quiet house coverRating: 4.25 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Blue Billings and Levi Black have been together about a year now and their lives have largely gotten back to normal. After Levi’s house was revealed as the site of a renowned murder and the men revealed a ghostly presence, the pair gained some fame around York. But now they are hoping for a quiet Christmas holiday as Blue prepares to move in with Levi. The two are happily in love, Blue enjoys his job working at the bookstore with Tom, and Tom continues to mentor Blue regarding his psychic abilities. If both Levi and Blue worry at times the other can do better, it doesn’t stop the love between them.

Unfortunately, the calm is destroyed when Blue’s estranged father shows up. He has never been a part of Blue’s incredibly challenging life, even when Blue was on his own at such a young age. But while Levi wants nothing to do with the man, Blue can’t help but hope his father can answer questions about his past, particularly about his mother. Rather than a reunion, what Declan wants instead is to have Blue come to his employer’s house, a wealthy viscount who is turning his home into a ghostly hotel. The viscount wants Blue to reach out to the ghosts in the house to help find stories with which he can regale the guests. While Blue has no interest in the job, he can’t resist the chance to maybe learn more from his father, so he and Levi, along with Tom, head out.

The home is certainly macabre, and the viscount seems to love showing off his grisly family history. But soon it becomes clear this is more than playing at haunting. Something sinister is in the house, something that is clearly escalating the longer the men are there. With a house full of people, things are clearly dangerous, and Blue and Levi refuse to leave anyone at risk. But with vicious spirits (and some foolish humans) involved, they will all be lucky to make it out alive.

The Quiet House is the second book in the Black and Blue series, reuniting us with Levi and Blue. I just adored the first book, The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings, and it was one of my favorites of 2019. So I was thrilled when Morton decided to revisit this world with a second book. I think she makes a wise decision by moving the guys out of York to a new location, as things are mostly settled in their own home (though their resident ghost still likes to hang out with them). So here we see the men travel to the spooky, isolated moors into a house of horrors. While at first it may seem that it is all a rather grisly show (think beds made from gallows and death mask art displays), it is soon clear that there are real spirits and real dangers here. What’s more, things are escalating at an alarming rate. As with the first book, the situation gets truly terrifying here. This is a full blown ghost story with horrors, thrills, and some pretty intense moments, and Morton manages it all so well.

What balances out the scary side of things is the lovely relationship between Levi and Blue. At the start of the story, we see that both men are in love, but worried about the other’s feelings. They each fear that they aren’t quite enough for the other. So here we see the true bond between Levi and Blue, the way they love and care for one another, and the way they will sacrifice anything to protect each other. There is a fun lightness to their relationship that helps break up the scarier moments. And I love the way that Blue has learned to let himself be more vulnerable with Levi and trust that he has a soft place to land after so many years of struggle. The two men balance each other out so well, with Blue the more impulsive, the one that charges ahead to do what is needed, while Levi is the steadying presence who helps keep him rooted. They are so great together, and this story takes their relationship even deeper than we saw in the first book.

So this one was so much fun (and totally scary too). I am really loving this series and just adore Blue and Levi. You will want to read Blue Billings before picking this one up, and then settle in for the delightlful ride!

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