Review: A Collar and Tie (Ganymede Quartet #4) by Darrah Glass

A collar and tie are more than just clothes. 

To Henry Blackwell, they represent freedom and choice. They don’t mean as much to Martin, but he wears them to the Metropolitan Ball, an exhilarating rite of passage for masters and slaves alike. At the party, drunk on champagne, Henry convinces Martin to act against his better judgment with devastating results. 

Fearing Martin will be taken from him, Henry does what he believes necessary to keep Martin by his side, but Martin doesn’t agree with his methods, and they’re at odds when they most need to act in concert. Henry feels he’s been wronged, but can he find it in his heart to forgive Martin? Perhaps more importantly, does he deserve forgiveness himself? 

This is the fourth and final installment in the Ganymede Quartet, continuing the story from A Willful Romantic (Ganymede Quartet Book 3). 

Upon finishing this book I immediately thought about where it all began, how far they've come and what the future holds for Henry and Martin then I felt bereft.

I'm not ready to let them go! *wails*

They're only 17! They've got a whole life in front of them and I want to sit side-saddle for their adventures, see Henry grow into himself and run his own household. So many things he's going to do and see and feel and discover that I won't be privy to anymore. I believe this is what's known as separation anxiety.

Honestly, I have to hand it to Darrah for making these characters so authentic; they have elicited surprising and sometimes irrational emotions from me. It's been well established that I'm #TeamHenry, but the possessive and protective feels I have towards him caught me off guard. Case in point, I was perusing some of the other reviews/comments and someone called Henry dumb and I bristled and started defending him! A fictional character! 

Despite my reluctance to let go of Henry and Martin this was a rewarding end to their story in so many ways. Henry grows up a lot and learns some hard lessons. He realizes his father may be intimidating, but he cares for him deeply and will look after him come hell or high water, if in a brusque and efficient manner. He also begins to test his wings in society and comes to realize he has some influence over his peers. He and Martin solidify their relationship, though they do have to go through the wringer to get there. Henry makes a rather impetuous decision that brings with it some pernicious consequences. 

Henry is devastated. Martin is devastated. Everyone notices that they're devastated. It was really quite devastating! But still, I sided with Henry and wanted to make him lemon cake and tell him everything would work out. I know, I know. I don't even have a defense. My brain logically knew Henry was in the wrong, but my heart told my brain to fuck off because Henry's so completely besotted with Martin and he felt the betrayal acutely! 

They do have a lot of fun before and after their conflict and an abundance of vigorous sex with pockets of poignancy like Martin choosing to sit at Henry's feet. I loved that! Henry's education at Martin's capable hands expands exponentially. They're sickeningly in love with one another and can be saccharine which I think is brilliantly executed by Darrah in its teenage authenticity. Henry has been sheltered and is naive so the intensity of his feelings rang true. Henry is still adorably bashful and persistently blushing which everyone seems to comment on. He's still the quintessential dandy and so wants Martin to share in his sartorial interests, but Martin has no designs on dandihood. He wants things from Martin that Martin doesn't want for himself and Henry coming to grips with these differences and learning to communicate and compromise is heartbeat of this final installment.  

I attribute 95% of Henry's blossoming to Martin's unwavering devotion, support and love. Without it Henry would likely wend up being a shell of a man.

The writing, world building and historical references are all exceptional, as always. Darrah Glass is a skilled storyteller and how much devotion and time she's spent building this world and these characters shines through not just in this installment, but all of them. The secondary characters are just as richly vibrant as the main characters from Jesse and his ebullience to Cora and her strange morbidity; they all added to the experience. I did miss Reggie, though. I was certain he was going to have a larger role in this book. But at the end of the day what I liked best was the message of generosity of the human spirit and how it can affect the recipient and just how easy it is to extend.

A lovely series that is sure to become a comfort read in the future and has wormed into my heart and onto my favorites list along with its predecessors, all of which are highly recommended.

I'll continue to hold out hope and offer shameless bribes... 

In the vain hope that Henry will come back to me one day. 

Until we meet again. 

A review copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

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