This post contains reviews for the Finding Home series:
- Oz (#1)
- Milo (#2)
- Gideon (#3)
- Short Stack (follow-up stories)
Oz (Book 1)
Though it can stand alone as a book, I’m pleased that I had additional background regarding Silas’ family and family history when going into this book. Henry and Ivo make excellent appearances, and it’s always fun to check in with beloved characters further along in their own story.
But this story is mostly about Oz, who has terrible luck (taste) in relationships that result in him once again being out of a job and home. His best friend finds him the perfect opportunity, and Oz applies on a lark. Perhaps because he intentionally bombs the interview, he gets the job, which puts him face to face with the man of his dreams (even if everyone except Oz and Silas is aware of their potential).
I appreciate that while both men have been burned by pursuing relationships with employees/employers before, here it is less an issue of angst and more a source of honest communication. This is partially due to how Morton develops Silas and Oz as characters, but it was a refreshing change from so much fiction where no one can have a direct conversation to save their lives.
And that dilemma isn’t even the dark moment! For all that Morton’s romantic comedies make me laugh, they frequently also make me cry. I didn’t quite shed tears during the dark moment of this story, but I still felt for the characters as external forces attempted to batter the strength of their relationship. Once again, the issue is handled with active communication and (mostly) direct honesty.
I don’t think I could pick my favorite pairing out of Morton’s books, but Oz and Silas are definitely up there. I’m so pleased that the next book of this series also takes place at or near the Cornish estate I’ve also fallen in love with.
Milo (Book 2)
We meet Milo and Niall in the previous book in this trilogy as part of the found family at the Chi an Mor estate. They couldn’t be more different, so I knew a romance between them would be incredibly fun as it unfolds. When Morton immediately reveals that the characters had known each other for long before they had a working relationship, I knew it would be even more delightful. Then, Morton bursts our bubble by throwing a ton of emotional baggage Milo’s way and sets up Niall as essentially unattainable (the usual brother’s best friend shtick, with the bonus that the brother also occasionally sleeps with the best friend).
Except Morton is also a master at character development, and it is with great glee that I watched Milo break out of his shell and Niall finally acknowledge the truth about what he wants out of life. At first, the interactions between them are played off as a friends with benefits situation (with an “educational” bent), but after a brief dip into my favorite “idiots in love” trope, the happily ever after is there for both men to grab with both hands.
I glanced at a few other reviews of this book, and it seems like many other readers declaimed Gideon (the afore-mentioned brother) as the villain of this book for the way he pushes against the obvious attraction between Milo and Niall. I viewed it more as a man carrying a lot of emotional baggage himself, watching as his carefully curated life changes against his will, and lashing out against the people he loves because he knows it’s safe to do so. I’m thrilled that the final book in this series involves Gideon finding his own happy ending.
Gideon (Book 3)
I’m not sure I could have enjoyed this conclusion to Gideon’s story more. Though this book can easily be read as a stand-alone, reading it as part of the complete trilogy (especially book 2) gives it added depth and a more complete storyline. I never saw Gideon as the villain in his brother’s book, and that interpretation is reinforced here. The background of his family life and how he first broke into the entertainment industry plays a lot into his current lifestyle at the beginning of this story. It adds to the compassion I felt for the character even before he hit his lowest point.
My favorite vacation is being on a cruise ship, so I’ve also always got a soft spot for books that take place there, no matter the genre. It’s possible to meet the most interesting people there, and I think the best moment of this book is the private conversation that Gideon has with Constance when he finally acknowledges his truth out loud for the first time. In true Morton fashion, the scene is poignant and hysterical simultaneously.
Eli is the perfect foil for Gideon, but I’m not sure their “relationship” would have worked out had they met at any previous point in Gideon’s life. Eli is pretty much exactly what Gideon needs, even when it’s painful to them both. Luckily, the emphasis Eli places on creating a solid basis for their relationship is the final impetus Gideon needs to live his authentic self to more than his closest circle. As a bonus for the reader, this book features multiple characters from this trilogy who offer him the support and love he needs to create a truly heartwarming story beyond the surface romance.
I’m excited to dive into Morton’s collected short stories also set in this world, but I certainly wouldn’t be mad if she were to set more books (romance or otherwise) in Chi an Mor. I don’t suppose Blue and Levi need to have a talk with Lionel at some point…?
Short Stack (follow-up stories)
This collection contains follow-up stories to the six pairings in this trilogy and the previous set in this world, Mixed Messages. It definitely helps to have read each of the previous books to get the full context of the characters and their individual romances.
I usually review collections by picking out my favorite story and the story I’d most love to see expanded into a novel. I found it hard to do so here, but this highly enjoyable set of further glimpses into these excellent characters’ lives did finally help me pick a favorite couple. (It’s totally Jude and Asa. Except when it’s Dylan and Gabe or Milo and Niall.)