Spires book 4
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publishing date: October 8, 2016
Length: 376 pages
Reviewed by Meredith
Alfie Bell is . . . fine. He’s got a six-figure salary, a penthouse in Canary Wharf, the car he swore he’d buy when he was eighteen, and a bunch of fancy London friends.
It’s rough, though, going back to South Shields now that they all know he’s a fully paid-up pansy. It’s the last place he’s expecting to pull. But Fen’s gorgeous, with his pink-tipped hair and hipster glasses, full of the sort of courage Alfie’s never had. It should be a one-night thing, but Alfie hasn't met anyone like Fen before.
Except he has. At school, when Alfie was everything he was supposed to be, and Fen was the stubborn little gay boy who wouldn’t keep his head down. And now it’s a proper mess: Fen might have slept with Alfie, but he’ll probably never forgive him, and Fen’s got all this other stuff going on anyway, with his mam and her flower shop and the life he left down south.
Alfie just wants to make it right. But how can he, when all they’ve got in common is the nowhere town they both ran away from.
There’s no doubt that Alexis Hall is an amazingly talented author. We really see that talent shine in Pansies. The descriptions, dialog, and emotions fell off the pages like poetic tendrils. They completely wrap you up in the moment and moments that Fen and Alfie live.
Between the story are letters Fen is writing to his mother and you can feel how wonderful that relationship is. I found myself wondering if I was that close to my own mother. Now, when the book starts it is Fen’s mother and father we are introduced to and that opening ends up being vitally important. I didn’t appreciate it at the time but like me, you will too.
The concept of this story was so interesting. A long ago bully, Alfie, goes to a bar and flirts up a man from his past. He doesn’t recognize who this guy is and of course they sleep together. Fen, is his past and the object of Alfie’s past bullying. I kept reading this wondering if Fen would really and truly forgive Alfie for the bullying he caused him in high school. I will say Fen did not make it easy on Alfie. There was a tremendous amount of push and pull with these characters. Aside from working out their own relationship they are both struggling with other issues that surround their identities.
A lot of conflict in Pansies. Like I said Alexis’ writing is exemplary. Truly a work of art. I don’t think I could even attempt to describe a moment the way Alexis does. If I had any issue with this book, aside from some language (dialect) issues, I’d say it was the undecided factor between Fen and Alfie. There was this love hate thing going on for so long in this book that when it was finally love I found myself asking, “Are you sure this time?”
Other than that this book rocked my socks clean off! Beautiful.
About Alexis Hall
Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.
He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.
He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.
He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.
Connect with Alexis:
To celebrate the release of Pansies, one lucky winner will receive their choice of 3 ebooks from Alexis Hall’s backlist. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 15, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!