It’s always exciting to find that a favorite author has a new book out and you weren’t even expecting it. That’s what happened to me with Oz, because I just happened to stumble upon it and then couldn’t wait to start reading immediately. In all my enthusiasm, I didn’t even realise that this is Silas’s story, who is Henry’s brother from Risk Taker and that’s just more icing on the cake.
Oz is such a delightful character to read about that I fell in love with him instantly. He is sassy and flamboyant and very very sarcastic, and his takedowns of anyone who behaves wrongly are truly epic. Despite his working class, single parent upbringing, and losing out on many opportunities in his desired field due to his not being from the upper class, he is very proud of his accomplishments and when he puts his mind to a job, he is dedicated and gives it his full. However, he believes no upper class guy can ever love him due to his background and that’s why resists his feelings for Silas for a long time.
Silas may have the title Earl of Ashworth, but he is a vet who loves his animals, works all hours and is always ready to help anyone in the community – he is truly the salt of the earth. He is also very loyal and compassionate – may be even too much which leads to quite hilarious situations. Despite growing up with an abusive father and a snobbish uncaring mother, he adores Henry and truly loves his home, and wants to make sure his family legacy is not lost.
Silas and Oz may seem very opposite on paper but they are just perfect for each other. Oz comes to love the warm and decent human that is Silas and the quiet Cornish coast starts feeling like home, whereas Silas loves Oz for bringing light to his life and treating him like a normal person and not the aristocracy. Their banter from the first conversation is to die for and as the book went on, I only kept craving for more and more. They may not express their feelings to each other, but the love is palpable through the pages and there are absolutely no pretenses.
I was definitely hoping for some cameos and was so happy when Henry and Ivo showed up. They instantly approve of Oz, which I knew was going to happen and I’m so happy that they and the infamous “coat room” play a pivotal role in cementing Silas and Oz’s relationship. I also kept imagining Gabe and Oz having a conversation and if that ever happens, I just know it would be heights of sarcasm and laughter.
Niall, the estate manager is a true friend and I admire his talent in choosing Oz for the job after that disaster of an interview. His accidental matchmaking skills are definitely on point.Milo comes off as very shy and flustered at the beginning and I thought he might be too pretentious to be Oz’s mentee, but their friendship is such fun. Milo really comes into his own through the course of the book and I was waiting for the scenes where he shows his own sassy side. I’m pretty sure the next book is going to be Niall and Milo’s story and it can’t come soon enough.
And how can I forget the most important characters of the book.. the animals – Kylie the sheep, Boris Johnson the blonde golden retriever and the huge Italian Spinone Chewwy. He is probably the grumpiest and the laziest dog ever but is totally enamored with Oz and follows him around everywhere. Chewwy is definitely the star of the show here and I loved him as much as our couple.
What more can I say about Lily Morton’s writing that I haven’t already in my three previous gushing reviews (Rule Breaker / Deal Maker / Risk Taker). She writes the most fun, lovable characters and I personally haven’t encountered another author who can top Lily in witty banter. I highlighted soooooo many conversations in this book and if I ever reread (which I know I will), I’ll probably be annotating more, because every conversation is fun and memorable. However, I do implore you not to read any of her books in public or when there are people around – you definitely need the freedom to laugh uncontrollably without feeling embarrassed or scaring anyone else 😁😁😁
The one thing I found very different in this book was the setting. Mixed Messages series is completely set in London but here, the Cornish coast and Ashworth House itself become like a character. The house, the gardens, the beach, the coast side amphitheatre that Silas takes Oz on a date to – they are all described so beautifully that I couldn’t help but fall deeply in love. I’ve always wanted to visit London but now, I certainly want to explore more of the coast and the countryside.
I’ll just end by saying go read this book. It works well as a standalone, but I highly recommend the Mixed Messages series too. If you like awesome relationship dynamics, lots of humor and excellent banter, you can’t go wrong with this one. It’s also equal parts sweet and sexy and utter joy to read.