The Cuckoo's Call ~ Lily Morton
Note to self, reading a Lily Morton book at 4am is a bad idea unless you want to wake up everyone in your house because you're laughing too much. But I couldn’t put this book down. The prologue of this book, let me tell you, I was hooked. And then I never was able to stop reading and read most of it in one sitting.
I don't know what's with me with books that are meant to be lower angst and feel-good stories because I spent half of this book crying my eyes out. I was really invested in the characters and their lives and I just felt so sad for them because of what they were going through.
As we will come back to later, this book wasn’t a perfect book for me, but I rate books 5 stars based on how I felt when I read them, and this book made me feel all the feels. I had one of the best reading experiences I have ever had in my life.
In the first half of the book, Wren, who's 22, is on vacation in Majorca. He goes to the hotel's restaurant and is invited to dinner with a good-looking older man, Mateo. Turns out that Mateo is the owner of the hotel, and he invites Wren to help him buy new hotels in Majorca. They do that together for the rest of the week. Mateo lives in Venice and Wren drops everything to join him there so that they can spend more time together. But will it truly be a happy ever after for them? Mateo does not want to be in love. And Mateo is very rich while Wren is not and Mateo's family is very disapproving of Wren, which is what the second half of the book focuses on.
First, I always love the humour Lily Morton puts in her books, but the snark, banter, and self-deprecating humour really were on point in this book. I spent half the book laughing at the comments made by the characters even when we were in sad moments in the book where I should have been doing anything but laughing.
Also, special mention to all the comments this book made about how having money isn't always the key to happiness and how having money can sometimes be deceiving. I loved them very much. A lot of this book focuses on money, as Wren doesn't have much, and Mateo is rich and from a rich family. I loved how this book highlighted how life can be very different for people in the same situation, depending on your financial situation.
Second, I loved how this book was split. I loved that we got to see how they met and their connection before we got to the part where things weren't going that well in their relationship. It really helped me understand why they were fighting for their relationship and why they were good together.
“You’ve given me so much you’ll never understand, and I want you to know in your soul how grateful I am and that I’ll never regret meeting you and having this wild adventure. Always remember that.”
Third, Wren was so lovely. I absolutely adored him. He was such a strong character, and I loved how he wasn't scared of standing up for himself, he never let anyone walk over him, and it was lovely to see. Plus, he was just a very well-rounded character; he sounded like someone I would have loved to be friends with. Mateo was also a very good character, and I loved him. I liked reading about how Mateo was very bored with his life and trying to find a way to get out of the rut he was in; it was very well done and was very nice to read about.
Fourth, I really liked these two together. They were a really nicely suited couple, and I loved how they complimented each other so nicely, Wren was sunshine personified, and he always seemed to make Mateo the happiest he has ever been; it was very lovely to read about. Also, Wren was such the perfect balance for Mateo.
“You’re like my lighthouse, Wren. You show me the way, and your light is so clear and warm.”
Fifth, you know what I love in books? A romance where one of the characters is reluctant and believes that he will never fall in love because he’s scared of being in love. As was the case with Mateo. He feared being in love after seeing his parent’s relationships. I loved how he was so outspoken about never wanting to be in love, all the while clearly falling in love with Wren. I liked how he realized that he was in love only after he was, because his love for Wren just hit him out of the blue. That feels so real compared to my own life experiences and I loved reading about it. I liked how Mateo was super attentive to Wren and clearly broke a lot of his barriers for him, even when he didn't want to fall for him. It was just so sweet to read about.
”I love you. I love the way you hug me so tightly. I’ve never had that before, so I didn’t know how it would make me feel so safe. I have felt more alive with you than at any time in my life. I love you for the way you make me laugh and the way you listen to me. No one has ever really done that before, so it’s a bigger gift than you know.”
Sixth, the sex scenes in this book, were just so good. I loved them very much. I loved how they were long and descriptive and full of all the tender feelings they were trying to not feel for each other. The sex scenes really served as a perfect showcase of the love they feel for each other.
Seventh, the scenery was lovely. I loved how it felt like I was travelling to Majorca and Venice with the main characters of the book due to how well everything was described, and I really loved it. Also, I liked how the settings had different effects on the characters and their moods; it's very realistic that some places make you feel better than others, and I loved how the book showed that.
Eight, the narration really worked for me. It had both of their points of view, but we got more chapters in Wren's head than we did in Mateo's head. Wren was just an awesome narrator, I loved being in his head, it was just the best. I liked how the Mateo chapters were always used to highlight a big point in the books or to show his feelings for Wren, it created a very nice balance while I was reading the book.
Ninth, Wren is an avid reader, and this book was filled with references to books and I appreciated reading them so much. I loved how much this book was dedicated to Wren's love of books, it really worked for me.
Tenth, just a quick rundown of the things I liked a little less in the book, they never really impaired my enjoyment of the book, but I just want to mention them. There is a part of this book that is told from Wren's point of view, and we get to see him be sad because Mateo is pulling away from him and not really spending time with him. Mateo was working, so it's understandable, but I was reading through Wren's head how sad he was about it. It made me really sad for Wren. Wren had lived his life going from family to family in the foster care system, and he never felt like he belonged anywhere. All he wanted was someone to call his. So, it broke my heart when he was saying how he knew that Mateo would never be that for him. Also, I don't like the idea of someone showering you in gifts as a way of making up for not being present; it doesn't fill the void of the person not being there. Spending time with someone will always beat out gifts for me, so I wish that Mateo made more time for Wren instead of buying him so many presents.
Also, why were most of their friends and most of Mateo's family the meanest characters I have ever had the chance of reading about? Most of them were just so mean and not worthy of their friendships or time. Also, these two didn't have the best communication ever, but I could understand it in this context, so it never really bothered me.
Side note I really appreciated all the little references to other Lily Morton characters. I absolutely loved reading this book; the reading experience was wonderful.