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1921: a boy, a girl, a moonlit midnight kiss. A terrible, repulsive kiss. ‘A glorious celebration of queer friendship and all kinds of love. Funny, outrageous, heartbreaking and so much fun.’ KATE DAVIES AIS 6: Bettina and Bart have grown up as best friends, so surely they will end up together? After all, Bettina is young, rich, headstrong…. and gay. Bart is young, rich, cha 1921: a boy, a girl, a moonlit midnight kiss. A terrible, repulsive kiss. ‘A glorious celebration of queer friendship and all kinds of love. Funny, outrageous, heartbreaking and so much fun.’ KATE DAVIES AIS 6: Bettina and Bart have grown up as best friends, so surely they will end up together? After all, Bettina is young, rich, headstrong…. and gay. Bart is young, rich, charismatic… and also, definitely, gay. Any doubts are dispelled by, in short order: that ghastly kiss; a torrid encounter for Bettina in the school boiler-rooms; and an eye-opening Parisian visit for Bart. Society will never stand for it. What else can they do but enter into a ‘lavender marriage’ and carry on indulging their true natures in secret? As the ’20s and’ 30s whizz past in a haze of cigarettes, champagne and casual sex, Bart and Bettina have no idea that they are hurtling, via Hollywood and Egypt, Paris and London, towards tragedy and bloodshed…


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1921: a boy, a girl, a moonlit midnight kiss. A terrible, repulsive kiss. ‘A glorious celebration of queer friendship and all kinds of love. Funny, outrageous, heartbreaking and so much fun.’ KATE DAVIES AIS 6: Bettina and Bart have grown up as best friends, so surely they will end up together? After all, Bettina is young, rich, headstrong…. and gay. Bart is young, rich, cha 1921: a boy, a girl, a moonlit midnight kiss. A terrible, repulsive kiss. ‘A glorious celebration of queer friendship and all kinds of love. Funny, outrageous, heartbreaking and so much fun.’ KATE DAVIES AIS 6: Bettina and Bart have grown up as best friends, so surely they will end up together? After all, Bettina is young, rich, headstrong…. and gay. Bart is young, rich, charismatic… and also, definitely, gay. Any doubts are dispelled by, in short order: that ghastly kiss; a torrid encounter for Bettina in the school boiler-rooms; and an eye-opening Parisian visit for Bart. Society will never stand for it. What else can they do but enter into a ‘lavender marriage’ and carry on indulging their true natures in secret? As the ’20s and’ 30s whizz past in a haze of cigarettes, champagne and casual sex, Bart and Bettina have no idea that they are hurtling, via Hollywood and Egypt, Paris and London, towards tragedy and bloodshed…

30 review for The Inverts

  1. 4 out of 5

    Simone

    A huge thank you to the publisher for sending me this book. I hate writing bad reviews because I know there's an actual human being behind this who put a lot of effort and time into writing this. And I implore you, if you're the author and don't want to see negative things written about your work, please stop reading here. I initially gave this book two stars after finishing it because I thought: Well, I did like the first 100 or so pages. Then, after sleeping on it, I just couldn't. And here is A huge thank you to the publisher for sending me this book. I hate writing bad reviews because I know there's an actual human being behind this who put a lot of effort and time into writing this. And I implore you, if you're the author and don't want to see negative things written about your work, please stop reading here. I initially gave this book two stars after finishing it because I thought: Well, I did like the first 100 or so pages. Then, after sleeping on it, I just couldn't. And here is why. While the story itself sounds like fun and glam and two best friends making the best of being stuck in the 20s (all things that drew me to this book), that took up about one chapter. Everything else was just a little off for me. There's this added "suspense" with a murder mystery shoved in there which was the biggest anti-climax I've ever read in my life. It's there in the first chapter, it's there in the last chapter but it's... not exciting an dare I say even a little boring? Okay, let's talk about the characters. I didn't like any of them. Not a single character. Not one. There were some that had moments where I felt like I could start to like them only to be absolute idiots a second later. It is hard to read a book if you're not rooting for anyone or even sympathising. Especially when they're the main characters. Why did I not like them you ask? Well, this ties in nicely with my next point. Who here loves trigger warnings? I do. Because there are just some things that I stay away from. From how this book was presented, I did not see suicide, drug abuse (though let's be real, it's the 20s, I did expect drugs in one form or another), sexual harassment, murder, a very weird fascination with genitals and so on and so on, to be in this book. But it was. The MCs also came across a bit predator-y with both of them fancying anyone of their own gender with a pulse and constantly daydreaming about sex. Except for one time, when one of the MCs did more than daydream and actually harassed their household staff. And when the person resigns, they think about how that's ridiculous and over reacting. Just no. Generally, this book relies a lot on disgusting descriptions and I am not quite sure why. Everything smells horrible, everyone's teeth are rotting, if someone is losing bodily fluids we WILL know about it and I don't like it. I also didn't like the obsession with genitals. I did not need to know how every single character's genitals look like ESPECIALLY those of kids. I kind of kept slowly blinking at the book when the description of a newborn was 5 lines long and 3 of them was about genitals. NO. I even read this part out to three friends to see if I am being too "snowflakey" but they were absolutely horrified. So was I and I still am, frankly. After that, I kind of just wanted this book to end and I was only about halfway through. Not that I would have missed a lot if I'd stopped right there and then because to me, my summary is that I wish I hadn't read it. I was triggered, I felt really anxious during and after reading it, I was disgusted and uncomfortable and for the murder mystery then ending like that was... well, a letdown honestly. I wouldn't recommend this book. Sorry. edit: I forgot about the fatphobia. Which is there all the time. It's gross.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Toria

    Nope, a bit yucky nope. I did not enjoy the crude and over the topp "humour" with gentails and bodily fluids and fat shame thrown in there as well. I was looking forward for this book about two queer people decided to get married to each other to make it look like they follow social rules. Bettina loves women and Bart loves men. Set in 1920. It does sounds like it was going to be a great story but no. I did not like it one bit. It was way to much for me. Nope, a bit yucky nope. I did not enjoy the crude and over the topp "humour" with gentails and bodily fluids and fat shame thrown in there as well. I was looking forward for this book about two queer people decided to get married to each other to make it look like they follow social rules. Bettina loves women and Bart loves men. Set in 1920. It does sounds like it was going to be a great story but no. I did not like it one bit. It was way to much for me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    renée

