Cover Image: The Inverts

The Inverts

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Member Reviews

This is a slow burner of a read that is bothfunny and uplifting in parts and heart- wrenxhing in others. It was well written with an interesting storyline and well developed characters that were likeable and real. At times the pacing made for a slow read but overall it was an enjoyable read that I would read again and recommend.
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I really struggled to get into this one sadly. 
The concept really caught my eye and sounded fun and glamorous. 
Unfortunately I couldn’t gel with it and I can’t even put my finger on why exactly. Some bits were funny and the characters were often witty and sassy. I liked the close friendship between Bettina and Bart even though they weren’t always the most likeable of characters. I just wasn’t as invested in the story as I wanted to be. 
The writing was good though and I did like how the story spanned across so many years.
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A bit too slow in pace that it felt like it never really got going. Great concept, just wanted it to be better executed.
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Fantastic fun, and also sweet and sad in places. I would highly recommend this for people who've always wanted to read a queer Great Gatsby.
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Unfortunately I just could not get into this book. It may be one for other readers, but I was unable to finish it.
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The Inverts begins with Bart and Bettina toasting to their eternal happiness, to a lifetime of fun being married to your best friend. The narrative then switches to a lifetime later when their long-suffering daughter and bored grandson rushing to the nursing home where Bettina now lives, sitting as glamourous and immaculately turned out, as the police and press descend on the once famous wife of a celebrated actor about a murder fifty years ago.

What follows is less to do with the mystery, as you might have expected, but an unconventional love story about two gay friends who marry to escape the heteronormative, oppressive lifestyles being forced on them in late adolescence. Bart and Bettina are childhood friends and getting married seems like the answer to all their problems, Bart can continue his affairs with other young men and Bettina can escape the rumours of an incident with another girl at boarding school. 

Their marriage is glamourous and companionable but not as smooth sailing as they would have hoped as both are passionate and possessive even outside of a romantic relationship and the drinking and drug taking, along with risky affairs, that are part and parcel of their decadent lifestyle are in constant danger of tipping the tempestuous union over the edge. 

I really enjoyed reading about the glamour and the parties of the interwar period in England, and when things are going well for Bart and Bettina I loved the comfortable, loving home they built for themselves as a refuge from a world that didn't understand them, letting them to love if not freely, then relatively unimpaired. It makes me sad, of course, to read about how this deception was so necessary, up until very recently here and still probably happens elsewhere. However, I love reading about LGBT+ people in historical novels which serves as a reminder that they have always existed despite horrible laws and social practices that forced them to hide.

Unfortunately, the book just seemed to go on a little long for me and I found some of the sections, especially about them fighting, a bit tiring. I wanted more of the mystery that started the book and I think that without the mystery to guide it and structure it the rest of the story fell a little flat for me. I'd still recommend it as an enjoyable read but it just wasn't a favourite for me.
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I loved the historical aspect of the book and the friendship between the main characters, who were both well fleshed-out and interesting. The writing was also funny and pretty. However the casual fatphobia was a little uncomfortable to read.
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I don't know how I'd briefly summarize the plot of The Inverts. All I can say is that it is the story of 2 best friends - Bart & Bettina - who realize they're both queer and their life together as a couple in a lavendar marriage. It also has a mystery element to it, but I cannot reveal more than that cause I might spoil the story.

Both Bart and Bettina are unlikable characters. They're so annoying to each other most of the time. And I love that about them. I don't understand why people are rating this book low cause of this. Do they only WANT to read about nice queer characters? sounds a bit boring but to each their own, I guess. I enjoyed this book's crassness, and the characters' messiness. I am neutral about all the descriptions of bodily fluids, flatulence and genitals - THAT was a bit weird, but oh well.

What I DID have a major problem with was the random fatphobia thrown around in the book. At first, it was just Bart making fun of his best friend Bettina for being fat. And sometimes Bettina would remark to herself about how fat she was. Which are both fine, i think, cause that does sound like a lived experience for people. But then it became very icky when Bart comes across a pleasant fat gentleman and immediately remarks to himself that he just was not into him. A few chapters later, he tries to jack off to the thought of the same guy and when he isn't able to he brushes it off in a way that suggests fat people are just not his type - which is such a weird thing to think/say and the author could've just NOT written it that way cause all of this bore no relevance to the plot whatsoever.

Read this book if you want to read about some imperfect queer characters, lifelong friendships, and if you are comfortable with everything I've said in the review so far.
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I did like this book but there were some things missing in it for me. The main premise was interesting and the characters were done well but but I just felt it it was a little flat and underwhelming in places and not what I wanted from it in the end. There was potential but it just needed a little bit more work to get it there.
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Unfortunately I just could not get into this book. It may be one for other readers, but I was unable to finish it.
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I really love the premise of this book and feel like there is an amazing queer historical fiction story in it (that could be adapted into a movie about the power of friendship and the struggle of lgbtq+ people historically, which win loads of awards). 

