Mike Barrow and his friends are among many boys in Manchester who think the city will be their chance to improve themselves. But for now Mike is living in a damp flat with his friend Callum, and they’re both making ends meet by working the streets. When Mike meets Chris Wildsmith, a late-twenties entrepreneur, he thinks he’s hooked a job that will pay his rent for several weeks—a windfall already.
But his connection with Chris quickly goes beyond what’s normal between rent boy and client. Mike meets Chris’s friends, goes to Chris’s parties with him as his “boyfriend,” and finds himself swept up in a world he’s never known. He’s sure it’s all going to go horribly wrong, and when Chris’s work colleague figures them out and becomes violent, he’s almost proven right. But Mike isn’t the only one who has confused professionalism with something else. The breakup that follows gives Mike the impetus he needs to relaunch himself as somebody else, a man who will hopefully be someone Chris very much wants to be with.
If you’ve seen the movie “Pretty Woman” you know the basic plot summary of Downpayment. Substitute an insecure British guy for Julia Roberts and a set it in the UK.
I don’t normally like to be abrupt with my reviews, especially since I appreciate how it can be difficult to be a writer and put something out there for people to read and consider, but this just was too similar to the movie for comfort. I love the idea of doing a male, British take on the movie – there are a lot of ways it could have been really fun and interesting – but it just didn’t come across in this book.
There were several times the POV changed and it was hard for me to know from which perspective I was reading. Sometimes, when a book is very “British”, it takes a moment for the word choice and rhythm to take over and my brain to catch up, and this is such a book, only I never quite “caught up”.
From a “romantic” perspective, there are definite moments of great “feels” and I suppose if I’d never seen the movie I might have enjoyed this book, but it just never felt “right” to me.
(The cover does NOT match the content, FYI.)
2.75 of 5 stars
Reviewed by Morgan
Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review