinburgh’s most revered tattoo studio looking for a job, she has no idea that her new boss would be the same boy she walked away from nine years before, the vivid memory of him still very much alive in her mind. But Cole’s tattoos and cocky demeanour remind her also of every bad boyfriend she has ever had, making her misjudge him at first sight. And no matter how charming or friendly he is towards her, she rejects both his friendship as well as his not-so-subtle advances, making it crystal clear what she thinks of “his type”.
“…Cole Walker represented everything wrong with my life and the choices I’d made thus far.”
But appearances can be deceiving and, soon, Shannon realises that she might have made the biggest mistake of her life by pushing Cole away. And that her own prejudices could cost her the affections of the best person she has ever met.
“You really are the biggest disappointment, Shannon MacLeod.”
While this is a truly heartfelt romance between two people you cannot help but fall madly in love with from the moment you meet them, this is also a story about knowing when to put the past behind you, learning from it but not letting it affect your future happiness. Shannon’s unfortunate past has the power to either define her or make her even stronger than she is. Having loved someone who constantly belittled her, made her believe she was talentless and stupid, and unworthy of someone like him, has not only damaged her self-esteem and confidence, but it also made her distrustful of her own ability to judge a person correctly and not to make the same mistakes again. Having someone like Cole Walker in one’s life, however, is all the motivation a girl needs to put her big girl panties on and take a chance.
“That wasn’t my voice in my head. That was someone else’s and he did not get to win like that.”
This is an inspiring tale of courage and resilience, framed by a beautiful and truly touching love story, and I ate up every hypnotic word of it. Ms Young never lets me down, always blows me away, and rarely leaves me in a state where I’m quite ready to enjoy another book. It’s been two days… maybe it’s time for a re-read!
“I’m going to f*ck every bad memory of those unworthy gits out of you, even if it takes me a lifetime. Starting tonight.”