    ‘The Inverts’ is a novel about a pair of best friends, one a gay man and the other, a lesbian, who lived their youth in the 1920s. It’s an interesting book, with a very raw writing style: it told things as they were, as they happened, with little to no romanticization. Both Bart and Bettina, the main characters, are shown as deeply flawed, in a way that felt human. While it ached to read some things, it felt real. I disliked (I’d even go as far as to say that I hated) some things, that I’m not su ‘The Inverts’ is a novel about a pair of best friends, one a gay man and the other, a lesbian, who lived their youth in the 1920s. It’s an interesting book, with a very raw writing style: it told things as they were, as they happened, with little to no romanticization. Both Bart and Bettina, the main characters, are shown as deeply flawed, in a way that felt human. While it ached to read some things, it felt real. I disliked (I’d even go as far as to say that I hated) some things, that I’m not sure whether they were intentional or not. I despised Jean, one of Bettina’s lovers, finding no redeeming traits in her character since the moment she appeared and her sole existence made me want to give up on this book, which I only changed my mind about when I thought about this review. And I thanked heavens when she stopped being a constant in the narrative, because boy, was I tired. She wasn’t funny, or caring, or sweet, or… even interesting! No redeeming traits whatsoever. Besides, the first time Jean and Bettina had sex, it felt deeply uncomfortable, since it didn’t seem like Bettina wanted anything more than a few kisses. One thing I rather enjoyed was the use of LGBTQ+ artists as a way of mentioning you’re queer, as well as trying to figure out if the person you’re interested in is as well. Bettina mentioned Sappho several times to several of her love interests, and Étienne, Bart’s partner, read him poems by Rimbaud. There was also Bart using Polaris, a secret subculture code used by gay people during early 20th century. It’s a very straightforward reading, which is refreshing at times, but it also affected the book negatively to me, as there were many time skips that didn’t allow the reader to actually see the drama, which were the consequences of their actions and more details on how they dealt with them. It’s a book about the roaring ‘20s, followed by the Great Depression in 1929, then the World War II. There was a brutal change in their lifestyles, but I couldn’t see that much of a difference. I’d say it’s one of those cases where the author tells instead of showing. There are also several lines about fat people and overweightness in general that made me uncomfortable, as a fat person and a lot of focus on genitals, almost portraying them as something that equals sexuality (liking dick doesn’t necessary means liking men), which, as a trans person, made me uncomfortable. Yeah, transgender people weren’t as mainstream as they, we, are today, which already isn’t a lot, but I’m sure that within the queer community, at least, there was some knowledge about it. But then again, the protagonists are rich, selfish and egocentrical, privileged people who don’t realise their privilege, and the characters being… well, not exemplary people, that was a point that made me find the book enjoyable. They’re deeply flawed and I don’t think Crystal Jeans tries to prove otherwise. Overall, it’s an entertaining book, with a few good lines and some positive characteristics, but it’s no must-read masterpiece. The idea of it is wonderful, but could’ve been developed way better. I do think it’s a good start for works about platonic queer relationships, which is what I was seeking with this book (I’m a lesbian and my best friend is achillean, so I was looking for a representation of that. Needless to say I didn’t find it, but it can inspire other queer authors to write something with a similar concept). To be fair, I was really looking forward to youthful, over the top queer best friends, with all the glamour of the jazz age, a fun book, turning into dramatic in 1930, with their financially stable families entering into poverty, a decrease in their comfortable life conditions, and all the losses brought by war. It did have some of these aspects, of course, but it wasn’t what I expected it to be. So, if you’re looking for a book with a fast rhythm, with a simple writing style and with a lot of sarcastic comments and flawed characters you can relate to but also hate and feel angry towards, then it’ll be a good reading to spend some time with.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Lynn Smart

