This story takes m/m to a different level. In fact I'm not sure it's what most people would describe as m/m. A relationship is certainly at the heart of it but it explores all the peripherals that cluster around relationships that m/m frequently ignores. Often the two heroes exist in a vacuum but here both Edward and Alec are surrounded by people all of whom have their own agenda. Even the bit part characters one sees once are provided with enough meat to their bones for one to make a guess at some kind of background for them. Oh and the history! God I remember that Boxing Day snowfall [and the 12 hours it took to get from London to Herefordshire]. But even for those who aren't old enough to be yipping 'oh I remember that' every so often the book depicts the age with uncomfortable accuracy. I read it with increasing pity for all the characters but especially for the narrator, Edward, a deeply civilised man giving in to impulses he doesn't understand and cannot explain even though he knows they are, by everything he has been taught, wrong.
So yes, it's a must read, and if I were you I'd make sure you are somewhere warm and quiet and comfortably lonely because snivelling on the bus or at your office desk in your lunch hour can be a bit embarrassing.
4 stars up above, but I think it's probably worth a good bit more than that.
A very descriptive story of forbidden love, told in the voice of the author / main character and set in an age where homosexual love between 2 consenting people was still illegal.
It was a story I couldn't put down, and right through to the end (and it's only in the last few pages, it starts to hit home what course the end will take) I was hooked and engrossed.
Find yourself a quite corner and have a tissue or two handy for the end, you're going to need it. The memory and effect the ending has on me was quite powerful and stayed with me for a good few days afterwards! This is certainly a story I would revisit again, further down the line (if you will forgive the pun)!
This book has been 'parked' on my Kindle for 2 years. I was aware of the historical background so I knew that there cold not be a HEA . Finally read it this week - wow.I can only echo what other reviewers and say this is a deeply moving story and stays with you long after you have read it. I have read most of Erastes' offerings (the author specialises in m/m historical fiction) and this is her finest work.
The story of tragic lovers Edward and Alex sets the bar so high that it is where fiction becomes literature. Beautifully nuanced and written, and every character is fully realised. The subtle use of historical referencing that makes the story feel authentic and believeable. Erastes skillfully captures the stifling environment of English middle-class surburbia in the early 1960s. She depicts the lengths one was required to go through at a time when such relationships were illegal (homosexuality was not decriminalised until 1967 in the UK, and the age of consent for gay men was 21). Edward is thoroughly decent chap whose infatuation , and eventual love , for the teen boy 'next door' will lead him on a journey of deception, delusion and ulitmately tragedy.
There are no winners in this tale. I even have sympathy for Edward's wife Val, a former tennis star hopeful, who struggles to fulfil her role as the dutiful wife, and yet is clearly a highly intelligent and beautiful woman hemmed in by the social expectations of the times.Erates book calls to mind the 1961 British film 'Victim' which was released in the same period as the setting for this story. However the film 'Brief Encounter' (made in 1945) is a better comparison, and referred to by the main character.
The book skillfully demonstrates how desire, lust and love can lead the most buttoned-up individuals to throw everything away. There's much more I can say, but others have already submitted better reviews that me , and I do not want to give away the plot. I will say that this is one the most rewarding books I have read in a while and I look forward to Erastes' next work .
A book that you should only read if you are sure about yourself. The ending of this book is not for the faint hearts. The book is not an action, rapid story full of twists and turns but a simple plot that could so easily be happening down your street or in your friends or relatives house, how well do you really know those around you. A simple plot but a plot which will make you laugh with joy and weep with pain and sadness. You should read this book, but beware it may trouble you for months after.
I'm not going to write a recount of the story in this review because reliving this story is just a one-way trip to Weepsville for me and I can't afford the therapy.
So this is just my own thoughts:
I feel as though I have been plonked into a mincer, feet first, while Erastes has slowly turned the handle, reducing me to a wobbly pile of goo, which can never, never, however hard I try, be moulded back into quite the same person I was before.