Brazenly romantic debut about a London golden-boy artist who hits the skids but redirects his wayward life with the help of a nice girl from the neighborhood
At 28, Gilver Memmer had a glittering reputation based as much on his good looks and lavish parties as on the wildly expensive paintings that made him rich. In the subsequent decade, he didn’t actually paint much but assumed that the money would last forever. It didn’t, and at 39 he can no longer afford his luxurious flat in a London mews. His college roommate Harry, a gay decorator half in love with Gilver and easily manipulated by him, finds the artist a dilapidated studio in Ladbroke Grove. Unused to doing things for himself, Gilver latches onto a pretty young working woman, Alice, who proceeds with astounding alacrity to help him clean his new flat for three days. She’s in love with him, too, but Gilver forgets about her and spends the next two years wallowing in self-pity. Alice, meantime, learns about his spectacular past from her scary, backstabbing girlfriend Juliette, a journalist who has harbored a personal grudge against Gilver for 15 years and, just as he’s about to stage a comeback, seizes the opportunity to ruin him with a vicious editorial in her scandal sheet, Rogue. British author Stockley provides all the necessary combustible elements for a devilishly entertaining narrative, including nicely salacious details of Gilver's boozy sexual escapades. In time-honored romance fashion, her darkly hubristic hero must be civilized, though American women will probably find Alice too much of a doormat. (Would an English woman really clean a strange man’s apartment without asking for anything in return?) Harry, however, is a true-blue character they can root for, and while Stockley can be catty—generally when denigrating female characters like Juliette who are ambitious and sexually driven—she is seldom glib and never dull.
Repellent characters redeemed by saucy, vivid writing.