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Damn it, a man shouldn't always have to be afraid- Alec Goodchilde has everything a man could want-except the freedom to be himself. Once a year, he motors down to an exclusive yacht club on the Cornish coast and takes the summer off from the trap that is his life. When his car breaks down, leaving him stranded on the beach, he's transfixed by the sight of a surfer da Damn it, a man shouldn't always have to be afraid- Alec Goodchilde has everything a man could want-except the freedom to be himself. Once a year, he motors down to an exclusive yacht club on the Cornish coast and takes the summer off from the trap that is his life. When his car breaks down, leaving him stranded on the beach, he's transfixed by the sight of a surfer dancing on the waves. The man is summer made flesh. Freedom wrapped up in one lithe package, dripping wet from the sea. Once a year, Darren Stokes takes a break from his life of grinding overwork and appalling relatives, financing his holiday by picking up the first rich man to show an interest. This year, though, he's cautious-last summer's meal ticket turned out to be more pain than pleasure. Even though Alec is so deep in the closet he doesn't even admit he's gay, Darren finds himself falling hard-until their idyllic night together is shattered by the blinding light of reality- Warning: One explicit m/m sex scene and a great deal of swearing.


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Damn it, a man shouldn't always have to be afraid- Alec Goodchilde has everything a man could want-except the freedom to be himself. Once a year, he motors down to an exclusive yacht club on the Cornish coast and takes the summer off from the trap that is his life. When his car breaks down, leaving him stranded on the beach, he's transfixed by the sight of a surfer da Damn it, a man shouldn't always have to be afraid- Alec Goodchilde has everything a man could want-except the freedom to be himself. Once a year, he motors down to an exclusive yacht club on the Cornish coast and takes the summer off from the trap that is his life. When his car breaks down, leaving him stranded on the beach, he's transfixed by the sight of a surfer dancing on the waves. The man is summer made flesh. Freedom wrapped up in one lithe package, dripping wet from the sea. Once a year, Darren Stokes takes a break from his life of grinding overwork and appalling relatives, financing his holiday by picking up the first rich man to show an interest. This year, though, he's cautious-last summer's meal ticket turned out to be more pain than pleasure. Even though Alec is so deep in the closet he doesn't even admit he's gay, Darren finds himself falling hard-until their idyllic night together is shattered by the blinding light of reality- Warning: One explicit m/m sex scene and a great deal of swearing.

30 review for Shining in the Sun

  1. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Elsborg

    Really enjoyed this well-written book. Great balance of prose and dialogue. I liked the flawed characters. Didn't matter that they were at times unlikeable. That's life! It had me turning pages late into the night. Rich guy meets poor guy is an old theme but well done here. A rich cast of secondary characters too. I was a bit unsure about the ending but I'm happy I read this! Really enjoyed this well-written book. Great balance of prose and dialogue. I liked the flawed characters. Didn't matter that they were at times unlikeable. That's life! It had me turning pages late into the night. Rich guy meets poor guy is an old theme but well done here. A rich cast of secondary characters too. I was a bit unsure about the ending but I'm happy I read this!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Nicoll

    Alex Beecroft's first foray into writing a contemporary story. I thought this was terrific...I felt like I was at the shore with Alec. Alex brought the scene and the people to life, as she always does, with her beautiful prose. Definitely recommended. Alex Beecroft's first foray into writing a contemporary story. I thought this was terrific...I felt like I was at the shore with Alec. Alex brought the scene and the people to life, as she always does, with her beautiful prose. Definitely recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Becky Black

