Ornamental (Irons & Works #8) ~ E.M. Lindsey
It wasn’t that Luke was unhappy at Irons and Works. After all, that was his home, his family, his safety.
But watching everyone around him fall in love was a bit much when every single relationship he’d tried to maintain fell to pieces. Was he just unlucky, or was there something about him that was just fundamentally unlovable?
What Luke doesn’t expect in answer is an older man with greying hair and eyes that look like they’ve seen into the core of the earth.
What he doesn’t expect is for Tony to introduce everyone to his half-brother.
And what he most definitely doesn’t expect is for that man to zero in on Luke, and decide
—whether Luke likes it or not—that he’s the only thing in the shop he actually wants.
I found Ornamental to be a beautiful and fascinating reading experience. It is a story that ticks many of my boxes: two characters that are far from ‘perfect’, who are perfect for each other; age gap; bisexual awakening; and a nice dose of hurt/comfort angst that mixes up the rhythm of the story but doesn't overtake it and make it a heavy read.
One aspect I found fascinating was the depiction of someone living with Tourette's Syndrome. I knew very little of this condition except for the sensationalised swearing and outbursts, which, it turns out, is not that common but is used as a popular stereotype in the media.
Raf's struggle and determination to manage his condition was both heart breaking and heart warming. His belief that his condition meant that he had to isolate himself from his brother and that the re-occurrence of his regular tic attacks meant that no one would be interested in him long term, especially not someone so much younger than he was, actually brought a tear to my eye.
E.M. Lindsey outdid herself with these characters. All of them were special, but it's the Luke and Raf show in Ornamental, and boy, it was way too easy to become wholly invested in them. Both Luke and Raf had their issues to overcome, but their devotion to each other was always evident, even from early on in their friendship. They were both genuinely beautiful men who deserved their hard-won happy ending.
Ornamental was a very slow burn, physically at least, but it really didn't feel like a slow burn story. Emotionally, it was at a fast simmer for most of the book where Luke and Raf danced around each other, neither believing the other could be really interested long term.
E.M. Lindsey weaved an enchanting tale that hit all my emotional buttons. I ran the whole gamut of emotions, smiling one moment, a bit teary the next, then laughing out loud. It was an experience that kept me on my emotional toes, and I loved every moment; it was never dull!
Ornamental is the eighth book in the Irons & Works series, but it can be read as a standalone. I have only read the first book in this series, and I had no trouble following along with Ornamental.
However, be warned. Many of the characters from previous books feature heavily in this one, and while you can enjoy the story without knowing their backstories, you will want to go back and find out everything – I know I do!
Ornamental was a wonderful and memorable reading experience from beginning to end. I highly recommend it!