    I really wanted to love this book. It had all the makings of an instant favourite, judging by the blurb. It sounded like fascinating, featuring two gay best friends who marry each other and navigate their way through the Roaring 20s and onward. I expected queer history, a bit of fun, and a story of friendship. Yeesh, was I wrong. The story starts strong, with a glimpse into the lives of Bart and Bettina (our queer best friends) back in the early 1920s, then veers off into the 1990s, with hints of I really wanted to love this book. It had all the makings of an instant favourite, judging by the blurb. It sounded like fascinating, featuring two gay best friends who marry each other and navigate their way through the Roaring 20s and onward. I expected queer history, a bit of fun, and a story of friendship. Yeesh, was I wrong. The story starts strong, with a glimpse into the lives of Bart and Bettina (our queer best friends) back in the early 1920s, then veers off into the 1990s, with hints of a murder mystery type situation. Then we shoot right back in time again to when Bart and Bettina first start to come to terms with their queerness. It looks to be a promising tale, with touches of scandal and salacious behaviour (or what was considered as such back in the 20s). The characters seem interesting enough, although I don’t actually like any of them. So far, so good. But as the story carries on (for far too long, to be honest), I realise that all the characters in this book are awful, horrible people. They stop being interesting after a while and just become predictable and boring in their constant repetition of self-indulgent, vile behaviour. I don’t mind horrid characters – in fact, I rather enjoy a good villain. But these petty behaviours aren’t worthy of the term ‘villain.’ One could make excuses and justify their obnoxious behaviour by pointing out that it wasn’t easy being queer back in the 20s – naturally, they’d have repressed anger and act out against how unfair life was for anyone outside the regimented ideas of ‘normal’ conduct. Except that they’re behaving badly towards each other, rather than railing against the outside world that’s done them harm. And the characters in this book are all rather well-to-do and are pretty much able to carry on as they please, albeit behind closed doors. You almost want to tell them to check their privilege. And the murder mystery that was hinted at in the beginning of the book comes crashing back in at the last minute, and isn’t that big a deal, really. By the time it gets to the point, you’ve almost forgotten there was an element of mystery to begin with. As far as any queer history – there are a few little references scattered about – Polari is mentioned, as is Radclyffe Hall – but the characters themselves live in such a bubble that until the war comes along, the outside world doesn’t seem to affect them. I also didn’t enjoy the writing itself – don’t get me wrong, the structure and style area sound and rather masterfully executed, but the content is frequently, well, gross and crude, to put it bluntly. I’m not a prude or squeamish by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems like the author couldn’t go more than a couple of pages without mentioning snot, vomit, farts, saliva, or some other bodily function. The characters all ‘fuck’, rather than make love or have sex. Thighs are described as resembling slabs of meat on a butcher’s counter; breasts are blue-veined. And everyone seems to have terrible breath, usually saturated with garlic but occasionally with onions, whisky, smoke, or just a simple ‘sour’ taste. I looked up the author’s blog, and apparently, this grossness is just her thing – I believe she has a post about something to the effect of ‘women can be gross, too’. She may think she’s being edgy and feminist and so on, and if that’s her style, then good for her. For me, it felt forced, like someone who goes out of their way to say ‘fuck’ in every sentence for shock value, as if to say, ‘See how outrageous I am!’, rather than just making an intelligent argument. There also was a fair bit of fat-shaming, and generally disparaging references to people’s looks. Not to mention the fixation on genitals – I’m not sure if it would count as transphobic or even transphobic-adjacent, but it was uncomfortable to read. I shall shut up now, as I don’t like writing bad reviews – once I get going, I get mean and petty about it. And let me just point out – Crystal Jeans has successfully published a few novels, and I haven’t. She is an actual author, and I’m just someone running her mouth on the internet. And most of the other reviews of this book are positive. So, ya know. All of this is just my opinion. Feel free to read this and make your own. Thank you, NetGalley, for providing a copy of this ARC in exchange for what is probably a far-too-honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review – as always, thanks so much to Netgalley for sending this to me! The Inverts follows Bart and Bettina, two best friends who share a unique predicament: their sexuality. Bart is gay, Bettina is a lesbian, neither will ever be satisfied in a heterosexual relationship. The only sensible option, of course, is to marry each other. After all, they’re best friends, platonic soul-mates – what could possibly go wrong? The book s I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review – as always, thanks so much to Netgalley for sending this to me! The Inverts follows Bart and Bettina, two best friends who share a unique predicament: their sexuality. Bart is gay, Bettina is a lesbian, neither will ever be satisfied in a heterosexual relationship. The only sensible option, of course, is to marry each other. After all, they’re best friends, platonic soul-mates – what could possibly go wrong? The book spans several decades of Bart and Bettina’s ‘lavender marriage,’ as they navigate various secret love affairs: Bart’s relationship with a French artist, Etienne; Bettina’s schoolgirl fumbles; Bart’s secret nighttime trysts in parks; new love unexpectedly found in war-torn Britain. I’m obsessed with this dynamic in fiction – a gay man and a lesbian becoming best friends and marrying to help protect one another – and these two were fantastic. They love each other, they hate each other. Their friendship, idyllic to begin with, is at times toxic and turbulent, but they care so much. They’re the definition of ride or die, and I loved their dynamic. It’s worth mentioning that neither of them are saints; they’re messy, cruel, manipulative, stroppy, and kind of awful in a way that makes for fantastic reading. If unlikeable characters are a deal-breaker for you, this book might not work for you, but I had so much fun. Even when they were awful, they were entertaining, and what else can you ask for? I feel like it’s been well-established that historical fiction is not generally my thing. I’m a contemporary girl, but I’ve wanted to get into historical settings, in particular the 1920s, which is a period I’m very drawn to on an aesthetic level. I’ve read so many books set in this era, chasing a very specific, Gatsby-esque atmosphere: glitter and corruption, prohibition, decadence, flappers and finger waves, and I’m overjoyed to say that I finally found it. This book was all sex, drugs, more sex, booze, old movies, boarding schools and mansions and rolling countryside. It had a strong sense of time and place that was really grounding, and I think the author did a great job of capturing the feel of each time period. The best way I can describe this book is Oscar Wilde meets The Great Gatsby; it’s decadent, queer as hell, super messy, and filled with awful but amazingly compelling people. It also gave me Addie LaRue vibes in some ways – Bart’s first love, Etienne, reminded me irresistibly of Remy, a character Addie loves and loses all in one night. I was genuinely so pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this book, with all its mess and mayhem. It was, at its core, a book about queer friendship and solidarity. I didn’t realise how long I’ve been looking for a book like this until I found it. That being said, there were a few issues that I had with it. Firstly, as mentioned, the book is told in a series of snapshots as we fit bits and pieces of Bart and Bettina’s life together. At times this worked well, but other times it made things feel disjointed and a bit disorienting – sometimes we skip a few days, other times years, and scenes would start and finish in the middle of nowhere with no real sense of context. It was almost as if some scenes had popped into the author’s head half-formed, she’d put them into the book and left it at that, an approach I can definitely sympathise with as a writer – but as a reader, it doesn’t really work. I felt some context was sorely needed in some instances. It almost felt more like a screenplay in some ways, with these random jumps in time and place. (As a side note, if this were a movie, I’d SO watch it. Hollywood, take notes.) There’s also some weirdness with the framing narrative. The story opens with Bart and Bettina’s kids all grown up, there’s some vague murmurs of a murder, which is swiftly forgotten and not referred to again until the end. I think this was supposed to inject a sense of intrigue into the narrative, but because it’s never brought up again, it just felt kind of pointless – like it was being dangled under our noses the whole time but without any additional hints or allusions to what might have happened, just the vague knowledge that it was a thing and would presumably be addressed again at some point. When it was, it was kind of underwhelming, to be honest. I liked the murder itself, but why introduce it so early on if it’s going to be completely irrelevant for 95% of the book? Finally, while I loved the writing style – which is mostly rich, detailed and evocative – it is also, on many occasions, gross. Yes, bodies are disgusting, people aren’t perfect, they ooze and leak and whatever, but I really don’t want to hear about it. It was so jarring to me that on one hand we have descriptions about Bart emerging from the water like a gleaming salmon, and then on the next page, graphic descriptions of crusty snot, hissing farts and – on one occasion I would really like to erase from my memory – baby genitals. I’m not especially precious, but I definitely felt squeamish at times, and I wish the author had held back a bit with these descriptions, because honestly they were super disgusting and made me cringe. Overall, though The Inverts was a pleasant surprise, and I loved this celebration of messy queer friendship, camaraderie and the different kinds of enduring love that one finds over a lifetime. I think this is definitely a book that’s going to stick with me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Siobhan

