Book Blurb :
All children except one grow up.
—Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie
Peter Woods is a young man who’s content to live a gadfly life, darting from one experience to the next with no thought of the future. But his father has cut the purse strings and soon Peter may have to make a drastic change.
Wendell Rhodes is a stable, sober banker who has only recently discovered the underground gay nightlife in turn-of-the-century London. At a secret club, Ever Lads, Wendell meets Peter and flint meets tinder.
But the journey from lust to love is never easy. Peter’s father is determined to make a man of his son at last. When Wendell is threatened, will Peter sacrifice his freedom to save the man for whom he’s grown to care deeply, or is there another way clever Peter can save the day?
Very early on, I honestly had some doubts whether or not I would like this book. In fact I had rather very mixed feelings during the first third of the story, essentially due to the main protagonist, Peter and his behavior. But I’m very glad that I decided finally to persevere.
Peter Woods’ main goal in life is to enjoy it to the fullest, his only interests being fashion and pleasure! Everything about him seems superficial and selfish. At least, this is the image he presents to society. Indeed, his carelessness and disinterest in all things a bit more serious or that should be important for a young man of more or less thirty years, was, for me, a character flaw difficult to digest.
He made me think of a beautiful butterfly that goes from flower to flower … with nothing else to sustain his day … and each of those more or less the same. Let’s not forget to add one or two childish pranks to end an evening on or something even funnier when performed with a group of young men as much immature as himself.
He is jovial, he likes to joke, flirt and have multiple partners in his bed. In the meantime, you’re hoping that soon something different is going to happen. And thank god during the first third of the tale, Peter lets down his guard and for just a second you’ve a glimpse of something hidden and buried deep down, an old scar that never healed … a very good reason for such a completely-out-of-reality-behavior … a deeper meaning that explains this blatant rejection of adulthood or any of society’s rules and conventions. This is when I began to understand where he was coming from and then I was finally able to like him.
Peter has known from a young age that he was different from the other boys and apparently he accepted it rather easily. The difficult part was to be able to indulge his sexual proclivity with a minimum of discretion. At the dawn of the 20th century, British society wasn’t tender with men like them. But he was able to find a special and secret place called the “Ever Lad” Club, a refuge, a safe heaven where men like him could do whatever they wanted, if only for a few hours, and be free. And it’s there that Peter meets Wendell …
Wendell is everything that Peter is not. He’s in trade while Peter, as a true product of his time, relies only on his father’s allowance. Wendell never does anything lightly, is very conventional, rather unsure of himself and introverted. Smiling doesn’t come to him very easily. And during all these years, he always kept his secret needs safely locked inside.
Peter and Wendell’s characters are at the same time so dissimilar but also so complementary.
What begins for Peter as a game of seduction, turns out to be a much more intense and deeper one and certainly more dangerous to explore …. there’s that incomprehensible, desperate and alarming yearning, this need to be close to somebody that is so foreign to him … a totally unknown territory. For Wendell it’s no better; his very sober, quiet and peaceful life has been now irreparably shaken to the core. And the worst is that he’s afraid that Peter only wants to have some fun when all he would like is more … and you cannot help but feel for him.
The progression and development of their relationship and feelings for each other is described with finesse and feels totally credible. There’s a full range of sentiments and emotions in this story: lust, revelation, happiness, doubts, love, pain, sacrifice and acceptance.
I know that the story is loosely inspired by Peter Pan but I didn’t like the fact that every chapter began with a quote from J. M. Barrie’s book, it felt too distracting, so I stopped reading them very quickly.
Despite the fact that I had some problem at the beginning of the story, it remains that it’s a very well written and a wonderful book. I give it 4 couples
Pubisher : Amber Allure
Source : Purchased
Released : May 2012