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Like it says in the blurb, this story contrasts an idyll and reality. When Alec and Darren meet, they have one perfect day together, but the rest of the story is much more down to earth. It’s like a relationship compressed—appropriately so when they both start out think this will be a summer fling only. There’s a “honeymoon” period—the one perfect day when they meet, ending in what has a feel of a wedding night, especially as it’s Alec’s first time with a man. But even there reality is starting Like it says in the blurb, this story contrasts an idyll and reality. When Alec and Darren meet, they have one perfect day together, but the rest of the story is much more down to earth. It’s like a relationship compressed—appropriately so when they both start out think this will be a summer fling only. There’s a “honeymoon” period—the one perfect day when they meet, ending in what has a feel of a wedding night, especially as it’s Alec’s first time with a man. But even there reality is starting to intrude. The scene happens in Darren’s tatty camper van. So this less-than-fairytale setting is a kind of warning that life can’t be a fantasy. That reality will be along any time now. And it is, as the “honeymoon” ends and they find themselves dealing with various problems, some of their own making and external ones. They briefly have another idyllic time, heading over to France for a few days on Alec’s boat. (Hey, it’s a Beecroft book. There has to be a boat!) But that can’t last either. And even there, Darren especially is worrying about the main barrier to their happiness—money. Money and class are important themes in the story. It’s very British in that regard. The detail of the setting, the dialogue, the general atmosphere, are all very British; but the tension between classes is what truly marks it out as a story about British people. Class differences put barriers between Alec and Darren, and though of course their love eventually breaks down these barriers, it’s not easy and there’s a feeling at the end that it’s always going to be something they’ll have to deal with, even if mostly as assumptions and prejudices from other people. Although there are plenty of outside events intruding on their lives, the relationship still drives the story. When they are pulled apart by events they keep on finding each other again, always drawn back together. There’s a real feeling that this relationship is the one that will change their lives. Alec is the one at a point of change first. He’s finally acting on his repressed desires, unable to repress them any more once he meets Darren (an idea I like a lot.) But this also triggers Darren to change. He wants things to be different now with Alec. Be more than just his boy for the summer. Though both heroes could be classified as “betas” if you like to look at them that way, they are not wimps. They may feel physically intimidated by other more dominant men in the story, but they still show courage and stand up and fight back when it counts. The relationship gives them the strength to do that, which they didn’t have before, when they had nobody to back them up. I liked them being “betas”. It's more realistic. They've both got issues undermining their confidence. Alec is under his family's thumb and full of angst about his repression of his real self. Darren is still traumatised by events the previous summer involving an ex-boyfriend. There's no macho posturing and no being overly-dramatic, the way alpha type heroes are. Certainly they both suffer from 'foot in mouth' disease, have bad timing and the ability to grab the wrong end of the stick and hang on tight, just as romance novel protagonists need to. And that leads to a few 'storming-off in a huff' moments. But they calm down and think it through later and give each other the benefit of the doubt—like grown-ups. Something I’m always pleased to see. Another theme, something I’ve seen in Alex Beecroft’s other books, is the villain who’s not all he appears. Who's not quite as villainous as he seems. Which is another nice touch of realism, I think and also suits a story without an Alpha hero. A two-dimensional villain, set up only for the heroes to knock down is dull. Someone more nuanced and complicated that we want to hate and yet in the end, can’t quite, is much better. Darren and Alec aren’t what they seem either at time. Darren uses a false name on that perfect day with Alec—giving it even more of a fantasy-like quality. Alec is in a way half-forgetting, half-pretending about who he really is while he’s here in Cornwall and neglects to mention to Darren the fact that he’s engaged to be married. Naturally his fiancée, Caroline, shows up in the story at just the wrong moment, to shatter Darren’s dreams. She actually turns into one of my favourite characters in the story though. She has some great lines and far from ending up as the wronged woman she appears to have foreseen for a while that Alec lacked enthusiasm for the idea of them getting married. And since she has a spreadsheet of seventeen other better marriage prospects than Alec, she’s okay. I so relate to Caroline and her spreadsheet... I enjoyed it a lot. I loved the British setting, and the details of that. The writing is excellent, the description especially in the first half, as the writer vividly creates the setting, is beautiful. The dialogue is good. Though the publisher’s warning talks about lots of swearing it’s not something I found overwhelming. Maybe because I am British and that’s just the way I expect people to speak! There is, as the warning says “one explicit m/m sex scene”. They do have sex more than once in the story, but only the first time is fully described. And very well described, at length. So this definitely isn’t a “sex scene per chapter” type of book, but one more focused on the romance. About the only part I had an issue with was the ending, which is a little bit too neat for me. I’m not too keen on the marriage proposal. It felt very soon in their relationship for that to happen. Maybe it’s just me, I’m not someone who thinks a romance book has to end with marriage at least proposed to make me believe two people are definitely going to be sticking together after the story ends. It bothers me just as much in straight contemporary romance too. I sometimes feel like the writer is trying too hard to prove to me that they are definitely in love. Don't get me wrong, I totally approve of man putting his money where his mouth is and making that commitment, I just think in contemporary stories it's slightly unrealistic for it to happen so soon in a relationship, gay or straight. But that’s the only issue I had and it could really be down to a personal preference. I definitely recommend this as a good read for people who like a story with a focus on the feelings and relationship as it grows, and subtle, non-clichéd characterisations.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ricardo

    3 1/2 stars I liked this story, had a a little bit of everything and was sweet without being cloying.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Justacat

