My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Superb. British writing at its absolute finest and (let me whisper it) my favourite in the series because – Henry!
Oh this book is just gorgeous, Henry has been in love with Ivo since he was 15 when the other boy was briefly his step-brother for a few short years. Ivo is his world, his best friend, the only person he’s truly honest with and never hides from.
Ivo’s a photojournalist and is often in the most dangerous places in the world and he’s been in love with Henry for quite some time too, only he’s too afraid to do anything about it for many complex reasons which I completely understood.
Both men have been influenced by how they saw their parents’ lives and Ivo is still trying to live up to his dead dad’s mantra of living a free life, even if it means he’ll lose Henry to someone else in the long run.
The UST in this book was so well done. It’s obvious to the reader, as it is to all of Henry and Ivo’s mutual friends, that they are both desperately in love with the other. But there’s no so blind as those who won’t see and there ensues a delightfully hilarious and quite poignant period of their lives when Henry is trying out dating and Ivo is seething in the background.
The push/pull is never too much, it never becomes a chore to read because it is handled so well by Lily Morton that you’re eagerly waiting to see what outrageous thing is going to happen next. There’s a bit more depth goes into Henry’s background and we’re introduced to his delightful brother Silas (book please Lily!) and it was great to see their relationship was one of mutual support and love too.
The letters which introduce each chapter were genius, so many times I was finding myself choking back a laugh at the escapades they got up to in the three short years Ivo’s mum was married to Henry’s father.
I don’t think I’ve actually laughed out loud quite as much as I did with this book, even Gabe and Dylan in Rule Breaker didn’t make me chuckle as much.
Henry and Ivo just get each other, they’re able to snark for England and this book is a tour de force of humour. I think some are those only another Brit can truly appreciate – like referring to someone you love affectionally as a twat.
There’s quite a bit of Gabe and Dylan in this one too, and we pop in with Jude and Asa as well, and all of it adds up to more of the banter that this series is known for. The Guess Who dinner party had me in fits of laughter with tears as the sarcastic wit flew around the room.
Gabe referring to Dylan as like a cold that sneaks up on you and damages your immune system when expressing how much he loves him was pitched perfectly in contrast to Henry’s vacillating about what he was going to do about Ivo.
Things eventually come to a head – literally – and the sex is off the charts with these two when 20 years of tensions finally explode. But it’s not just about the lust, or the getting off, each man knows the other intimately, their fears, hopes, what keeps them awake at night and the emotional bond which has tied their friendship together is stretched out almost to snapping point.
I just loved everything about this book. It’s the culmination of the two narratives which went before it in the Mixed Messages series and, for me, it’s the cream at the top.
While I absolutely adored Jude and Asa and loved the heck out of Dylan and vulnerable Gabe, there was just something about seeing two men who’ve both been in love with the other for more than half their lives finally realise that love was worth taking the risk which spoke to me.
I’ve been waiting for Henry’s story since he first appeared as Gabe’s best mate and, in Risk Taker, Lily Morton delivered – for me – absolute perfection.
#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.