REVIEW: Glimmer by Beth Kery
After graduating from her M.B.A. program, Alice Reed is surprised when she’s recruited for the management training experience at legendary Camp Durand, owned by Durand Inc.’s young, billionaire CEO, Dylan Fall. The company usually recruits from Ivy League schools, not insignificant colleges like Alice’s.
Alice enthusiastically accepts, but she still wonders why Dylan would choose a girl from the wrong side of the tracks for the prestigious program. But after a passionate encounter one night, she discovers exactly why—Dylan wants her, and Alice can hardly resist his fierce sexual appetites, though she is amazed that she could appeal to an experienced, sophisticated man like Dylan.
As Dylan introduces her to thrilling, erotic territory, Alice discovers a delicious new part of herself. Night after night, she steals away to find ecstasy and escape in Dylan’s arms. But behind her lover’s powerfully magnetic facade, Alice senses darkness, secrets from Dylan’s past lurking in his beautiful, lonely mansion—secrets that are starting to haunt Alice. And the ghosts of the truth might tear Dylan and Alice apart forever . . .
Dear Beth Kery,
I requested Glimmer for review because I’ve enjoyed your books in the past. I’m sorry to say I didn’t like this one as much as others of yours (Wicked Burn or Exposed to You for example). I think part of it is that I didn’t quite know what I was getting into. The blurb talks about “ghosts of truth” but I didn’t twig to that clue. For a time I thought there might be actual ghosts and that the story had paranormal elements. But no, what it has is a mystery. To say more about exactly what the mystery is would be spoilerish but it took me a while to get a handle on it. I think if I’d known going in that there were mystery elements to the story, it might have curbed some of my impatience with things which confused me.
The blurb also wasn’t clear that this is book one of at least a duology – the next book Glow, is due for release in December this year. The story, therefore, isn’t complete in this book. It doesn’t have a cliffhanger – thank you for that! Alice and Dylan are in a good place in their relationship and I’d say the end is pretty much HFN. The mystery subplot still has things to be resolved and I’m sure there will be more revelations in the next book. But a lot of things are resolved, or at least, resolved sufficiently, in this book to make it a satisfying read on its own.
It’s an erotic romance, so there’s a lot of sex. I usually enjoy reading sex scenes but I found myself skimming over some of them. I think it comes back to me trying to make sense of the story – it wasn’t until a good 2/3 or more into the book that I “got” it. This probably says more about my reading style than anything else – I’m generally not a fan of ambiguity and because I lacked an essential cue, I spent a bit of time feeling lost. That said, once I did get it, the earlier sections of the book made a lot more sense.
Perhaps because I wasn’t quite feeling it, I noticed some repetition in the sex scenes. (Although the sex stool scene was pretty good – I had to Google it so I could get a clear image in my head so bonus points for being educational!) Somewhat alarmingly, Alice has a super vagina. It is so sensitive that she can feel Dylan’s penis “swell” and “lurch” and “explode” inside of her. While it is not untypical to describe such things in romance novel sex, for some reason I noticed more of it here. (I took to Twitter to ask if cocks really do swell before orgasm and I’m told that some actually do. Although I’m informed that it is mostly noticeable during oral or manual stimulation. Clearly I have lived a sheltered life.)
I did like that Alice is a math geek (even though I am math-challenged) and I appreciated her eye for trends in statistics. Her skills are more than just background characterisation and I enjoyed her competence.
I also liked how dedicated Alice was to the children in her charge at Camp Durand. Australians don’t have a summer camp culture. Maybe they go away for a couple days with the Scouts or YMCA or something, but not for weeks. We are familiar with summer camps only because of movies and books. It seemed a little odd for a corporation to run a summer camp but it made sense enough within the book and I was prepared to go with it.
The camp counsellors are all potential Durand executives and the camp is essentially (very well paid) work experience. They get to show off things such as teamwork, delegation, problem solving, interpersonal skills, etc, in an environment which will expose character weaknesses in a way a simple job interview cannot. There is a rigorous interview process to be a camp counsellor and even then, interviews are by invitation only. Business people all over America are chomping at the bit to get a gig as a Camp Durand Counsellor.
The campers are all children from underprivileged backgrounds – many of them have criminal records and/or psychological problems and/or health issues. The camp is pretty luxurious and it’s free so (apparently) their parents/guardians are happy enough to let them attend. The camp teaches them life skills and builds up their self-esteem so they might excel in the future – Dylan Fall was just such a camper and now he’s the CEO of Durand Enterprises. I’m not entirely clear on what, if anything, Durand does for the kids in the intervening months they’re not at camp. Perhaps someone more expert than I am will comment on whether the representation here is problematic.
Dylan isn’t directly involved in Camp Durand. Other Durand executives are present and hands-on but not him. However, Camp Durand is on the Durand property and Dylan lives there in the ‘castle’. (It’s really quite castle-like.) Out jogging one morning, Alice sees someone following her and runs in a panic through the woods, directly into Dylan Fall’s arms. It doesn’t take long before there are sexy times. Perhaps a little more than the usual suspension of disbelief has to be granted to accept how quickly Dylan and Alice fall into sexual intimacy.
I enjoyed the later part of the book better than the beginning. Once things made more sense to me, I was able to better relax into the story. I’m curious about Thad and Brooke and Sebastian Kehoe and what other things might be going on in the background. I liked that Dylan actually worked in the book and that he respected Alice’s professional skills and talents.
I might be an outlier regarding Glimmer. (I’m really not very good at mysteries.) I liked it but it wasn’t the compulsive reading experience that my favourites of your books have been.