    Had a hard time with my rating for this one. Writing was superlative, far beyond most m/m books. The setting and sense of place were simply lovely, and I adored the characters and much of the story. For most of this book I intended to rate very highly. But I found the ending - by which I mean primarily the relationship "resolution" - rushed and unsatisfying, far too hasty given the difficulties and angst that are an inherent part of the relationship and the characters. I'd certainly have liked t Had a hard time with my rating for this one. Writing was superlative, far beyond most m/m books. The setting and sense of place were simply lovely, and I adored the characters and much of the story. For most of this book I intended to rate very highly. But I found the ending - by which I mean primarily the relationship "resolution" - rushed and unsatisfying, far too hasty given the difficulties and angst that are an inherent part of the relationship and the characters. I'd certainly have liked the characters to get to the same place, but over a bit more time, and for the author to show me a quite a bit more of the relationship development necessary to get there and to make me believe in it, to "feel" it, for it to feel...deserved, like the natural evolution, not like something tacked on. She is certainly an accomplished enough writer to do this. The failure of the ending/resolution to live up to the standard of the rest of the book was a great disappointment to me and left me with a feeling of dissatisfaction; it's a nice enough ending, but I can't quite believe in it when the story cried out for so much more. As a result, this book isn't going to be one of my perennial favorites, as it so easily could have been. And the lack of "substance," weight, believability of the ending, sadly, couldn't help but affect my feelings about the entire book. I usually give "4s" only to books I love and will re-read regularly, so I give this rating with hesitation - and yet I can't bear to give it a "3" when the quality of writing is so exceptional in this genre and when the story is so worth reading overall.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tempura

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. In terms of writing, a good book. The author knows her or his craft, that's for sure. You can feel the summer days and the tenderness the two main characters feel for each other. Alec is as sweet as he can be and still manage to have faults and not being too cute. In terms of plot, I am not as satisfied. I was enraged when I read Max's explanation of Darren's abuse. In the first part of the book, Darren says "He (Max) liked to hurt me. And then he'd give me presents, right? To make it up to me, In terms of writing, a good book. The author knows her or his craft, that's for sure. You can feel the summer days and the tenderness the two main characters feel for each other. Alec is as sweet as he can be and still manage to have faults and not being too cute. In terms of plot, I am not as satisfied. I was enraged when I read Max's explanation of Darren's abuse. In the first part of the book, Darren says "He (Max) liked to hurt me. And then he'd give me presents, right? To make it up to me, or something". So I understood the abuse happened often enough. In the end, it seems it only happened once and all was a terrible mistake. I took it as a plot's contrivance. Darren takes Max's money and now he can't be Alec's boytoy. They are equals now and Darren's dignity is restored.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Very good m/m romance about a wealthy British businessman (so deeply closeted he's never considered that he might be gay) who escapes on his yacht for a month every summer so he can get away from his mother, his fiance, and his other obligations. When he sees a gorgeous surfer on the beach, everything starts to change for him. Very good m/m romance about a wealthy British businessman (so deeply closeted he's never considered that he might be gay) who escapes on his yacht for a month every summer so he can get away from his mother, his fiance, and his other obligations. When he sees a gorgeous surfer on the beach, everything starts to change for him.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lena Grey

