Loyally, Luke

Pepper Basham’s epic Skymar trilogy ends with fireworks in this dazzling final installment, Loyally, Luke. I honestly can’t believe how perfect this series has become. The humor, romance, movie references, characters, and storytelling were top-notch. From the first chapter, the writing hooks you with its charm and comedy. Each book starts off light and fun, but within the feel-good rom-com tropes lie impacting messages that bring depth and heart to the plot.


Sometimes love means embracing the good, the bad . . . and even the impossible.

Dear Reader,

My name is Luke Edgewood, and there are few things in life that I require. Mainly black coffee. And flannel. And lots of solitude. And my dogs, Chewy and Indie. What I don’t need is romance, so I have no plans to change my thirty-year-old bachelor status anytime soon.

But my youngest sister thinks that by accepting a short-term construction job in the small European country of Skymar, I’m going to follow along in her footsteps and discover my own romantic adventure. Nope. Bah humbug. The End. This time, her rom-com-movie senses are totally wrong.

Or maybe not. Because I’ve met a Grace Kelly look-alike who is annoying . . . until she isn’t. But she is impossible. As in, nothing can happen between us because she is a literal princess. Even though that’s easy to forget when we’re working together to restore a castle-like orphanage in a secluded mountain town and “forced proximity” includes a small closet, a secret one-hundred-year-old journal, and the tactile memory of an off-limits royal in my arms.

Basically, the whole situation has turned into an ooey gooey magical snow globe of romantic tropes complete with cute kids and an actual ball. Now, even my sentences are starting to sound like mush. Ugh. Send high levels of testosterone my way—I’m going to need it.


“Sometimes the best people to come into our lives are the ones we least expect. The ones who we can’t see fitting, but they change everything. Even the things they don’t plan to change.” ~ Pepper Basham

I was really curious how Pepper Basham would write Luke’s story. After reading the first two books, readers will know how much he abhors technology and romance. Yet, Pepper deftly handles this challenge with grace and brilliance, taking us into the mind of this grumpy, black-coffee-loving, flannel-wearing countryman. The combination of texts and storytelling was perfect, making Luke’s internal journey and interactions all the more relatable and entertaining.

Luke really took me by surprise in this book. Every romance trope was thrown at him, yet he seemed to lean into it, proving that all along, he was a closeted romantic. I also respected how he remained firm in his standards and beliefs but welcomed change as God opened his heart to Ellie.

“Maybe this happily-ever-after gig wasn’t so bad after all.” ~ Pepper Basham

The banter in Loyally, Luke was nothing short of a gold mine. Luke brought a delightful juxtaposition of ruggedness and tenderness, making him a new favorite book boyfriend. On the other hand, Ellie added layers of reliance and growth to the narrative as she fought to rebuild her life. The mutual loyalty and commitment between Luke, Ellie, and their families were beautifully portrayed.

A standout aspect of this novel was how it handled adult topics with sensitivity and realism. Ellie’s past is messy, but her transformative journey is relatable. Pepper Basham’s portrayal of mature love was also refreshing. Luke and Ellie’s relationship was driven by more than passion and attraction; it was underscored with respect, understanding, and a realistic approach to life’s priorities. While most romances show protagonists sacrificing everything for their love interest Loyally, Luke showed that while every relationship comes with sacrifice, it’s admirable to hold tight to your family and duties. Fairytales are great fun to read, but (as Luke so often pointed out) they aren’t real. Not everyone has the privilege of living happily ever after, and this aspect of the story was really authentic, setting it apart from traditional romance narratives.

“Love held power, a truth he knew soul-deep. The earthly sort didn’t always prove magical—he had a track record to support a failure here and there—but the heavenly, pure, all-in kind sure did.” ~ Pepper Basham

The supporting characters were also brilliant with their quirkiness and meddling. Penelope remains the fiery redhead who believes in pixie dust and pushes Luke to embrace the fairytale. Meanwhile, Izzy was the bookish, clear-headed ally who helped Luke when things became messy. Ellie’s friend Maeve was also a great addition as she perfectly represented a girl’s best friend; I loved her nicknames for everyone.

The moral of Loyally, Luke is that God knows our hearts. He knows exactly what we need and has worked it out according to His plans. Even the things that seem impossible are possible for our God. If we put our trust in Him and release our deepest desires into His care, we will see how our stories are written according to His perfect timing.

“Why would God send someone so . . . interesting into her life when she couldn’t allow herself to even consider a future with him? To strengthen her self-control? To help her prove she’d changed? She shook the thought away.” ~ Pepper Basham

Loyally, Luke ticked all the boxes and brought this series to the perfect close — you will be satisfied with everyone’s ending. I cannot rave about the Skymar trilogy enough; it is the perfect summer read that will have you booking a ticket to a foreign country in search of a bookshop owner, accountant/dancer, or prince. 😉

“Izzy: Oh my word. I hate to sound like Penelope . . .
Luke: Don’t.
Izzy: But this sounds like a movie moment.
Luke: You can’t join her side, Izzy. You’re the reasonable one.” ~ Pepper Basham

*Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing me with a pre-release copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own*

CLICK HERE to order a copy of Loyally, Luke

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Positive content: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Godly content: ⭐️⭐️

Sexual content: ⭐️
Age: 15+

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