Fifteen years ago, Liam Marshall broke Ben Harding’s heart in the most brutal way. Ben responded by ending their relationship and Liam eventually moved to pursue his architectural career. Ben doesn’t ever expect to see him again and that’s fine. His life is perfectly acceptable without Liam in it. And if it isn’t a very exciting life, then at least he has friends and family to make it more enjoyable.
Liam Marshall is having a midlife crisis. Or some kind of crisis. And instead of dealing with it, he finds himself driving back to the sleepy little town that he once called home. He doesn’t expect to find a warm welcome and he doesn’t get one, but this place and its people still have the ability to comfort him. Seeing Ben again brings back all the pain and hurt of their last meeting, but it also brings back the desire for something more. Putting the past behind them is easier said than done, but if Ben and Liam can find a way to move forward, they might be able to build something new.
All that Glitters was a lovely read that left me with the curious realization that it is possible to enjoy a book and not particularly like its main characters. All that Glitters is amazingly well paced. The author’s skill and natural writing flow make the story almost glide along. I found myself sailing through it and it never felt burdened or clumsy. The secondary characters, especially Uncle Calvin and Seth, are fantastic and written in such a way as to seem incredibly real and vibrant. We all know an Uncle Calvin… and if you don’t, well that’s just sad. You should really find one.
Everything about this book works except for the main characters. Liam cheats on Ben many times during their first go at romance. This is pretty despicable and when we meet him fifteen years later, he seems on the verge of a midlife crisis, but the reasons aren’t that big and dramatic and, as a result, he comes off as a bit of a whiner. At least to me. Other readers may feel differently. Ben hurls plenty of nasty zingers towards Liam after they meet again and it’s easy to enjoy them, at least at first. But that gets old and his behavior ends up seeming excessively cruel. He tends to toy with both Liam and a secondary character’s affections, which isn’t much better than being an adulterer in my opinion. So neither man comes off looking particularly good. Add to this that I never really felt any spark between them and the romance fizzles out long before it begins. We’re told they’re perfect for one another, but that’s a connection I never really saw. They aren’t terrible men and the author does a decent job of setting up Liam with a measure of redemption, but it was just hard to truly connect with either of them.
But despite that, I still thoroughly enjoyed All that Glitters. It’s well written and the author has a natural voice that I found very appealing. And maybe you’ll like Liam and Ben more than I did. I suspect their relationship leaves a great deal up to a reader’s individual interpretation and I think a lot of people will like the romance here. So, for me, while it isn’t a perfect book, it’s still a good one and I think it’s going to appeal to most readers!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.