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Publisher's Summary

Alfie Bell is . . . fine. He's got a six-figure salary, a penthouse in Canary Wharf, the car he swore he'd buy when he was 18, and a bunch of fancy London friends. 

It's rough, though, going back to South Shields now that they all know he's a fully paid-up pansy. It's the last place he's expecting to pull. But Fen's gorgeous, with his pink-tipped hair and hipster glasses, full of the sort of courage Alfie's never had. It should be a one-night thing, but Alfie hasn't met anyone like Fen before. 

Except he has. At school, when Alfie was everything he was supposed to be, and Fen was the stubborn little gay boy who wouldn't keep his head down. And now it's a proper mess: Fen might have slept with Alfie, but he'll probably never forgive him, and Fen's got all this other stuff going on anyway, with his mam and her flower shop and the life he left down south. 

Alfie just wants to make it right. But how can he, when all they've got in common is the nowhere town they both ran away from.

Contains mature themes.

©2018 Alexis Hall (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about Pansies

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Profile Image for John Edward
  • John Edward
  • 30-04-2020

Just didn't go anywhere

I've read several Alexis Hall novels. Some I really loved and others not at all. They don't even sound like the same author wrote them. This never seemed to go anywhere. The plot stagnated. I don't mind some angst but this never let up. I just gave up and didn't finish.

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  • J Pearson
  • 04-09-2020

No one does redemption better than Alexis Hall

In book after book, Alexis Hall gives us a character who's given up, or very nearly, and he slowly, carefully, and sometimes with really wicked sharp wit, brings them back to life, usually through a lover who won't give up on them. The Billionaire series and the Spires series are both about redemption through love, and as corny as that sounds, Alexis Hall makes it so deeply human that the cliche turns real and has the power to move and even inspire. I loved the book, the narration, the whole thing, and as with every Alexis Hall book, I finish it and get so unnerved that there's not another one to listen to that I go back and listen to it again, and it holds up to a second listen, and I suspect to a third.

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  • Cranky Reader
  • 27-05-2020

Bit of a tearjerker

Alfie is the kind of guy who never needed, nor wanted, to examine his life or privilege until he figured out he was gay. His way is about crashing headlong then fixing things after. This includes hooking up with Fen, his former teenage target. Fen is wallowing in “brackish despair” after losing his mom and gives in to the urge to sleep with his former bully, who doesn’t even have the decency to remember bullying him. They both want more, but Fen needs some convincing.

In general, Fen and Alfie are good for each other. Thankfully most of the book, except the prologue & epilogue, are from Alfie’s POV because Fen’s grief might have been overwhelming otherwise. The book is mostly about the guys learning to live with how life is, in a time when it’s less difficult but not easy to be gay. Alfie is pretty good about making things easier for Fen, who needs that. Fen offers Alfie both the need for thoughtful reflection and bursts of happiness and comfort. I liked the story for all that it made me cry rather more than I prefer.

Steam: Med. M/M sexytimes on page, intermittently. It felt like the right amount.

Narration: I like the narrator from other stories. He was good here too. Emotes enough but not melodramatically. I have no way of knowing if the accents were right but they sounded fine to me. The POV & time shifts for the first 3 scenes made it hard to attach at first, but by the time the guys meet up at the bar, things settled enough to make sense. Not sure if it would have been more or less confusing in print.

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  • Kristie H
  • 26-05-2020

Love Alexis Hall

I love everything AH writes! These characters were well-suited to each other and tugged at the heartstrings.

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  • Janice Birnie
  • 11-03-2020

Wonderful.

Alexis Hall has a unique and wonderful gift. There isn’t a story he’s written that hasn’t totally engaged me and made me fall in love with his characters. There’s a realism to his writing that touches the reader with the simple beauty and frailty of the MC’s.
Cornell Colons does a superb job in bringing these characters to life. I felt like I was overhearing the conversations and was completely immersed in their world.
A wonderful love story beautifully told.
Highly recommend.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 27-02-2020

loved it

This will definitely be a relisten for me. I absolutely adored it, and I think this is my new favorite Alexis Hall book!

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  • Texan2
  • 18-02-2020

Loved This

I loved this story! Alexis Hall's work is always amazing. Mr. Collins took those words and weaved a magic spell. The words "Alfie Bell" as said by Fen will stay with me for a long time. I hope Mr. Collins has more up his sleeve.

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  • Well Read Romantic
  • 18-02-2020

fantastic

this book was fantastic. excellent narration imo. earmarking this audio for my book tracking purposes.

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  • Fey Gilo
  • 11-02-2020

Fantastic

I just love Alexis Hall. Her writing is both funny and heart felt. I loved the journey her characters take. They are both likable and sympathetic. This book is also sooooo sexy. It really has everything

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  • AAHickman
  • 11-02-2020

Gorgeous story of redemption and forgiveness

I'm not sure why I hadn't re-read this previously because this book is really gorgeous, no surprise. It's about redemption and forgiveness and acceptance like most of Alexis Hall's books, but this one feels personal in a way that some of the others don't achieve. I may only feel that way because of some of his background that he's shared, but regardless it's just beautiful. I love that all of that is tied up together, Fen forgiving Alfie, both of them forgiving the town they grew up in, and recognizing that there is good with the bad in all of our backgrounds. Finally I think it's Alfie forgiving himself for all the things that he did, and accepting everything that makes him who he is. I love the idea that Fen always saw the parts of Alfie that he did his best to hide and reject.

The common saying of "You can't go home again." has always meant to me that it doesn't exist anymore, but this felt that while the home you grew up in may not exist as it was you can go back to the parts of your home that you choose to remember. You can create new memories that layer over the good and the bad parts of your past, and that all of that can help heal the wounds you live with.

I really like that Fen's parents were always there for him, always supported him, and always recognized the true jewel they had in their midst. I like that it was, in the end, Alfie's dad that actually ended up being the more supportive of his parents, that doesn't seem to happen often in mm romance. Although supportive is probably ... too generous, but nonetheless. It's unfortunate though probably more realistic that they couldn't open their hearts and minds to accept Alfie as he is.

I love them together, I love that on the surface they seem like they'd have nothing in common, nothing to bind them together, but that their shared past was enough for them to find those things that made them possible.

Audio: Cornell Collins did a lovely job with the Geordie accent, I know that was a big concern and reason for this not being released in audio sooner. I'd love to listen to more books with that accent although I don't think it is reflected that commonly in books. I enjoy his ability to make different characters distinct and that he, although sometimes a bit too exuberantly, actually acts out the emotions of the characters. Two things especially make me hate some audio, mispronunciation and reading at me, neither of which he ever does. I look forward to listening again soon.

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  • Book addict
  • 14-02-2020

Good book

I enjoyed listening to this a lot. By the end I wasn’t as swept away as I have been by other Alexis Hall books which is why I gave four stars, but it’s still good. The narrator’s voice was lovely, but the times when he did accents were a bit cringe worthy - fortunately most of the time he didn’t have an accent. He morphed from Geordie accent to Yorkshire and back again. His voice is great to listen to otherwise, though.

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