Book Reviews

All The Lovers by Harry F. Rey at Deep Desires Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / New Adult / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by ParisDude on 11-December-2020

Book Blurb

Still hung up on ex-boyfriend Shawn, Nick tries, tries, and repeatedly fails to find a meaningful connection in a parochial gay society still defined by closets and cruising. With fabulous best friend Mylo and straight-laced flatmate Jenna by his side, Nick’s journey to self-discovery forces him to confront not only his own demons, but those of all his lovers as well.

 

Book Review

Nick is a nineteen-year-old, handsome guy from rural Yorkshire. He comes from a working-class background and is currently studying business at Leeds University. He shares a student flat with self-assured Jenna, a lively young woman, and spends most of his time hanging out at student parties or in his favorite gay pub with his best friend Mylo, who is the epitome of gay fabulosity. And of course, more often than not, he has sex. With nameless strangers, with just-met hookups, with guys found on gay dating apps. Despite his claim that when you’re young and gay, slutting around is what you do, he is secretely looking for Love with a capital L. In fact, only two years ago, he met the amazing Shawn during a short vacation in Montreal, and after falling in love, he stayed in Canada and lived with the beautiful gingerhead for a year. But finally he was forced to come back to the UK to go to university, and what with Shawn prevaricating, they finally broke up.

 

Try as he might, Nick is still not over Shawn. Therefore he compares every new guy he meets to his first love. Yet Nick gives every new romance his best. He believes in it (well, sometimes only half-heartedly, but still). Could Patrok, the stunning Anglo-Greek, become his new soul mate? Unsurprisingly, the answer is no. Or the thirtyish posh doctor whose social background clashes so awfully with his own but who is so amazing in bed? Not really. Or Si, the fellow student and cute-as-they-come emo? No one measures up to… Shawn. Shawn whom he stumbles upon one day in Manchester, whom he beds once again, but leaves the next day, having decided he needs to get over him once and for all. Talk about being a mess at nineteen! But has destiny said its last word?

 

To me Harry F. Rey was the young author of highly addictive gay “soaps” until now. I’ve already reviewed the four first instalments of his ‘Line of Succession’ series, and I’ve read the first four books of his ‘Galactic Captains’ series with much pleasure (the latter being a gay and kinky science fiction/space soap opera I highly recommend to fans of the genre). That’s why I have to admit that this novel came as a complete surprise. It has all the steaminess I’ve become used to with Rey’s books, but the subject matter was very different from the rest I’ve read. Here I accompanied a young man in desperate search of himself. And I found so many things from my own youth in the descriptions and scenes, the twists and turns that it made me feel quite nostalgic. I’m not talking about the sex (although I had my slutty phase at twenty-two, I was nowhere as daring as Nick; I’ve never ever been to a gay sauna, for instance), but about the search for love. When I was young, all my friends and I were constantly prowling the city for hookups, yes (because they were easy to find), but we would ultimately always try to find our Mr. Darcy. And oh how many times we woke up utterly disappointed because the guy we had gone to bed with (or even shared a couple of weeks with) turned out not to be the one we wanted or needed!

 

All this despair and angst and the futility of hookups (together with bodily gratification) and the questioning and longing, all these aspects were packed into this novel very skilfully. All right, if I had to express some quibbles, I would have to say that the tenses in the first chapters were a bit meddled, going needlessly and incoherently from present tense to past tense—probably something that has been overlooked during the editing and proofreading process. Apart from that, Harry F. Rey is a skilled writer, I think I have already pointed that out in the past. He knows how to construct a story, how to cut it down into well-sized chapters and scenes, how to create characters full of life and reality, how to throw in a good number of twists and turns, and how to transform even the foreseeable (in this case, the ending) into a last-minute complete turn-around of the plot. Yes, I knew how this book was going to end, which means I was hoping throughout the read that it might end the way it did, but the closer I got to the last pages, the less this seemed likely. Kudos to the author.

 

‘All the Lovers’ is not your average youngster romance, it’s a book about the most important coming-out we all have to master at one point in our lives. We grow up and become adults with a heavy weight of expectations laid upon our shoulders. People tend to tell us how to do things, how to act, and how to be. Even when you’re gay, there are many who will try to influence you so that you conform to their idea of how to be gay, forgetting there is not one single way. Each one has to find out for themselves. When we come out to others, as difficult as it can be even today, we can only say we’ve told them what we are, but not who we are. Ultimately, what we are isn’t so important, however—it’s on the same level of importance as the color of our skin, or whether we’re left-handers, right-handers, ambidextrous; it only defines something we cannot (and should not) change. Now comes the much more difficult process, which is so well described in this novel, of finding out about our needs, our aspirations, our longings, our feelings, our characters, our way of dealing with other people, of coping with our feelings and emotions, etc. It’s all about really finding out who we are. For some that process seems to be easy; for others, it’s long and tortuous and hurtful.

 

Yes, I’ve loved reading about Nick’s stony path to finding himself and subsequently finding love at long last. As I said, I was forcefully reminded of myself at that age (well, a few years older because my coming-out took longer), so forecully by the way that at times, I was surprised to catch myself tearing up. A powerful novel with a lot of steamy sex (not only because Nick likes gay saunas), some hilarious dialogs, powerful friendships, and almost as many romantic subplots as Nick has sexual encounters, with the most powerful, the most beautiful leading… Oh no, I’m not gonna tell. You need to find out for yourselves.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.

 

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 227 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 11-December-2020
Price $4.99 ebook, $11.99 paperback
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/All-Lovers-Harry-F-Rey-ebook/dp/B08P9P5PX2