Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and—most of all—himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations.
Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who lives in a world of hair gel, fake tans, and fashion shows. By his own admission, Darian isn’t the crispest lettuce in the fridge, but he cooks a mean cottage pie and makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of anxiety.
But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can’t see past the glitter to the light. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can a man who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own?
Glitterland is my first m/m romance and while I’ve read m/m romance with supporting characters, I’ve never experienced an entire novel about it.
And let me just say, it’s absolutely FANTASTIC!!!
“I was playing games with myself, putting up a show of resistance, as if I could take it or leave it. But the truth was, whatever the price, I would gladly pay it just to feel…better. Connected. Human. Alive. Anything at all.”
I was definitely hooked from the start but I had a hard time connecting with Ash and I can’t specifically tell you why. As the story progressed I came to understand him and his struggles a bit better but there were plenty of times that I wanted to slap him repeatedly. He definitely had a douchey quality but Darian made up for that.
“My world was one of only broken images, like I was standing always on the threshold of a mirror, unable to tell the reflection from the real. The shining city and the blasted heath-the truth lay somewhere between, a thin grey line, slender as the edge of knife.”
Darian is someone I was able to connect with immediately. Oh my goodness, I thought he was perfect!!! He’s not refined like Ash but his character, his heart and the truth he spoke made him incredibly compelling which made him completely endearing in my eyes. I fell for Darian as quickly as Ash did and don’t worry, there was no insta-love but perhaps, insta-lust and I was totally okay with that.
“The sight of him stirred a wanting that was starting to feel familiar, though it was less frantic tonight. It was a warm, steady thing, like a heartbeat.”
The dialogue in this story is priceless because it felt genuine, nothing was forced. Alexis Hall really took his time in developing the characters and the overall story seemed quite clever, not to mention everything wrapped up rather nicely.
“So what else you into, then? I mean except reading and writing, talking like the Queen, and dressing like my granddad?”