This is not that book.

However, that's not to say this book is awful. I know some other reviewers didn't enjoy the unlikeable characters, the story structure, etc. I completely get those criticisms but still... I enjoyed it.

Bettina and Bart's messy, dysfunctional struggle to make sense of their lives, loves and present a socially acceptable heterosexual front felt pretty real in some ways. I don't imagine being queer (and filled with internalised homophobia during an era when your sexuality was illegal or invisible) was easy. I don't imagine trying to carve out a life that felt authentic was easy. So, I forgive their failings and follies.

So while his book doesn't live up to its potential, I still found it to be an enjoyable read.
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A hilarious story set in the 1920s about the ‘Lavender Marriage’ between Bettina and Bart: two friends who are young, rich, charismatic... and definitely very gay.
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I think the marketing for this book was the problem here; it's sort of presented as a gay Grand Tour type book, with lots of fun and japes and queer shenanigans, and it's just... not that. It's a lot darker than you'd think from the cover and the blurb. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I wish I could have read the book I was expecting.

The good: the depth of character, the depiction of friendship and queer solidarity, the sense of history and place

The bad: the mystery, which never really went anywhere for me, the repetitive feeling of the drugs / party scenes, the weird obsession with farts
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I think I got about a third of the way through this, maybe even half before I realised I just didn't care about the main characters anymore. They were kinda horrible people and kinda predatory. Also the murder is solved right in the beginning???? And this all sucks because a historical fiction novel about a lavender marriage in the 20s sounds so grand and then I get this and it's just bleh.
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The Inverts tells the story of childhood best friends, Bart and Bettina and explores their ‘lavender marriage’. 

Set in the 1920’s their sexual orientation was stigmatised and forbidden but also beautiful and loving. 

I absolutely loved this novel, fun and quirky and powerful while also having a great story running through. Thoroughly recommend.
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Bettina and Bart have been best friends since childhood. When a test kiss goes horribly wrong, there goes their future, or does it? Both Bettina and Bart are gay, but perhaps a lavender marriage while they pursue other romances might be just the ticket to a successful and happy life. But the course of true love, and the lives of queer folks throughout history, never do go as planned. With a lavish lifestyle of sex, drugs, and jazz, Bettina and Bart are on a crash course to disaster that will lead to a decades long mystery.

This book was just okay for me. I wasn’t particularly endeared to the characters, and at least anecdotally, Bart’s relationships and woes were more center stage than Bettina’s. I kind of skimmed the second half, and while I stuck around to figure out the mystery introduced in the opening pages, I wasn’t engaged with the story. I felt that the author had a huge task of covering a massive amount of time, and that can be daunting as well as present the issue of having to gloss over certain parts of time and relationships and what not.

I’m not going to not recommend this book, because queer rep always, particularly in historical fiction, but overall, it’s not one I super enjoyed.
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Bettina and Bart are friends with benefits – if one of those benefits is a lavender marriage wherein they can be wedded to each other – and love each other very much – but not be in love with each other. In fact, both are gay and getting hitched seems a great idea: society (it is 1921) will leave them alone so they can still enjoy their own liaisons. It sounds like the perfect solution to their worries… but is it? The decade of decadence – my favourite period to read books about – ensures they’re never bored, but neither friend could predict how life was going to take quite a few different turns. Quite unlike anything I’d read before but the writing, oh, I would read this over and over. Funny, warm, scathing in parts and shrewd throughout, this is a clever read that stays with you long after you’ve finished.
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This book was funny in parts, and felt true to life. I struggled a little due to not being a huge fan of either of the main characters, and the fact that nothing nice seemed to happen to them at all, it was just a list of hit after hit for the main characters that ended kind of abruptly.

Overall, a good book for people who are looking for accurate historical LGBTQ+ representation.
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NOTE: if you want a sweet and inoffensive story this is the wrong book
I loved this story! The characters are witty, sometimes cruel and often very funny.
It's a good story and it kept me hooked. It's entertaining and sad at the same time, a lot of humor but the historical background is not very happy.
There's plenty of sex but there's also friendship and a good story.
I loved it and I want to read other books by this author.
Strongly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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This is an unapologetically queer novel, funny, sad, bittersweet. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Inversts tells the story of a pair of best friends, both gay, who subvert the homophobic, conservative 1920s. Essentially, they agree to be each other's beards and get married, so they can continue to have relationships with people of their choice. It is a story about friendship, how it's tested and strained, and how it holds together despite everything. 

Thanks for the review copy, NetGalley.
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