All That Glitters (CrabbyPatty’s Review)

Title: All That Glitters
Author: Kate Sherwood
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Buy link: (Second Edition)
Page Count: 206
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

No matter what he tells himself, wealthy NYC architect Liam has never been able to forget his first love, Ben. But as he approaches midlife and realizes something is missing, can he forgive himself for the worst mistake he ever made—the one that left a hole no amount of career success can fill? Or will fear keep him from the full life he really wants?

Liam and Ben were childhood sweethearts, then college boyfriends. But when Liam cheated on Ben, Ben forced himself to cut ties and move on. He’s still living in the small town where they grew up, teaching, but it’s not the life he imagined for himself as a younger man. Still, when Liam returns, he can’t risk his heart again. He certainly can’t allow himself to love Liam again after fighting so hard to get over him.

Neither man wants to let go of the past and face their apprehension at starting over. They don’t want to fall in love a second time—but sometimes love happens whether it’s wanted or not.

Liam is a successful architect in NYC, but finds himself driving the few hours back to his home town over and again, without contacting any of his friends or his first love Ben, and returning back to his empty apartment. Until the day he finally enters town and comes face to face with Ben, and finds himself with tears running down his face. Can Liam truly go home again, can Ben ever forgive Liam for cheating on him, can Liam rediscover his passion for work?

I love how Kate Sherwood develops this story, as Liam returns home more and more, staying with Ben’s Uncle Calvin, working on a Habitat for Humanity house, connecting with old friends. And in the process, both he and Ben start to wonder if they have been looking at this all wrong. As young men, Ben and Liam thought because they were in love, they didn’t need to work on their relationship. When Liam cheated, their relationship ended without the realization that maybe they could have worked through it. Liam’s parents decide to divorce after many years without rancor and Liam realizes that putting on a false face of happiness and contentment wasn’t going to work for his parents, and it wasn’t going to work for him:

“You need to live your own life, Liam. You need to do what’s right for you, not what other people will think is impressive.”

Ben, who is continually controlling and channeling his emotions, comes to understand that he can’t hide away from everything – he needs to “feel it all, and live it all, and [he’s] going to get hurt, but the times in between the hurt will be fantastic.” The reconciliation between Liam and Ben unfolds slowly throughout the story, and while there is not a lot of on-page sex, the longing and the love between the two men is so beautifully done. I loved all the secondary characters Sherwood so richly develops, and perhaps my only niggle was that at times the pace of the story moved a bit too slowly. 4.5 stars for “All That Glitters.”

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Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader
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