    “Don’t let anyone ever break your soul. You have to stand on your own two feet and stand up for yourself. There are those that would give anything to see you fail, but you must never give them the satisfaction. Hold your head up high, smile and stand your own ground.” ~ Unknown Alec Goodchilde, of ‘Shining in the Sun’ by Alex Beecroft, is living proof that money can’t buy everything. He is grateful, but his family nearly smothers him with their demands and pressure to live the life they have plan “Don’t let anyone ever break your soul. You have to stand on your own two feet and stand up for yourself. There are those that would give anything to see you fail, but you must never give them the satisfaction. Hold your head up high, smile and stand your own ground.” ~ Unknown Alec Goodchilde, of ‘Shining in the Sun’ by Alex Beecroft, is living proof that money can’t buy everything. He is grateful, but his family nearly smothers him with their demands and pressure to live the life they have planned for him. His mother, particularly, controls his decisions, and that includes where he works, who he is to marry, etcetera. All Alec needs have some time and space for himself, at least for a while. His rebellion from this pressure is taking a month-long vacation to the beach every summer. It is his only respite from the exhausting pace he is usually subjected to. As he is watching the people enjoying themselves, he notices the surfers out in the water. One in particular catches his eye and, right then and there, Alec knows that he has to meet this man. Darren Stokes has been poor all of his life. It has been a struggle just to exist, especially with his deadbeat dad and druggie brother. If it weren’t for Nan, his grandmother, whom he has lived with since his mother abandoned the family, who knows where he would be now. She loves him, but is poor too; she has little to give him, besides love. Darren is on vacation too, but in order to be able to afford it, he hooks up with a rich man to support his time off work. When Alec calls him over, he hesitates; last year’s experience with a rich man ended up with Darren in the hospital. He’s terrified this will happen again. Just in case, Darren gives Alec a fake name so he will be unable to contact him. From the start, Alec seems different from the other rich men Darren has encountered. He’s not arrogant or demanding; Alec is quiet and unsure of himself. He seems almost shy and unassuming, so Darren decides to take a chance to at least have a chat and a drink with him. Their drink turns into an enjoyable day, that is, until Darren’s brother calls. He is in trouble with a drug dealer and needs money immediately or they are going to hurt him. Darren is furious with his brother for dragging him into his situation, but, after all, he is his brother and Darren feels obligated to try to find a solution. Darren takes Alec back to his disheveled trailer where they send the night together. Alec has never considered the fact that he may be gay, but he is overwhelmed with desire for Darren and wants him to initiate him into the joys of gay sex. Darren certainly is not going to deny Alec and proceeds to make slow, passionate love to him. Alec is completely enthralled with Darren and their physical encounter. Alec doesn’t want to leave, but Darren tells him he needs to go because he has urgent family business to take care of. Reluctantly, Alec leaves with the hope of seeing Darren soon. When gets back to the hotel, he is told that someone has made two withdrawals from his bank account. Thinking back, he recalls Darren watching him put in his pin number when he made a purchase the day before; Darren is the only one who could have stolen the money. Alex has created an amazing story about two men who, although they come from vastly different backgrounds, are unhappy due to the pressure their dysfunctional families put on them. Alec comes from a privileged background, where he’s had every advantage; yet, he is so busy pleasing everyone else that he has forgotten to stand up for what pleases him. On the other hand, Darren, although he has tried to overcome his poor background, his misplaced loyalty to his despicable father and brother keeps him chained to a life he would rather forget. Like Alec, Darren feels unable to say no, even when it is not in his best interest. Thanks, Alec, for a brilliant read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Maura

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Feeling pressured to be someone he isn't by his very wealthy family, Alec heads off to the Cornish coast where he can just be himself for a while. His car breaks down and Alec bides his time on the beach and along comes this dreamy, god of a man that makes Alec want to actually just admit that he's gay. When Alec takes a chance and initiates a romance, Darren Stokes thinks he's a sugar daddy on the make and looking for a toy boy. Darren's had a bad experience with that type before, but Alec seem Feeling pressured to be someone he isn't by his very wealthy family, Alec heads off to the Cornish coast where he can just be himself for a while. His car breaks down and Alec bides his time on the beach and along comes this dreamy, god of a man that makes Alec want to actually just admit that he's gay. When Alec takes a chance and initiates a romance, Darren Stokes thinks he's a sugar daddy on the make and looking for a toy boy. Darren's had a bad experience with that type before, but Alec seems innocent enough and Darren needs the money...though he kinda hopes it's not gonna be like that. But then it seems that it is, so Darren decides to take advantage. While Alec falls hopelessly in love after their one night together, Darren is stealing his bank card to keep his protect his nana from his asshole father. Alec is heartbroken, but when Darren shows up later to return the wallet, Alec invites him along with him to France. Darren thinks it's more of the toy boy game, but wants to go because he honestly likes Alec. Things go well for a while before Alec's fiancee shows up. Now with the class differences between them, Alec's still being in the closet and both of their horrible families, the two will have to really work hard to trust one another and stand up against the people who would keep them apart. It definitely seems that both Alec and Darren are doormats...and Darren has a whole sub-story in which he's terrified of the previous sugardaddy who put him in the hospital that circles back to this exact thing. Both of them are in fact doormats...taken advantage of by family and overall refusing to stand up for what they want. They're also super sinecure and unable to trust... But that's what this story is about - the both of them have to learn to trust each other (and they really do get better at it as the story goes on...lots of broken trust and then having a little faith). They also have to learn who to stand up for themselves. They give each other strength in this regard and this helps the both of them to just say what they want and to hell with the consequences. I also really appreciated that the fiancee was such a nice person, rather than falling back on the evil OW trope or anything like that. And Alec and Darren, poor romantic suckers, really do fall hard for one another and it's very sexy. I do find myself wondering whether these two could have worked out if Darren hadn't received the money that more or less put him on equal footing with Alec. It kinda felt like a deus ex machina, with Darren being able to take care of himself and never have to confront the fact that he felt inferior to Alec because of his money, but I don't know how the author could have believably dealt with that without making this book longer. I also wanted some sort of resolution regarding Darren's father and his nana. I mean, he gets the money and immediately thinks, "yay, I can start my own shop" instead of "yay, I can get my nana away from my father!" As it was, we have no idea what happened to them. This really is a nice, dramatic and angsty story and I don't mind the doormat so much because the characters are in the process of growing out of it. It's very British with that class being such an issue in the relationship, but it works cross-culturally very well too. This was a great romance to read and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Angelique

