Sol by Con Riley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
They own me ❤🥰🔥😚💦🤪
So, it’s no secret how much I loved Charles and HHH.
But when I started reading the first draft for Sol and Jace, I knew that they’d be very quickly taking the top spot on my list of characters that take hold of my heart and don’t let go.
Sol is mired in a life he hadn’t expected and didn’t want. He’s suddenly got his teenage nephew with all his feelings of loss and grief over the death of Sol’s mum, who had essentially brought up Cameron since he was a baby when his own mum became incapable of taking care of him.
They’re also reliant on Sol’s position teaching Art at Glynn Harber and the scholarship which is paying for Cameron’s education.
So when the school becomes threatened, headmaster Luke’s last ditch attempts to raise awareness – and money – puts Sol on a collision course with the most famous person he knows, Cornish artist Emily Pascoe and her son Jace.
Jace, the guy who awoke his bisexuality with a kiss one stormy night 15 years earlier, before Sol was snatched away by his father to go live in London. Someone who Sol’s never managed to forget.
This book is more angsty than Charles’ so I do hope people don’t expect more of the same because this narrative is focused way more on finding a new path, a new family, a way to connect with both a troubled teenager and how to reconnect with a former school friend who could have been so much more if life had taken a different path.
I adored watching how Sol and Jace reconnect. At first it’s physical, their initial meeting and the smexy time which follows is incandescent. They burn up the pages and can I just say, I LOVE how Jase hides nothing about his feelings.
He tells Sol he never forgot him, that Sol broke his heart and that he’s never been able to move on and he is all in for whatever Sol wants to give him. There’s no artifice with Jace when it comes to his feelings.
The secret he’s hiding though plays a major part in the overall series story arc which is focused on Glynn Harber’s future and the wider implications of events from 15 years earlier which will continue on into Luke’s book.
This is one of the things I love so much about Con’s worlds, they’re all subtly interconnected and you sometimes don’t realise it until two or three books later (hi Ed and Pasha in this series 😁 ) when something that might have been a throwaway line becomes a key component.
It doesn’t affect those who haven’t read previous books, it’s always self contained within the current book, but it provides a lovely Easter Egg for fans of her work.
And, without giving anything away, I’m just gonna throw a shout out to the GOAT Mitch, who lays some home truths down on both Sol and Cameron on a visit to The Haven where they’ve gone to see Cameron’s mum.
This book was cathartic for me at times. It introduces some really thought provoking ideas about street art and graffiti and the validity of it both as a medium for expression and creativity, but also as a form of protest.
As an amateur artist (albeit one who hasn’t created properly since my early 20s!) I find the idea of protest in expression through creative methods to be powerfully moving. Think of Picasso’s Guernica or The Face of War by Salvador Dali and they instantly evoke a feeling of horror.
Anyway, this is approaching an essay rather than just a book review 😁 so I’ll finish it off by saying this book will make you cry if you’re that kind of a reader, it will give you hope, it lays down the foundations for Luke’s story and it throws in a few twists that I don’t think anyone will be expecting.
It also has a perfect pairing in Sol and Jace. Two people who are given a second chance and they hold on to it with everything in their power, pouring that love out to enclose Cameron and to look at forging a new path together.
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review
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