Book Title: Merry Measure by Lily Morton
Published: December 2, 2020
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Arlo Wright’s introduction to his sexuality came when he saw his older brother’s best friend, Jack Cooper, in his sweaty football kit. Unfortunately, he didn’t have long to enjoy the revelation because he promptly knocked himself out on a table.
Relations between them have never really moved on from that auspicious beginning. Arlo is still clumsy, and Jack is still as handsome and unobtainable as ever.
However, things look like they’re starting to change when Arlo finds himself sharing a room with Jack while on holiday in Amsterdam at Christmas. Will the festive spirit finally move them towards each other, or is Arlo just banging his head against a wall this time?
From bestselling author, Lily Morton comes a warm romantic comedy set in chilly Amsterdam.
In true Lily Morton’s fashion, she delivers an entertaining read, full of love, fun, and Christmas feels.
🔍 How I Discovered It
When I got this on my email last December, I took it as a birthday gift. But it was a gift I’m wary to get. You see, I love Lily Morton. Her works usually appeal to me, and Merry Measure has a big appeal — it contains one of my favorite tropes and released at the time when I was craving for something Christmas~y. Everything seemed perfect, too perfect. There’s just one thing that pulls me back. As I hate to admit to myself, Morton’s books are more of a hit or miss.
But hey, it’s a not a long read, and I really like the premise enough to throw caution to the wind.
▫️ Set in Amsterdam
The story is set in Amsterdam, and Lily Morton describes the lush details of this place well. Imagining the city with snow falling all around it gives the perfect Christmas backdrop for Merry Measure. It’s even more of a delightful read when you see Arlo and Jack fall in love with the sceneries and then, fall in love with each other. The whole place just gives off that romantic holiday feels.
▫️ Arlo and Jack (plus their support system)
Alright, Merry Measure has an exquisite setting. What makes it more enjoyable are the characters especially the main couple.
I like Arlo. He is like the combination of every snarky and funny Morton character. He is fun to be around, and you can’t help but sympathize with his one-sided crush for Jack. I find it cute how he gushes over the older guy and how he tries to read into Jack’s every word and action. Totally relatable. He is also a klutz. Though sometimes, I have to wonder how he functions as a teacher with the level of clumsiness he has. He’s like a walking disaster that I have trouble imagining him teaching kids.
Jack is just as amazing and hot to boot. Some might call him a dormant, but I can actually understand him. He’s such a giver, and he’d lived his entire life trying to please and appease his parents. So it makes me happy that for once in his life, he finally claims something that he likes for himself, not because it’s what his “norm” dictates.
I love how Arlo and Jack are not all physical attraction, but they also have chemistry as friends. It’s cute how they try to be subtle with their feelings when it’s so obvious even from a mile away lol. While their scenes give me warmth, sweetness, and fluff, I love how it suddenly goes to sexually charge too. There is definitely no shortage of smexy scenes here.
Aside from the main couple, there are also some notable side characters that make this book an even more enjoyable read. I love the close-knit friendship between Arlo’s brother — Tom, Jack, and their other friend, Freddy. They look after one another and so are their respective partners. Jack needs this kind of support system that supports and not judge him for his wants.
However, with the characters’ history, there is an abundance of talks about their past. It’s like on every page, one character would say “Do you remember the time…” and then they proceed to walk down memory lane. Mind you, the anecdotes are funny, and it shows the personalities and backstories of the characters that we don’t otherwise see given the length of the book. But if it happens every turn of a page, it gets tiring. I just want to move on and see Arlo and Jack explore Amsterdam and not go on a trip to their past.
▫️ Steven – the cookie cutter Lily Morton villain
Why am I not surprised when Jack’s ex, Steven, makes an appearance at the most inopportune moment? It almost always happens with Morton’s books that I’ve read. The evil ex comes creeping in to show how the main couple fits each other. He’s a condescending guy that feels like he only appears to cause suffering to anyone around him.
Thankfully, his appearance, while annoying, drives the main couple to be together even more. None of those awkward morning-afters or prolonged misunderstandings.
🥰 Who Would Like It?
Fans of Lily Morton, and those who like a short and funny read.
📚 Related Books
There is also a short story with the title, Somewhere in Between which I believe is available for the newsletter subscribers of Morton’s mailing list. The short story is set in between the last chapter and the epilogue showing how Arlo and Jack manage their temporary long-distance relationship and how the meeting with Jack’s parents go.
It’s a fun short story and yay for more Arlo and Jack. We finally get to meet Jack’s parents who are a lot like Steven. I can’t say I like them or that they are bad parents just because they have a very different approach and views in life. They’re just a little too extreme for my taste, and I can’t blame Jack if he wants to go a different way in life.