    I did not finish this ons.to much flowerly and too much scenery. for me it took too much the pagetime. The story is sweet ,low angst the drama is more in the mc`s heads. Pretty boring to me I did not finish this ons.to much flowerly and too much scenery. for me it took too much the pagetime. The story is sweet ,low angst the drama is more in the mc`s heads. Pretty boring to me

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ed Davis

    I’m not going to rate this book. The prose is so flowery and way too much description for me. I’m sure she’s a great writer, but not for me. I don’t like scanning a book, but that’s all I was doing.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gerry Burnie

    Gerry B's Book Reviews - http://www.gerrycan.wordpress.com love stories about British, upper middle-class characters. For one thing, they have a style that is both charmingly stodgy and dauntless at the same time. Never mind that that temerity is born out of a seemingly artless smugness because therein lies their charm. That said, author Alex Beecroft has captured this artlessness to perfection in her latest, 14-carat nugget, Shining in the Sun [Samhain Publishing, May 3, 2011]. Moreover, she ha Gerry B's Book Reviews - http://www.gerrycan.wordpress.com love stories about British, upper middle-class characters. For one thing, they have a style that is both charmingly stodgy and dauntless at the same time. Never mind that that temerity is born out of a seemingly artless smugness because therein lies their charm. That said, author Alex Beecroft has captured this artlessness to perfection in her latest, 14-carat nugget, Shining in the Sun [Samhain Publishing, May 3, 2011]. Moreover, she has cleverly contrasted it against an artful beach-bum and petty hustler, so right there you know this is going to be a good read. Ptolemy Alexander St. John-Goodchilde [you have to love that name] is the young bourgeois: very wealthy, very shy, and saddled with an over protective, domineering mother, and a devoted fiancé. Like every young entrepreneur, however, Alec (his preferred name) likes to get away from his family and the old stock portfolio to spend a month on his yacht, typically named The Lady Jane—a good, solid middle-class name. Fate had other ideas, however, for when his expensive auto, a Morgan Roadsters, breaks down in a small seaside village he is unexpectedly encountered by a copper-haired surfer god, who—in Alec’s eyes—emerges from the sea like the male version of The Birth of Venus. Darren is the product of a neglected childhood, abandoned by his father and raised by his grandmother, and as she is now ailing he is taking care of her. To make ends meet, so to speak, he sells his body to rich men with the justification that this is a reciprocal-type of love; they want his body and he wants their financial support. I must mention here, as well, that Alec’s “chat-up” with Darren, on their first encounter, is one of the most original seduction scenes I have ever read. Alec is so painfully shy and inexperienced, and so unconsciously turned-on by this Coppertone Adonis, that he is pathetically charming about it—so much so that you want to hug him and say, “Just do your thing, baby”—which is what the author intended, I’m sure. Which segues me into my next point. This is writing at a very sophisticated level. Fundamentally it reads effortlessly, the descriptions are evocative with a creative twist, and both the story line and pace flow along quite nicely. However what really stands out, without being obvious, is the control that makes it a clever story—as apposed to being clichéic; which, with this sort of a scenario could have been. Rather, the characters are complex because of their simplicity, as is the story line, and a happy ending seems only right to cap it off. This is a superbly written coming-out story with some very clever, unique and original differences. Highly recommended. Five stars.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alina

    4.25 Like another reviewer said, this book is like an unexpected trip to the beach. While the story is full of angst and misunderstanding and fear, it is still sweet and beautifully written, with realistic characters that are lovable without being too wonderful to be true. The story was a whirlwind romance in the best of ways, with that initial rush of attraction and sexual thrill that hooked the two protagonists, and then allowed them to really truly make an impact on one another even in their s 4.25 Like another reviewer said, this book is like an unexpected trip to the beach. While the story is full of angst and misunderstanding and fear, it is still sweet and beautifully written, with realistic characters that are lovable without being too wonderful to be true. The story was a whirlwind romance in the best of ways, with that initial rush of attraction and sexual thrill that hooked the two protagonists, and then allowed them to really truly make an impact on one another even in their short acquaintance. They became invested in each other almost immediately, and in a way that was entirely believable. Since there was no mystery plot in the background to distract us from the tension between Alec and Darren, I was fully immersed into the main characters' summer escape, their wild emotions, and their gradual growth. The ending suited the pace of the book perfectly - what better way to finish off Alec's original desperate invitation than another desperate offer? P.S. I loved Max as the almost-villain. Even though he physically only appeared about 2/3 of the way into the story (not counting the flash-backs), he had a very strong presence in the book... I would love to read about him next, but to my knowledge, Mz Beecroft does not do sequels, so I guess I'm out of luck. P.P.S. I loved the way Mz Beecroft wrote sounds... While certain scenes were a bit overwritten, it was still a superbly written book, and stands out when compared to the usual M/M fare.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