    The Inverts is a historical novel set in the 1920s and 1930s, following two gay friends who enter a marriage of convenience that isn't always so convenient. Bettina and Bart have grown up as neighbours and best friends, and might've been expected to fall in love. Instead, Bettina has a thing with a girl from her boarding school in the boiler rooms and Bart meets a French artist in Paris, and both realise their sexuality, but in their privileged lives, they're expected to marry and start a family The Inverts is a historical novel set in the 1920s and 1930s, following two gay friends who enter a marriage of convenience that isn't always so convenient. Bettina and Bart have grown up as neighbours and best friends, and might've been expected to fall in love. Instead, Bettina has a thing with a girl from her boarding school in the boiler rooms and Bart meets a French artist in Paris, and both realise their sexuality, but in their privileged lives, they're expected to marry and start a family. So the pair marry and spend their years in a haze of alcohol and sex, but things don't always go so well between them. The book starts with a prologue showing Bettina and Bart's relationship, then cuts to the 1990s for a framing plot line that comes back at the end, then the vast majority of the novel follows the pair from the end of their schooldays until the Second World War. There's a hint of a murder mystery in the 1990s part of the opening, but this takes a long time to appear, and in general the book is a depiction of two privileged characters (they're rich and only work really out of choice) who, despite their long friendship, don't always actually like each other. They have various love affairs and sex, argue, and have children they don't seem too fussed about. As a concept, it's pretty interesting, if you like that kind of novel about rich people in the early 20th century having interpersonal problems because they're mostly pretty selfish, but with a chance to explore queer culture of the past at the same time. What let the book down for me, making it something I'd class more as 'fine' than anything else, was the fact it was marketed as something a bit different to that, something that focused on friendship and being an 'Invert' and historical sexuality and gender. As it was, their friendship was mostly hate for a lot of the book and there's lot of them being horrible to each other or other people, including about how 'fat' people are, so I didn't feel as drawn into it. I liked Bart and Etienne's story, but it felt like Bettina only found women she didn't like all that much, and a lot of the side characters felt too fleeting. In The Inverts they bring up The Well of Loneliness and the charges of it being too depressing, but in some ways it felt like some of that infused this novel: it sounded (and seemed from the cover) to be a raucous tale of gay friendship with potentially some kind of dark murderous secret, but ended up leaving more of an impression of how horrible the main characters were to each other. Some people will probably really enjoy it and not mind this fact, but I just found it didn't match up to expectations.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Bright

    (Review copy provided by Netgalley.) The cardinal sin of reviews is to review the book you expected instead of the book it *is*, but I’ll quickly prefix this review by saying that The Inverts is not quite what it’s marketing blurb pitches. It’s positioned as a raucous tale of queer friendship through a time in history when openness was not an option, with some globe-trotting thrown in. Whilst The Inverts does start out in this vein, a solid portion of the novel is dedicated to the vicious unravel (Review copy provided by Netgalley.) The cardinal sin of reviews is to review the book you expected instead of the book it *is*, but I’ll quickly prefix this review by saying that The Inverts is not quite what it’s marketing blurb pitches. It’s positioned as a raucous tale of queer friendship through a time in history when openness was not an option, with some globe-trotting thrown in. Whilst The Inverts does start out in this vein, a solid portion of the novel is dedicated to the vicious unravelling of the central pair’s friendship and its repercussions, pitting the characters against each other more than it unites them. But expectations aside: what the book actually *is* is an earthy, ribald tale of two very flawed people. Bettina and Bart are childhood friends who embark on a mutually beneficial lavender marriage to deflect suspicion from their respective ‘invert’ sexualities, and the novel charts the progression of their relationship - both with each other and their cycle of lovers - through the early parts of the century and up to the Second World War. Jeans certainly doesn’t shy away from salty, down to earth detail - The Inverts is anything but a prim historical. There’s a wicked sense of humour threaded through as well, and Bart and Bettina’s combative but affectionate wit is highly entertaining. It’s also compulsively readable; I barrelled through this faster than many other novels I’ve read recently. However, as their relationship started to fray I found myself increasingly more frustrated than invested, the characters both so flawed and self-absorbed that I wanted to shake them both rather than quite rooting for them. There was also a particularly undercurrent of disdain towards fatness that recurred a few too many times to read as characterisation and felt more like the author peeking through (as noted in a few other reviews here.) Flawed and unlikeable characters are absolutely not the same thing as uninteresting characters though, so these gripes aside, The Inverts is a brash, highly readable stomp through an interesting corner of queer history, and well worth your time. Favourite quote: "Look, it's like this. If we get bombed in this hellhole and die horribly, I'm glad it'll be with you. I want us to still be friends when we're old men. I want us to be seventy years old and still giving blowjobs to strangers in close proximity of one another." Soundtrack of choice: Noel Coward - The Party's Over Now

  8. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Date reviewed/posted: November 18, 2020 When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is once again closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and Date reviewed/posted: November 18, 2020 When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is once again closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. Bettina and Bart have grown up as best friends, so surely they will end up together? After all, Bettina is young, rich, headstrong…. and gay. Bart is young, rich, charismatic… and also, definitely, gay. Any doubts are dispelled by, in short order: that ghastly kiss; a torrid encounter for Bettina in the school boiler-rooms; and an eye-opening Parisian visit for Bart. Society will never stand for it. What else can they do but enter into a ‘lavender marriage’ and carry on indulging their true natures in secret? As the ’20s and ’30s whizz past in a haze of cigarettes, champagne and casual sex, Bart and Bettina have no idea that they are hurtling, via Hollywood and Egypt, Paris and London, towards tragedy and bloodshed… This book is a wonderful read on its own and as an LGBTQIA-friendly novel. It crosses the globe and shows its views on being gay in the world a century ago and have things really changed that much? Well, not in Egypt where the government continues to target gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in a "systematic fashion"! A great read about friendship and the jazz age that I will recommend to friends and patrons alike. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🍸🍸🍸🍸

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emily Davies (libraryofcalliope)

