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Stage Whispers by Adam Fitzroy

This novel by Adam Fitzroy has written “UK” all over; in the setting, that is easy, but also in the mood and the feeling, bittersweet humor, comfortable romance, fire under the ashes sex, all bundled together in more than 500 pages, all of them perfectly timed in a slow paced rhythm.

Callum and Jon are the most unlikely likely couple you can imagine; unlikely due to the age differences, the different life expectations, maybe even a little bit their upbringings; likely since they are both actors, they understand each other without many words, and they of course are in love.

As I said this is not a fast paced romance, and I truly enjoyed how Callum courted Jon without more or less Jon realizing it, and in a way without neither the reader. Callum is probably the most complex character since, truth be told, the author was really good in making him an easy target for the reader hating: Callum is the one who drags Jon in a relationship to then dumping him and marrying a woman; Callum is the one who dares to come back into Jon’s life when he needs comfort without considering how painful that can be for Jon; Callum is the one who continues to maintain a bond with Jon when it would be better for the other man to be freed… but fellow readers, trust me and don’t give up on him since I will assure you he will be able to atone all his sins.

On the other hand I think you can love or hate Jon, there are no half-measures with him; hate him since he has that aloof halo around him like nothing can touch his heart, since his heart is wrapped in ice; love him since it’s easy to understand that it’s not ice around his heart, but simply a self-protective shield. It’s easy to like Callum, he is like a puppy, or a teddy bear, and he is scandalously and unashamedly free, really proving his young age, but he is also considerate of Jon’s feelings and troubles. It’s not explicitly written, but I think he was the one cutting their relationship since, in a way, he was trying to protect Jon, Callum knew that Jon was not ready to lose everything in exchange of his love; that was where Callum was wrong, and maybe he was a little presumptuous from his side to pretend to know what was better for Jon, but still, I think he did it with good intentions.

I really love the setting, the small town feeling of the theatre world, where everyone knows everyone else; the little gossip that was sometime reflected by the more mainstream media gossip, but that was mostly told behind closed doors, in front of a cup of tea; the tight net of relationships, marriages and funerals all in the span of less than 3 grades of connections (friend of a friend). Of course in more than 500 pages, the stories told are not only that of Callum and Jon, but also of their circle of friends, in good and bad, no one character will enter the scene without a purpose or/and its own story to tell, and like those gossiping spinsters or widows in front of a cup of tea, the reader will enjoy to listen to their bad or good outcome.

http://www.manifoldpress.co.uk/2011/05/stage-whispers/

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading%20list&view=elisa.rolle

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
gaycrow
Oct. 31st, 2011 09:46 am (UTC)
I enjoyed this, mainly for the reasons you state in your first paragraph.

I did want to slap both characters at stages during the story - they're not perfect, but nevertheless Adam Fitzroy is a good storyteller, and I was glad to have bought this book.
elisa_rolle
Oct. 31st, 2011 09:51 am (UTC)
there is another "UK" fire under the ashes romance I like, The Larton Chronicles by James Anson (http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/502360.html), and Adam Fitzroy remembers me a lot that author.
gaycrow
Oct. 31st, 2011 06:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the rec. I've heard of this story before. It's a bit tricky to get hold of, but I found a source that may be able to help.
elisa_rolle
Oct. 31st, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC)
yes, I know. I bought that one in print and it was a bet, but the book arrived perfectly in time. I tried to sound out if the publisher has any idea to publish them in ebook, but apparently no plan in the foresee future
adam_fitzroy
Oct. 31st, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Elisa; this definitely is not a book that will appeal to people who like their fiction to be wall-to-wall sex and it's always a pleasure to meet someone who appreciates slow, detailed storytelling.

And I can assure gaycrow that I wanted to slap the pair of them a time or two myself!

BTW I'm afraid I feel tagging it with 'theme:virgins' is inaccurate since both had had previous sexual relationships with men; the problem was, they both expected this one to be the same as all the others - and it wasn't similar at all!

But thank you for your very welcome comments.
elisa_rolle
Oct. 31st, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you Adam for your comment; I think I understand your worries about that tag and so I removed it.
adam_fitzroy
Oct. 31st, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I appreciate that! I know there's always a certain amount of debate about what constitutes virginity and I wouldn't want any potential reader to feel they'd been misled! ;-)
hyarrowen
Oct. 31st, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
I completely endorse this review; it's such a lovely book, so very real! And its gentle pace is a positive asset; the reader can take their time and really appreciate the quality of the writing.
elisa_rolle
Oct. 31st, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
I savored this book in three days, something odd for me, but I really found myself wanting to enjoy every word.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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