My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I had the biggest book hangover after finishing Luke.
It’s no secret Con Riley is one of my favourite authors, but with this one she truly excels as we finally get Luke’s story. And what a heart-wrencher it is.
He’s been hopelessly in love with Nathan since they were teenagers at university. Nathan is Hugo’s best friend, who we’ve met briefly before when we got a sneaky look at their interactions when they went to rescue Charles from the Tors.
But here we get to find out the full, tortured (emotionally not physically!) history between the two of them, from when they first met, their recollections of each other (this is single POV from Luke but you get to know Nathan beautifully), all their fears and the dreams which may have come to a crashing end.
Glynn Harber is as much a part of this story as the romance between Luke and Nathan and we also get to see a surprising new side of Sol’s ex Austin, who readers may have taken a dislike to in the previous book.
Without going into massive detail, this book explores what makes a friendship, why a friendship might turn to love, how that love can be battered and bruised but still cling on to faint hope and how, when that hope is rewarded, all the hurts from the past can slip away and new memories be found to patch over them.
Luke is, hands down, my favourite of all the three men Con has given us in the Learning to Love series (sorry Charles, I do still love you, sorry Mitch, you are still the GOAT when it comes to telling home truths), because there is something so vulnerable at the core of the man yet his steely determination and stern outlook hide it deep within.
Nathan brings Luke into the light. He lets him return to his younger, more carefree, self, but he also helps shore up that backbone of steel when it’s really needed.
This book is also emotionally intimate, especially when Luke is still trying to hide his feelings from Nathan. His vulnerability is something precious and to finally see that taken care of, as it should be, as the book reaches its conclusion, really is quite magical.
As ever, I alpha read this for Con but don’t take that as me having any inherent bias towards the work, she’ll be the first to tell you that I let her know when something isn’t quite right. All the words are her own wonderful imagination and skill 💖
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review