    Firstly, a huge thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins for this ARC. I was so excited to get approved for this as this is one of my most highly anticipated new releases. The novel covers the marriage of Bettina and Bart, childhood friends and homosexuals, covering from 1921 to 1943. The pair marry after realising their shared 'inversion', allowing each other the freedom to pursue lovers of the same sex while still having the safety of marriage to guard their reputation. The novel has the glit Firstly, a huge thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins for this ARC. I was so excited to get approved for this as this is one of my most highly anticipated new releases. The novel covers the marriage of Bettina and Bart, childhood friends and homosexuals, covering from 1921 to 1943. The pair marry after realising their shared 'inversion', allowing each other the freedom to pursue lovers of the same sex while still having the safety of marriage to guard their reputation. The novel has the glitz and glamour of stories set in such periods but includes the rawness of the repressed emotion and pain faced by 'outsiders' in this period, regardless of their wealth and glamour. It shines a light on the spaces of the gay community at the time and covers key moments in British LGBT history such as the publication of Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness and the use of Polari by gay men to identify each other. The novel's characters are rich and complex and thoroughly grip you from their first introduction as do their various love affairs and exploits. In places, it is a brutal depiction, with the characters' flaws coming out in grimacing details, creating a complex, sensual, and difficult fiction of a lavender marriage in the period. There's wish fulfilment and romance but also a crude, unflinching interrogation of the time. One thing I especially liked was the ways it explored the differences in the existence of how lesbians and gay men navigated the world, both the in the sexual availability but dangerous options for men seeking male companionship and also the isolation and compulsory heterosexuality faced by gay women. I did think at times her decision to be “unflinching” came across as cruel especially in the comments about fatness. It is reductive to say she depicts it entirely negatively but there was a definite discomfort with it in the book. That being said it was a really interesting book and I loved reading it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Lee

    Thank-you to HarperInsider for sending me a proof in exchange for an honest review. • UK release 1/4/21 • The Inverts follows the life of childhood best friends Bart and Bettina as they deal with the hardships of life, realising they have in more in common than they think they get married to hid the fact that they are in fact both gay. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this is my first time reading anything by Crystal Jeans. The writing flowed really beautifully. Darkly humorous and utterly filthy, it Thank-you to HarperInsider for sending me a proof in exchange for an honest review. • UK release 1/4/21 • The Inverts follows the life of childhood best friends Bart and Bettina as they deal with the hardships of life, realising they have in more in common than they think they get married to hid the fact that they are in fact both gay. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this is my first time reading anything by Crystal Jeans. The writing flowed really beautifully. Darkly humorous and utterly filthy, it's a good job you are meant to be at a 2metre distance in public because you wouldn't want anybody reading this over your shoulder. I really liked the main characters and the relationship between them felt very natural and dynamic. There is section that concerns Bettina's birthday party, the lead up to the tragic conclusion is only a few lines long but you can feel Betts full frustration and confusion at what is happening. This section I found utterly gripping and had to take a breather after it. For a book so funny it is still filled with some gut punching emotional moments that will take your breath away. You get snippets of the couples life, sometimes with a year or more in the middle of sections which at times was good because you only got the information you needed and it cut to the drama of situations but at the same time it can be pretty jarring to go from one to the other. For fans of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and In at the Deep End.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Soozee

    Bart and Bettina grew up next door to each other, and having discovered that each preferred their own sex, decided to have a 'lavender marriage' so they can live the lives they want to. Set mostly in the 1920s and 30s, a time when homosexuality was a crime, I expected an exciting read, full of sharp wit and humour, poignancy and intrigue. Instead we are presented with two very self-obsessed, self-indulgent people who clearly have no idea how lucky they are, do not have to work for a living, and s Bart and Bettina grew up next door to each other, and having discovered that each preferred their own sex, decided to have a 'lavender marriage' so they can live the lives they want to. Set mostly in the 1920s and 30s, a time when homosexuality was a crime, I expected an exciting read, full of sharp wit and humour, poignancy and intrigue. Instead we are presented with two very self-obsessed, self-indulgent people who clearly have no idea how lucky they are, do not have to work for a living, and spend most of their time using and abusing people (and each other) to achieve some sort of 'happiness'. It was a most disappointing read. No sense of the period of time; the twenties, thirties and forties, with all the myriad events happening around them, fail to actually touch their lives other than allowing Bettina to become a rat-catcher as a (rather over age) land girl. Even their parents are caricatures - father stern, unloving, full of cliches and mothers dithery and drunk, wanting someone else to look after them. Bettina and Bart make appalling parents, with no thought of the impact their actions may be having on their children - and possibly there were none as someone else was always bringing them up so they were always on the periphery. Personal, family and major world events just seem to blow over their heads and don't impact on their self-centred lives. Very disappointing, I could not sympathise with any of the characters, even Bart and his love for Etienne and his struggle to carve a 'career' as an actor failed to move me very much. Indeed, I would have given it one star but for the final chapter which finally presented them as human beings. Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction and The Borough Press for allowing me access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Constanza

    “The Inverts” is a historical novel set in the ‘20s, England, about two queer best friends who enter a marriage of convenience. I’m glad that I read other reviews before reading, because it prepare me for the book it is, instead of the book that was marketed to be. It is a book about queerness and friendship, by it’s less of a celebration and more of a nuanced look into the complexities of being queer in the first half of the last century and the specific relationship between Bart and Bettina. I “The Inverts” is a historical novel set in the ‘20s, England, about two queer best friends who enter a marriage of convenience. I’m glad that I read other reviews before reading, because it prepare me for the book it is, instead of the book that was marketed to be. It is a book about queerness and friendship, by it’s less of a celebration and more of a nuanced look into the complexities of being queer in the first half of the last century and the specific relationship between Bart and Bettina. I still really liked the story and I enjoyed the exploration of the characters and their relationships, which I found interesting and human, despite having many issues. My main problem with the book is that I’d like to see more of the historical aspect of the novel, at some point in the story I truly forgot this was supposed to be in another time, because of the very sparse descriptions around the characters. At times, the book passed as a contemporary novel about people who are very rich and queer, and even if that could be a comment on how the upper classes work, besides the blatant homophobia and the references to historic events and characters who were queer, the queerness of the book also seemed quite modern. In any case, I still enjoyed the book and I thank NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC. #NetGalley #THEINVERTS

