This is not your average love story.
Ben Easton is not your average romantic hero. He’s a tattooed, badass, wannabe rock star, working in a perfectly horrible dive bar in Camden Town. His life is good, and he’s totally unprepared for how one man will turn it upside down.
Stan isn’t your average heroine. As a gender-fluid man, he proudly wears his blond hair long, his heels sky-high, and his makeup perfectly executed. A fashion industry prodigy, Stan is in London after stints working in Italy and New York City, and he quickly falls for Ben’s devil-may-care attitude and the warm, soft heart Ben hides behind it.
Beneath the perfect, elegant exterior, Stan has plenty of scars from teenage battles with anorexia. And it only takes the slightest slip for his demons to rush back in while Ben is away touring with his band. With the band on the brink of a breakthrough, Ben is forced to find a way to balance the opportunity of a lifetime with caring for his beautiful boyfriend
“He sees the girl and likes her, and can touch the boy and like him too. He doesn’t try and make me ‘fit’ into any tick-box category. He just lets me be.”
Stanislav Novikov is many things. He’s a fashion journalist. He’s self-made and independant. He’s stunningly beautiful. He’s a boy and a girl. He’s anorexic.
Ben is bisexual, and works as a bartender/ guitarist/tutor. He’s all tattooed and badass on the outside, but soft as a marshmallow inside.
Stan’s genderfluidity doesn’t scare Ben off. On the contrary, he loves every part of Stan; the long, blond hair, the high heels, the make up. Ben practically worships Stan.
“I can’t offer you much,” Ben said, “but I can promise you a lot.[…] When we figure out what our family and our future will look like, I’ll do whatever it takes to make that real for us.”
This is not just a simple story. This is a love story’s timeline. It felt unique and amazing and I loved it so hard! The reader gets to experience the first they lay eyes on each other, the first phonecall, the first date, the first kiss, the first EVERYTHING!
The pacing is perfect. The strong feelings between Stan and Ben develop naturally and are never in question. They fall and they fall hard. But Stan’s demons are back and testing him once more. The question is, how will Ben react to this?
“I love you. Please. If you love me too, the only thing I want you to promise me is to never take the man I love away from me. Never take the man who made my life complete away. I would never be able to forgive you if you did that.”
Honestly, I cried a lot during the second part of the book. Despite that, the story is not overwhelmingly angsty. It’s hopeful and real, sometimes even funny.
I loved the quiet times Stan and Ben spent together. I loved Stan doing his hair and make up and rocking these high heels like nobody’s business! And I loved the characters. The secondary cast shines in this book. Tone, Ben’s best mate, means a lot to the story. Stan found a family, people he can rely on instead of being on his own.
Bottom line, I highly recommend this book. It’s my favorite Anna Martin to date, and Stan and Ben are two of my all time favorite characters.
“This lovemaking soothed him, and as they climaxed together, vibrating with shared pleasure, Stan found a part of himself clicking into place. He was a lover. A partner. The two of them together made something, created something, and it was beautiful and unique and theirs.”