Rated 5.00/5 based on 1 reviews
(Second Edition, published April 2014)

Haunted by the abuse of his now missing father, seventeen year old Sammy stumbles upon the seedy world of drug addiction and prostitution of London's West End in the 1980s. Cold, desperate and exhausted, he takes shelter in a trash-filled alley behind a strip club, unaware that what is about to unfold will change the course of his life. More

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About Debbie McGowan

Debbie McGowan is an award-winning author of contemporary fiction that celebrates life, love and relationships in all their diversity. Since the publication in 2004 of her debut novel, Champagne—based on a stage show co-written and co-produced with her husband—she has published many further works—novels, short stories and novellas—including two ongoing series: Hiding Behind The Couch (a literary ‘soap opera’ centring on the lives of nine long-term friends) and Checking Him Out (LGBTQ romance). Debbie has been a finalist in both the Rainbow Awards and the Bisexual Book Awards, and in 2016, she won the Lambda Literary Award (Lammy) for her novel, When Skies Have Fallen: a British historical romance spanning twenty-three years, from the end of WWII to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. Through her independent publishing company, Debbie gives voices to other authors whose work would be deemed unprofitable by mainstream publishing houses.

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Laura Susan Johnson reviewed on Nov. 2, 2012

A very colorful and complex portrait of '80s life as a gay man. Debbie McGowan paints a vivid and disconcerting portrait of the sordid underworld which her youthful protagonist, Sammy, haunted for life by the abuse he endured by his now missing father, navigates with cautious aspirations. Every sense is involved as you follow Sammy during the outrageous 1980s gay street/bar scene in London.

McGowan's writing is comparable to Sarah Waters' extremely thorough and captivatingly sensual descriptions. The journey that Sammy takes, and his relationship "Champagne" reminded me a bit of watching the movie "Gia" which was the portrait of the lesbian supermodel's chaotic descent into drugs and disallusion. But unlike Gia, "Champagne," while dark and disturbing in its depictions, is not a story of a downward spiral into doom. Rather it is an enthralling and intimate peek into one plucky and personable young man's search for the truth, and for answers, and his refusal to give up finding those answers.

I read this on a PDF on my computer. I have a harder time reading that way, and want to buy the paperback as soon as I can so I can enjoy it even more. I love gay themed fiction and I especially love period pieces. Highly recommended.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
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