    The writing elevates this (very British) Cinderella story of lonely wealthy upper class gent, Alex Goodchilde finding love with working class, poor man Darren. But these two aren't your average romantic heroes. Alex is a bit of a doormat, an emotional coward (if American he'd do his break ups via text messaging), incredibly naive and a snob while Darren unhesitatingly uses his pretty face to get what he wants, is a bit ethically challenged & is self deluded enough to take offense when he's judge The writing elevates this (very British) Cinderella story of lonely wealthy upper class gent, Alex Goodchilde finding love with working class, poor man Darren. But these two aren't your average romantic heroes. Alex is a bit of a doormat, an emotional coward (if American he'd do his break ups via text messaging), incredibly naive and a snob while Darren unhesitatingly uses his pretty face to get what he wants, is a bit ethically challenged & is self deluded enough to take offense when he's judged on this. It was touch and go for a while to see if the author could pull off these characters and make us care about them. I'd say she just about squeaked by on this and by the end we're cheering for these two somewhat meek & mild anti heroes. With this level of writing and complexity of character and interesting storyline this could have easily been a 5 star book. Unfortunately the ending just didn't fit the story (except for the fact it did fit Alex's desperate persona). Alex & Darren definitely worked their way at the end of the book to a HFN ending, but instead AB went for the full HEA which Alex & Darren hadn't earned as yet. I recommend the story and maybe some won't mind the ending. It is a fairytale story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I've been a fan of Alex Beecroft for a while now and was really excited when I heard she was doing a contemporary setting with her latest. I wasn't disappointed at all. My emotions were twisted every which way and I couldn't have loved the characters more. The writing, as always with Beecroft, is excellent here. I've been a fan of Alex Beecroft for a while now and was really excited when I heard she was doing a contemporary setting with her latest. I wasn't disappointed at all. My emotions were twisted every which way and I couldn't have loved the characters more. The writing, as always with Beecroft, is excellent here.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    A wealthy young man escapes his domineering mother and fiancee on a beach trip where he becomes infatuated with a young surfer/ hustler. Love ensues. This was sweet for an m/m romance, very well done.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    A great beach read from one of my favorite authors, I really enjoyed this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Aleksandr Voinov

    A trip to the beach when I needed one.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elisa Rolle

    2010 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention (5* from at least 1 judge)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    Gorgeous writing in this melancholy story of two men, one wealthy and one poor, each of whom feels trapped in his life and who meet during the one month of the year in which each feels the least bit free to be himself. But even an idyll is subject to interruptions from family members both well-meaning and not so kind...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ollie Z Book Minx

    Massive TW: abuse framed as “accidentally non consensual kink,” emotional abuse, lotsa trauma triggers This was rough. I’m glad it worked out ok in the end and I like the main couple but I was deeply uncomfortable with basically everyone else, though Krissy and Caroline turn out alright I suppose.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jenn (not Lily)

    Wow, that did NOT go where I had expected it to go... Good story, excellent and complex characters, REALLY screwed up backstory slowly revealed. I think I need to sit with this one for a little while to figure out how I truly feel about the ending.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Qwurty

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It's a very pretty book, all delicately balanced atmosphere and sonorous, elegaic language: beautiful men falling in love while adversity waits in the background to be triumphed over and this business of finding out you're gay via some very nice sex. The problem with books like these are they tend to drown in their own prose, so you either get the sense that the author's resolutely not dealing with the bags and bags of issues they've raised, or that they don't know how to and are covering it up It's a very pretty book, all delicately balanced atmosphere and sonorous, elegaic language: beautiful men falling in love while adversity waits in the background to be triumphed over and this business of finding out you're gay via some very nice sex. The problem with books like these are they tend to drown in their own prose, so you either get the sense that the author's resolutely not dealing with the bags and bags of issues they've raised, or that they don't know how to and are covering it up with adjectives. Harper Fox does this with uncanny precision: lovely scenery and the slow bubble of deep emotion twinned with a nothing plot. This book appears to follow that template. There's Alec's GFY moment, swiftly followed by some soulmate-type conviction -- only unconvincing because, between you and me, Alec is completely wet. There's the promise of betrayal, when Darren steals from Alex, but it's followed by neither reprisal nor consequence. Then there's the dazzling set-up of their class differences -- but no, Alec gets a shock of reality that he reacts badly to but which he immediately recovers from and goes on to overcome without ever once giving the reader a clue as to how it all happens. Alec's overbearing mama gives way like a soggy pudding -- without preamble or warning -- and the final twist in the story is a payoff for injuries received and its acceptance, for some spurious reason or the other. I'll qualify it all by saying this: the character development is strangely compelling and if I didn't know better, I'd say the author was trying to align the story to it. Alec is pretty feeble and doesn't get much better as time goes by, but he's saved by the consistency of his personality. He doesn't change to suit the circumstances, and I think the honesty of that takes him a long way. It also makes some -- some! -- sense of the wavering storyline. I'm not sure why the author decided to make this as ambitious as it was. The writing is genuinely beautiful, and they had a strong premise in the class differences plot; the extra stuff made it unwieldy and graceless. In the end ... ... oh I don't know. It was pretty, it was scenic, there was foreshadowing oozing out of every mote of sunlight shining off the steely sea. There were a couple of guys, too. They had challenges. Recommended, for the pretty.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kaetrin