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bookclubforme

    Well that was blooming marvellous! Set amongst the glamorous and dazzling parties of the roaring twenties, through the 1930's great depression and then at war again Britain in the 1940's The Inverts is a celebration of queer friendship and all kinds of love - it's an exploration of sexuality, repression, LGBTQ history and friendship with a cast of colourful characters. Best friends Bart and Bettina agree to enter into a shame marriage, allowing them the safety to live as their true selves whilst Well that was blooming marvellous! Set amongst the glamorous and dazzling parties of the roaring twenties, through the 1930's great depression and then at war again Britain in the 1940's The Inverts is a celebration of queer friendship and all kinds of love - it's an exploration of sexuality, repression, LGBTQ history and friendship with a cast of colourful characters. Best friends Bart and Bettina agree to enter into a shame marriage, allowing them the safety to live as their true selves whilst protecting their status in society. We follow them both, separately and together, as they explore, experiment and come of age - witnessing the fall outs, the make ups and all their wild antics! But as time moves on and Bettina and Bart begrudgingly grow up, we also witness the joy of a child, the strain of a fake relationship and the heart warming/wrenching emotions of falling in love, not to mention an accidental death.. I won't say anymore! I absolutely loved this book, it was enormously fun, witty, flirty and filthy. Bettina and Bart and their larger than life personalities really bring the story alive, the writing is sharp and outrageous making it the juiciest of reads. Oh it was brilliant, and has left me feeling quite "Gatsby!" I urge you to pick it up - I mean look at that cover, it just screams read me! 💜🧡❤️

  14. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    Review copy via NetGalley. I can't help but compare Crystal Jeans to Sarah Waters. Both are presenting LGBTQ+ fiction in a historical setting. Waters has a way of fully immersing you in the time period, but that's missing in The Inverts. Also missing is any character that you can root for or relate to. Bettina and Bart are absolutely hopeless and some of the most unpleasant characters that I've read. I just do not care what happens to them. As other reviewers have pointed out, there is quite a lot Review copy via NetGalley. I can't help but compare Crystal Jeans to Sarah Waters. Both are presenting LGBTQ+ fiction in a historical setting. Waters has a way of fully immersing you in the time period, but that's missing in The Inverts. Also missing is any character that you can root for or relate to. Bettina and Bart are absolutely hopeless and some of the most unpleasant characters that I've read. I just do not care what happens to them. As other reviewers have pointed out, there is quite a lot of unchecked fat shaming in this book, which I think links in with the author's desire to include the reality of our physical bodies in a way that is absent from most fiction. I think this works well for the sex scenes, but as someone with a vomit phobia I really don't want a graphic account of someone being violently ill. This book uses a loose framing device of a murder mystery which only comes back round again at the very end of the book and to be honest, I'd completely forgotten about it until then. It doesn't add anything to the plot. When this book is at it's best, it's a good fun, smutty race through the twenties to the forties, but there's too much here that doesn't work for me to give it a higher rating.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bee Jay

    What are two upper class Brits to do when they realise they're both homosexual? Enter into a lavender marriage and keep on keeping on, of course. Through the twenties and thirties, hurtling towards WWII, they do their best to chart a course. I hoped I'd enjoy this book, but sadly, it isn't for me. It's extremely crude, with constant mentions of body parts and sex. Everyone who passes through Bart and Bettina's orbits seems to suddenly be gay; Bettina is effectively raped at one point and no one m What are two upper class Brits to do when they realise they're both homosexual? Enter into a lavender marriage and keep on keeping on, of course. Through the twenties and thirties, hurtling towards WWII, they do their best to chart a course. I hoped I'd enjoy this book, but sadly, it isn't for me. It's extremely crude, with constant mentions of body parts and sex. Everyone who passes through Bart and Bettina's orbits seems to suddenly be gay; Bettina is effectively raped at one point and no one makes anything of it; Bart and Bettina are deliberately, constantly cruel to each other. I loved the language. It really does so well at evoking a time period and a mood. (I could do without the constant, casual cursing, especially with the continuous references to body parts, but that's just me and I know people have different attitudes about swearing.) Parts of the story are very witty and funny. The murder plot, ostensibly the point of the whole thing, was really only important in two different chapters, and the rest of the story has nothing to do with it. Not an awful read, if you want to read a lot of sex, drugs and cursing, but not for me.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    I headed into The Inverts having no real idea what to expect - I’d read the blurb, but knew nothing else (and hadn’t read any Crystal Jeans before). I absolutely adored it - it was very funny, occasionally smutty, at times as tense as a thriller, and quietly devastating, but not in a cliche way - the lives of Bettina and Bart felt very real, even at melodramatic plot moments. The book struck a wonderful balance which some historical queer fiction finds difficult - there was no fantasy ignoring o I headed into The Inverts having no real idea what to expect - I’d read the blurb, but knew nothing else (and hadn’t read any Crystal Jeans before). I absolutely adored it - it was very funny, occasionally smutty, at times as tense as a thriller, and quietly devastating, but not in a cliche way - the lives of Bettina and Bart felt very real, even at melodramatic plot moments. The book struck a wonderful balance which some historical queer fiction finds difficult - there was no fantasy ignoring of the realities of the time, but it also never veered into endless tragedy. The homophobia always hovers at the background, ever prevalent - but it is never the sole focus, and there’s great humour throughout as well. The earlier parts where both lead characters are coming to terms with their sexuality are spot on - and at times very funny for it. I was delightfully surprised by The Inverts, and will be reading some more Crystal Jeans soon as a consequence. Thank you to HarperCollins / The Borough Press and NetGalley for the ARC.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michaela

    Bettina and Bart, having grown up as childhood friends and having discovered they preferred their own sex, agree upon a marriage to hide their homosexuality, which was a crime in the 1920s and 30s in which this story is mostly set. A good setting for an interesting story, but sorry to say, I was very disappointed. Not only are the characters all very unlikeable, self-centred and superficial, there is no real story behind it, just an endless chain of parties, drugs, alcohol and superficial often v Bettina and Bart, having grown up as childhood friends and having discovered they preferred their own sex, agree upon a marriage to hide their homosexuality, which was a crime in the 1920s and 30s in which this story is mostly set. A good setting for an interesting story, but sorry to say, I was very disappointed. Not only are the characters all very unlikeable, self-centred and superficial, there is no real story behind it, just an endless chain of parties, drugs, alcohol and superficial often violent sex inbetween, decorated with a lot of swearwords and verbal abuse. There is no development, peak or any hope for better relationships. The crime towards the end did nothing for it too. Only the last chapter showed a bit of humanity. I wouldn´t have finished the book if it weren´t for a review. So thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing an ebook in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kate

