Review: The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings by Lily Morton 2019 11 14
After his long-term relationship ended due to a cheating boyfriend, Levi Black is eager for a new start. He has recently inherited a house in York, and a change of scenery seems perfect. When he arrives, Levi learns that no one seems to keep the house for long, but he doesn’t think much of it until he actually moves in. Then the house is full of banging and mysteriously opening windows and all kinds of weird and frightening occurrences. Levi has never believed in ghosts or the supernatural, but something strange is definitely going on in his house.
When Levi encounters Blue Billings, a local ghost tour guide, he is hopeful the man will be able to tell him more about the stories surrounding his house. Blue is willing to help, but he is also wary and wants to keep his distance; Levi seems so kind and genuine and Blue has long learned to protect himself and his heart. But when Levi learns Blue has been living on the streets, he insists that Blue stay with him while they dig deeper into the mystery.
As Blue and Levi spend more time in the house, it becomes even clearer that something quite sinister is happening. While Blue has long known about the existence of ghosts, Levi is forced to accept the reality as things escalate to real danger. As they spend time together, the men also begin to fall for one another. Blue has tried keeping his distance, as he knows he shouldn’t come to rely on Levi. Once the ghost problem is resolved, he will have to be on his way. But he also can’t help how hard he is falling for Levi. For his part, Levi has grown to care deeply for Blue as well, and he is determined that there be a chance for a real future between them. But as the men get closer to the truth about what his happening in Levi’s house, the danger continues to grow. If they can’t figure out how to stop the ghost that is threatening them, the men could find themselves the next victims.
The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings is Lucy Morton’s first foray into paranormal and I absolutely went crazy for this one. You probably know I am an enormous fan of the author’s humorous contemporary stories, so I was really eager to see how things would go with this new genre and I was just blown away. The story is everything I want in a scary paranormal — interesting world building, great suspense, a good dose of horror, wonderful romance, and just enough humor to balance out the scarier parts. I just adored everything about this story and found myself both dying to race through it, but also sad because I didn’t want to be done.
So let’s talk ghost stories here. Morton does a great job building the horror and suspense and we slowly see the danger increase and the mystery unfold as to what is going on in Levi’s house. This is a contemporary with a paranormal twist and Morton gives us enough world building to explain a little about how ghosts, mediums, and psychics all work. It helps to round out the story by building more depth into the house haunting than just scary happenings. We also learn more about some of the local ghost legends in York with Blue as our guide, and his experience and research helps to really develop the mystery. Morton takes this story into some scary places; I definitely felt like there were plenty of thrills and truly dangerous moments, and the book is quite exciting. I also really liked the mystery as the men dig more into who the ghost is and what it wants. The supernatural side of things just comes together so well, with just the right amount of scary and enough depth to make it an engaging mystery.
I also absolutely loved Blue and Levi together. Levi is generous and caring and you can’t help but root for him. He is still mourning his mother’s death, and having his long-time boyfriend cheat on him has really thrown him. When Levi realizes Blue is homeless, he doesn’t hesitate to invite him into his home. He is just so good and kind and sweet. But at the same time, Levi is a strong character who is brave and fights for others and for himself. This house is his dream, his chance to start over, and he is not about to roll over and give it all up to some vengeful ghost. Blue is one of those characters I totally love — a bit prickly with a mushy interior. He is sharp and self-sufficient and a little world weary from what life has brought his way. Blue hasn’t had an easy time of it and he has learned to become self-reliant by necessity. He tries to put up walls with Levi, but Levi is so kind and warm and loving, Blue finds himself unable to stay away. Deep down Blue needs that love and, in turn, he is willing to do anything for Levi. These men are so dedicated to each other that I got all the warm fuzzies from their romance.
This wouldn’t be a Morton story without at least a little snark, and the balance here is so well done. The book doesn’t have the laugh out loud humor of many of her contemporaries, but there is plenty of banter and playfulness between the men that adds just the right dose of lightness. It helps to provide some lighter moments to balance out the scarier aspects of the ghost story. And the lighter interactions and witty exchanges also give some balance to keep the romance from being overly sweet.
So I just loved everything about this book. The romance is lovely, the ghost story is thrilling and scary, and the mystery kept me fully engaged. I am thrilled to see that this book is marked first in a series, as I would love more stories for Levi and Blue. If you are looking for a great paranormal with just the right amount of heart, suspense, and humor, definitely check this one out.
P.S. Can we just talk covers for a moment? I went crazy for this one and I love how well it captures Blue. So gorgeous! I will note for clarity that this is not a historical, despite Blue’s clothes (he dresses that way for his ghost tours).