    3.5 stars, rounded up. Moving story about a rich man (Alec) and a poor man (Darren) who are both suffocating in their respective lives. They are both desperately unhappy and both feel powerless to do anything about it. Both see the summer as an opportunity to escape, even if only for a little while, the individual misery of their usual lives. It's a story of how they learn to be brave together and escape that misery and find their freedom for more than just a month. It has its flaws (Alec's first 3.5 stars, rounded up. Moving story about a rich man (Alec) and a poor man (Darren) who are both suffocating in their respective lives. They are both desperately unhappy and both feel powerless to do anything about it. Both see the summer as an opportunity to escape, even if only for a little while, the individual misery of their usual lives. It's a story of how they learn to be brave together and escape that misery and find their freedom for more than just a month. It has its flaws (Alec's first line to Darren is terribly cheesy - it was probably meant to be, but still), but I was caught up with the imagery and the story. I was struck by the poverty and desperate sadness of Darren's life and the feeling, despite his money of utter suffocation and vulneratibility in Alec's life. I didn't really understand the character of Alec's mother. I appreciated that Alec's fiancee was charming and lovely - if he were straight he would have been very happy with her. I do wonder how Alec and Darren will fit together for the long term - after all, they are from completely different worlds - but I was happy enough to go along with the fairy tale. Favourite Quotes: ...a faint citrusy palate-cleansing tang, and the thought and taste came together into a moment of renewal, of newness. It was a wrong feeling for summer - more of a spring feeling, a start to the year, resolution making, this-time-it-will-all-be-different hope. He shook it off, disconcerted. It was summer he had here, distraction, escape. Not hope. Especially not change. and this one: He looked like a man who was turning into paper, folding himself into origami angles, fragile and friable and prone to crumple. I enjoyed this one quite a bit, I liked the melancholy tone of most of the story and it was, for the most part, beautifully written.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Josephine Myles

    Alex Beecroft’s first foray into contemporary m/m romance initially conjures up the more touristy view of the county, when privileged rich boy Alec arrives on his annual break from his overbearing family and fiancee. However, we are soon led on an adventure through Cornwall’s less salubrious side when he meets and falls for local lad Darren. Alex Beecroft explores the class conflict with great sensitivity as both young men are exposed to each others’ vastly different worlds. I love Alex Beecroft’ Alex Beecroft’s first foray into contemporary m/m romance initially conjures up the more touristy view of the county, when privileged rich boy Alec arrives on his annual break from his overbearing family and fiancee. However, we are soon led on an adventure through Cornwall’s less salubrious side when he meets and falls for local lad Darren. Alex Beecroft explores the class conflict with great sensitivity as both young men are exposed to each others’ vastly different worlds. I love Alex Beecroft’s prose – her vivid imagery is something to savour. I know that some readers have found it a bit slow-going compared to many contemporary m/m romances, but to my mind that’s a good thing. Writing this rich should be enjoyed fully rather than rushed through. That isn’t to imply that the plot is any way slow moving – if anything, it whizzes along as there’s a vein of high drama and adventure as Darren attempts to evade a man from his past who hurt him badly. I loved the unexpected way this part of the plot resolved itself, but to say anymore would be spoilery! Neither Alec or Darren are particularly strong or macho characters, but the way they cling to each other and find strength in being together is sweetly romantic and had me rooting for them. I can highly recommend this to anyone who likes to take the time to enjoy beautiful prose or who wants to read a fascinating foray into the English class system.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shaz

