An exquisitely told, tragic tale of thwarted love. From the moment Marion first lays eyes on Tom -- her best friend's big brother, broad, blond, blue-eyed -- she is smitten. And when he comes home from National Service to be a policeman, Marion, a newly qualified teacher, is determined to win him. Unable to acknowledge the signs that something is amiss, she plunges into marriage, sure that her love is enough for both of them. But Tom has another life, another equally overpowering claim on his affections. Patrick, a curator at the Brighton Museum, is also besotted with his policeman, and opens Tom's eyes to a world previously unknown to him. But in an age when those of 'minority status' were condemned by society and the law, it is safer for this policeman to marry his teacher. The two lovers must share him, until one of them breaks and three lives are destroyed.
I’m going to start off by saying that I only bought this book because of Harry Styles, yes, I am that person. I didn’t think it was the type of book I would really enjoy all that much, or if I’d be able to get into it, I DNF’d the first book I bought because of him. But, I adored this, I literally read it in one sitting, in a couple of hours, it literally captured me and I forgot about HS, and just got fully emerged in the story. The story was both heartbreaking and beautiful, and really told the tale of what it was like to be gay in the 1950’s, when it was still illegal. I felt so sorry for the characters, all of them. It was beautifully written and told the tale of a man and a woman who were in love with the same man. The fact that it was easier to hide your sexuality and to pretend that you have a normal life with a wife and a family in the 50s than to express yourself and come out is awful, I think Bethan really wrote the story so well to highlight this. It was such a tragic tale, for all three characters involved. I honestly found myself getting so annoyed and upset throughout, it was just not right at all, and what made it even worse was that it really was how it was back then. I found the writing so interesting and detailed, I had read before about how it was confusing as it jumped back and forward between the 1950’s and 1990’s but I didn’t find that at all. I really enjoyed the time jumps and the story from the different years. I think I enjoyed Patrick’s parts more than Marions, I found myself getting so annoyed at Marion and some of her choices, and couldn’t really sympathise with her as much as I did with Patrick, I found his parts so touching and raw. For me the story really picked up when Patrick’s narrative was introduced. I loved the other smaller characters that were woven into the story too, getting a glimpse at their lives, especially Julia! I would love a spin off book about her life! I would have loved to have a part from Tom’s perspective, I couldn’t help but wonder the whole time what he thought about everything, and what was going on inside his head, how he really felt about Marion, Patrick and his sexuality, but then I think that’s maybe what the author intended, with just the perspectives of his lovers it leaves so much open for your own interpretation. What happens to Patrick broke my heart, both in the 1950’s and then when he ends up back with Marion and Tom. I just hope he had some sort of happy ending, in my head he does, so that’ll do for me! I cannot wait to see this on the big screen (especially with Harry posting Tom, obvs!), it’s going to be such a brilliant and poignant movie, which I will definitely be first in line to see! Grab a copy for yourself if it’s something you think you might enjoy!