    1.5, maybe. First and foremost, I felt that there was a lot of telling rather than showing when it came to the relationships between the characters. Every relationship felt very surface level, be they familial, romantic, or platonic. This was particularly true for the protagonists and their friendships, honestly, I just never really bought it. They never actually felt like great friends the book kept telling me they were. Secondly, every character had the same voice. Every character. They were al 1.5, maybe. First and foremost, I felt that there was a lot of telling rather than showing when it came to the relationships between the characters. Every relationship felt very surface level, be they familial, romantic, or platonic. This was particularly true for the protagonists and their friendships, honestly, I just never really bought it. They never actually felt like great friends the book kept telling me they were. Secondly, every character had the same voice. Every character. They were all witty and mean. Finally, I don't like the excessive descriptions of bodily functions. I'm very squeamish about that and it honest spoils books for me sometimes, so this is definitely a -me- thing, though I've seen otehr reviewers describe it as excessive in this case so perhaps it isn't /just/ me. But I don't know. I simply hate being reminded that bodies exist and do gross things. However the epilogue redeemed the characters a little for me. I wish we'd seen more of that - them acting human.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jess Browning

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. *I received an e-ARC on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you publishers!* A platonic romance - refreshing to read. I loved the relationship between Bart and Bettina. The world was well built and the language throughout incredible. I devoured the first half of the book, but I did feel the plot slow down towards the middle to end and was a bit put off by the souring of their relationship which was what I thought made the story special. The ending did pull it back and I found the epil *I received an e-ARC on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you publishers!* A platonic romance - refreshing to read. I loved the relationship between Bart and Bettina. The world was well built and the language throughout incredible. I devoured the first half of the book, but I did feel the plot slow down towards the middle to end and was a bit put off by the souring of their relationship which was what I thought made the story special. The ending did pull it back and I found the epilogue particularly sweet and realistic - having know elderly relatives in similar situations with their partners. Overall, it was a good novel but it left me feeling a bit unsatisfied.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Harri

    In The Inverts, we see the lives of Bart and Bettina, two childhood friends who enter into a Lavender marriage and live a decadent lifestyle full of drink, drugs and affairs. This is an absolute train wreck in slow motion, and I have to say that I am completely here for that. We know that something bad is going to happen because we're told at the beginning of the book, and then after that the whole story is building up to that moment. I'm keeping it vague to avoid spoilers, but there was definit In The Inverts, we see the lives of Bart and Bettina, two childhood friends who enter into a Lavender marriage and live a decadent lifestyle full of drink, drugs and affairs. This is an absolute train wreck in slow motion, and I have to say that I am completely here for that. We know that something bad is going to happen because we're told at the beginning of the book, and then after that the whole story is building up to that moment. I'm keeping it vague to avoid spoilers, but there was definite tension as I waited to see how things were going to go down, which I really liked. About the characters. Well, everyone in this book is absolutely awful. There were pretty much no characters that I liked, and it felt a bit like watching soaps or reality TV. I did feel for the main characters at times, but most of the time I just really didn't like them, and felt they were kind of getting what they deserved. Or, at times when things seemed to be going alright, that they were getting more than they deserved. The book has a great sense of atmosphere, and the place and time came across really well. However, the plot dragged a little at times, and then ended rather abruptly. I did enjoy the book, although I did need to read something with nicer characters afterwards! 3.5 stars.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Annarella

    NOTE: if you want a sweet and inoffensive story this is the wrong book I loved this story! The characters are witty, sometimes cruel and often very funny. It's a good story and it kept me hooked. It's entertaining and sad at the same time, a lot of humor but the historical background is not very happy. There's plenty of sex but there's also friendship and a good story. I loved it and I want to read other books by this author. Strongly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this AR NOTE: if you want a sweet and inoffensive story this is the wrong book I loved this story! The characters are witty, sometimes cruel and often very funny. It's a good story and it kept me hooked. It's entertaining and sad at the same time, a lot of humor but the historical background is not very happy. There's plenty of sex but there's also friendship and a good story. I loved it and I want to read other books by this author. Strongly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kat (Bookish Blades)

    TWs for this book: racism, sexism, homophobia, internalized homophobia, death, blood, suicide, vomit, excrements, alcohol, drugs, domestic violence, sexual harassment, war, bombing, fatphobia, fatshaming the good: - idk the bad: - sigh. where to begin - I do not need detailed descriptions of various bodily fluids - or genitals, for that matter - what's up with all the sex - and the sexual harassment - unhealthy relationships everywhere - this is NOT how you should treat your best friend omg. or any frien TWs for this book: racism, sexism, homophobia, internalized homophobia, death, blood, suicide, vomit, excrements, alcohol, drugs, domestic violence, sexual harassment, war, bombing, fatphobia, fatshaming the good: - idk the bad: - sigh. where to begin - I do not need detailed descriptions of various bodily fluids - or genitals, for that matter - what's up with all the sex - and the sexual harassment - unhealthy relationships everywhere - this is NOT how you should treat your best friend omg. or any friend for that matter - the pacing was just off - I wish I would have had trigger warnings before reading - the characters were all horrible, every single one, I did not like anyone read my full review on my blog Bookish Blades

  23. 5 out of 5

    Payal

    This is an unapologetically queer novel, funny, sad, bittersweet. Thoroughly enjoyed it. The Inversts tells the story of a pair of best friends, both gay, who subvert the homophobic, conservative 1920s. Essentially, they agree to be each other's beards and get married, so they can continue to have relationships with people of their choice. It is a story about friendship, how it's tested and strained, and how it holds together despite everything. Thanks for the review copy, NetGalley. This is an unapologetically queer novel, funny, sad, bittersweet. Thoroughly enjoyed it. The Inversts tells the story of a pair of best friends, both gay, who subvert the homophobic, conservative 1920s. Essentially, they agree to be each other's beards and get married, so they can continue to have relationships with people of their choice. It is a story about friendship, how it's tested and strained, and how it holds together despite everything. Thanks for the review copy, NetGalley.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Thea

