My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewing an Alexis Hall book is always difficult. Mainly because the man’s writing is so poetically beautiful that you hardly feel worthy of writing anything after having read it. The prose is flowery and beautiful and probably not for everyone, but it speaks to me. And so does the stories behind the words. Pansies is no exception.
Alfie Bell is a small town Northern boy, who have moved up in the world. He is working as a banker in London, living in a penthouse in Canary Wharf, driving a sports car, visiting the newest and hippest clubs and bars with his friends and earning loads of money. He apparently has it all.
Unfortunately Alfie is in no way comfortable in his life or in his own skin. He is finally out, after a lifetime in denial.
A trip home to South Shields for his best friends wedding ends in a chance encounter and hook up with a man Alfie doesn’t recognise until after the deed. Fen was the slight effeminate boy whom Alfie used to bully mercilessly growing up and now he is suddenly everything Alfie wants.
This slow moving romance is beautiful and the characters are complex real people with all their flaws, insecurities and cowardice. This is mainly Alfie’s story. Alfie who has to find out who he really is, now that he is Alfie Bell, gay. And not Alfie Bell, one of the lads.
I read this is one sitting, so even if it is slow moving and quite long, it still kept me engaged all the way through. In pacing it probably feels more like ‘Waiting for the flood’ than the other Spires stories, there is not a lot of action per se, but there is loads of character growth and relationship growth. And once again Alexis Hall explores the cultural diversity in modern Britain, dialects and all, which I always find fascinating.
To summarise: this is another achingly beautiful romance from Alexis Hall, which I believe will once again be a love it or hate it type of book. I loved it!