the Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
It’s 1983 and Nick Guest is invited to stay with his Oxford friend, Toby, and his family in their fancy house in Kensington Gardens. The Feddens are wealthy and the father, Gerald, has just become a new Tory MP and has huge ambitions, including meeting the Iron Lady. The daughter, Catherine, suffers from manic depressions and Nick has a special duty of taking care of her when the rest of the family is not present.

Nick has always had a crush on Toby and he hopes that by living in the same house would lead to a chance. Meanwhile, he is responding to the lonely hearts column in gay magazines and he meets up with Leo, a black older man and they instantly hit it off.

Fast forward to 1986 and Leo is no longer in Nick’s life. Instead he is the secret lover to a boy of multimillionaire Lebanese immigrants with an addiction to cocaine and threesomes. Nick is having his time of his life partying with all the Lords, Sirs, MPs, Counts and whatnots while working on his thesis about Henry James and spending his lover’s money. And AIDS is killing many of the gays they know.

1987 and boom! All hell breaks loose in the circle of posh upper class people.

This book had me right from the beginning with Nick’s struggle to fit in with the Feddens and their circle. And it is not for a second boring, although little happens until the last 100 pages or so. The language is amazing and how it all unfolds in the end was nothing like I expected. Sure, I was waiting for some kind of disaster, but the plot just blew me away. I wish I had the proper time to sit down with this book instead of just reading a couple of pages before bed time because this book really deserves your undivided attention.