    Really promising premise but oh so disappointing in the end. I really do enjoy an unlikable main character or an unreliable narrator, but these guys were just so petty and unreasonable I kinda wanted to shake them Also some crude humour is always fun, but if I had to read one more penis, piss or testicle description I would take away another star Also the murder in the beginning? Mentioned the last few pages in a very anticlimactic way Really wanted to enjoy this but just didn’t sadly

  25. 4 out of 5

    Saimon (ZanyAnomaly)

    don't understand why some reviewers are rating the book low cause the characters are not very likeable. It's one of my favorite things about this book. GIMME ALL THE MESSY QUEER PEOPLE YASSSSSS might bump it up to a 5 star later? 4 stars for now thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the e-arc don't understand why some reviewers are rating the book low cause the characters are not very likeable. It's one of my favorite things about this book. GIMME ALL THE MESSY QUEER PEOPLE YASSSSSS might bump it up to a 5 star later? 4 stars for now thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the e-arc

  26. 4 out of 5

    Molly Breen

    I don't agree with the notion that the main characters ought to be likeable for a book to be readable. I like the book precisely because the protagonists are so bloody awful. It's what makes it just that touch more realistic. A nice change from the usual 'taboo' love story. Gay fiction has loved on. Let's also just... move on. I don't agree with the notion that the main characters ought to be likeable for a book to be readable. I like the book precisely because the protagonists are so bloody awful. It's what makes it just that touch more realistic. A nice change from the usual 'taboo' love story. Gay fiction has loved on. Let's also just... move on.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sara Santos

    I liked the book and the premise and I would have liked more if it didn't have some graphic and unnecessary scenes. I liked the book and the premise and I would have liked more if it didn't have some graphic and unnecessary scenes.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Uri

    dnf. did not enjoy unfortunately.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    "Marry me." "Jesus, Bart. What are you trying to prove?" ..."Nothing. You're right. I like men. I do, I fucking well do! And you like women. Let's get married. We love each other, don't we?" [loc. 1122] Bart and Bettina have grown up together, privileged and good-looking, too young to be personally affected by the Great War (though Bettina's older brother came home with a bad case of shellshock and a single arm). At the outset of the Roaring Twenties, they are discovering adult life, and coming (vi "Marry me." "Jesus, Bart. What are you trying to prove?" ..."Nothing. You're right. I like men. I do, I fucking well do! And you like women. Let's get married. We love each other, don't we?" [loc. 1122] Bart and Bettina have grown up together, privileged and good-looking, too young to be personally affected by the Great War (though Bettina's older brother came home with a bad case of shellshock and a single arm). At the outset of the Roaring Twenties, they are discovering adult life, and coming (via separate experiences) to the same conclusion: they are both inverts. Bart is seduced by a gorgeous young French artist, Etienne, on a school trip to Paris; Bettina is caught in flagrante, in the school boiler room, with her friend Margo.It seems inevitable that they should marry: they love one another, they share a sense of humour and a defensive prickliness, and neither of them is likely to be a good spouse to anybody. Cue wild parties, booze and drugs, a career in movies for Bart, a series of best-selling books by Bettina -- and, bookending it all, a murder mystery.The blurb gives the impression that this is a light-hearted romp through the Twenties and Thirties, and it is often very funny: but it's also painful and sometimes depressing. Neither Bart nor Bettina is especially lucky in love, and despite their early promises to be kind to one another they treat one another very cruelly. Most importantly, though, they are not characters that I could warm to. There's a sneeriness to them, a disdain for their 'friends' and families, and a strong vein of hypocrisy in their attitudes. At different times, both try to overcome their innate prejudices: Bettina manages it during the Second World War when she's working as a rat-catcher, Bart achieves it from time to time, but they're both too selfish, too superficial, for it to really stick.The language is lush and sensual, with a lot of food-based metaphors -- though these sometimes jar in conjunction with the frequent slurs against fatness. Descriptions of the physical often tend towards the earthy or even the gross: sweat, vomit, Bart's brush with the Spanish Flu. Glasses and cigarette butts are lipstick-stained, and everyone has bad breath. There is a relentless insistence on bodily functions: Bettina letting loose a long-held fart, Bart burping into his whisky, a newborn baby already leaking urine.Which is not to say that the story isn't interesting: the arc of Bettina and Bart's relationship with each other and their myriad affairs, the raucous parties and decadent soirees of the Twenties and Thirties, the secrets within families and the openly queer folk in the London arts milieu. Some fun cameos, some poignant moments: if only they had happened to nicer people ... Thanks to Netgalley for the free review copy!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dan Bassett

    Bettina and Bart have always grown up as best friends. They share the same dry sense of humour, they both hate exclamation points, and they despise earnest people. Bettina prefers women. Bart prefers men. Society will never stand for it. So, they decide to get married. The Inverts plunges you head first into the glittering days of curious indiscretions and the non-stop tongue in cheek world of Bettina and Bart, two friends who are much more similar than either is truly ready to admit. Opening with the Bettina and Bart have always grown up as best friends. They share the same dry sense of humour, they both hate exclamation points, and they despise earnest people. Bettina prefers women. Bart prefers men. Society will never stand for it. So, they decide to get married. The Inverts plunges you head first into the glittering days of curious indiscretions and the non-stop tongue in cheek world of Bettina and Bart, two friends who are much more similar than either is truly ready to admit. Opening with the two young friends discussing their bleak futures of drab prospects and boring men, they make a pact that will bind them to eachother forever. But first, the pair go through very different lives at school; Bettina getting far too cosy with a friend after gossiping about family scandals, and Bart who goes on a trip abroad that will kindle a love affair which is sure to follow him around for years to come. However, as the years progress from the roaring 1920’s, to the sombre times of post-war Britain, you watch the duo explore themselves and others, all while society is oblivious to just what they get up to. As they discover, life can’t be all parties, love affairs and alcohol when Bettina decides to give her family what they want, Bart realises that while he loves Bettina with all his heart, can they even make this marriage work when children could become another part of their world? Can the pair stay the best of friends, or will the real world snap their silk-thread of a bond? Filthy, funny, heartbreaking, glorious, and original. The Inverts will leave you blushing, as you read about the lives of these two rebellious and lovable characters. Just make sure you have a cocktail to hand, darling!

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