    I had some trouble rating this book. On the one hand I really enjoyed it and before I knew it I had it finished. But on the other hand at times the MC's really irritated me... It is very well written "cinderfella" story; rich businessman meets and falls in love with a very poor surfer boy from the wrong side of the tracks. So, slightly cliche yes, but with a distinct British 'voice' that makes the cliches seem to disappear. The indecisiveness of both MC's was what annoyed me slightly. There were I had some trouble rating this book. On the one hand I really enjoyed it and before I knew it I had it finished. But on the other hand at times the MC's really irritated me... It is very well written "cinderfella" story; rich businessman meets and falls in love with a very poor surfer boy from the wrong side of the tracks. So, slightly cliche yes, but with a distinct British 'voice' that makes the cliches seem to disappear. The indecisiveness of both MC's was what annoyed me slightly. There were times I would have gladly reached in and given both of them a good shake and told them to grow up. But even with that I truly enjoyed the journey of these guys. I believe the ending was a little rushed, and I would have liked it to maybe have been handled slightly different. But perhaps that's just me not really wanting the story to end once the characters had found their backbones...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hrtnsoul28

    This book did not hold my interest. Alec is a rich guy who needs to take a vacation from life every year, including his mother and fiancé'. Has not acknowledged he may be gay. He meets Darren who says his name is Ryan. Darren has had a difficult life, druggy father and brother, abusive ex boyfriend or so he thinks. He ends up taking Alec's bank card and stealing 2000 pounds. The crazy part is Alec wants him back. There were many plot twists that should have kept me interested but call me crazy no This book did not hold my interest. Alec is a rich guy who needs to take a vacation from life every year, including his mother and fiancé'. Has not acknowledged he may be gay. He meets Darren who says his name is Ryan. Darren has had a difficult life, druggy father and brother, abusive ex boyfriend or so he thinks. He ends up taking Alec's bank card and stealing 2000 pounds. The crazy part is Alec wants him back. There were many plot twists that should have kept me interested but call me crazy not sure I could fall for someone who steals from me, thought it was payment for sex. Then the whole Max never meant to almost kill Alex he just did not know what he was doing in their BDSM games. Then chases him down to apologize and gives him a huge sum of money. Sorry it just did not sit right with me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Suze

    A highly descriptive story, almost ott at times about the scenery, in contrast to the desperate straits both Alec and Darren find themselves in. Alec is being smotheed both by his mother and the life he leads A poor little rich boy scenario - whilst having a smidge of sympathy, my main thought was grow a pair! Darren's life has been awful pretty much from the word go as we learn about how he and his brother were treated as children, unwanted by both parents, though lucky to be left with his Nan. A A highly descriptive story, almost ott at times about the scenery, in contrast to the desperate straits both Alec and Darren find themselves in. Alec is being smotheed both by his mother and the life he leads A poor little rich boy scenario - whilst having a smidge of sympathy, my main thought was grow a pair! Darren's life has been awful pretty much from the word go as we learn about how he and his brother were treated as children, unwanted by both parents, though lucky to be left with his Nan. A bad relationship that left him in hospital has left him gunshy too. I did find it interesting but at times a bit annoying, just wanting one of them to stand up for themself or the other - and I wanted to send Alec's mum to Timbuktu!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    extra points for the plot twist, I enjoyed it. I like how many shades of gray this story looked at. and the phrase is not referring to that book, but actually is not a bad association, I mean, we ARE looking at(view spoiler)[a story showing the WRONG way to do BDSM (hide spoiler)] , at least briefly. I was totally on board with pretty much everything on the story until(view spoiler)[ we get to the proposal at the very end. seriously? taking things a little quick, aren't we? (hide spoiler)] but I extra points for the plot twist, I enjoyed it. I like how many shades of gray this story looked at. and the phrase is not referring to that book, but actually is not a bad association, I mean, we ARE looking at(view spoiler)[a story showing the WRONG way to do BDSM (hide spoiler)] , at least briefly. I was totally on board with pretty much everything on the story until(view spoiler)[ we get to the proposal at the very end. seriously? taking things a little quick, aren't we? (hide spoiler)] but I didn't take off too many points because that is very much based on my personal experiences, and isn't necessarily wrong for the story. if recommend this one overall though. and the writing is pretty good.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    More like 2.5 stars. I found both of the main characters annoying and unlikable. As for the rest...I mean, if you don't like the main characters how are you supposed to like the book in general? Well, like many others here, I did appreciate the writing. Sometimes an author goes overboard with the descriptions, but I felt like Alex Beecroft got it just right. I felt like I could see everything she described. That portion of the book was really wonderful. More like 2.5 stars. I found both of the main characters annoying and unlikable. As for the rest...I mean, if you don't like the main characters how are you supposed to like the book in general? Well, like many others here, I did appreciate the writing. Sometimes an author goes overboard with the descriptions, but I felt like Alex Beecroft got it just right. I felt like I could see everything she described. That portion of the book was really wonderful.

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