Book Reviews

Always Eli (Forever Love 1) by Charlie Novak

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 11-November-2021

Book Blurb

What happens when a sassy drag queen falls for his brother’s best friend?

Eli Baker needs a job. Drag isn’t paying the bills and the life of a starving artist isn't as fun when he’s the one living it. Taking a temporary office job is meant to be a quick fix. It's not supposed to reintroduce him to the funny, sharp, and sweet Tristan Rose… who just so happens to be Eli's oldest brother’s best friend.

Eli can’t stand his brother, and the feeling is more than mutual. Getting involved with Tristan could mean family trouble, but Eli's never been one for following the rules, especially when breaking them means annoying his brother.

Tristan is far too intriguing to ignore, especially when he takes an interest in Eli’s life outside the office. He’s not at all what Eli expects, and maybe that’s exactly what Eli needs. But if push comes to shove, will Tristan choose Eli over his best friend?


Book Review

“Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever.” ~ Erich Fromm, (The Art of Loving)


Eli Baker, of ‘Always Eli’ by Charlie Novak, has always struggled to be himself, which means he is often at odds with what most people would consider “normal”. His love for everything drag is all-consuming, but a career as a full-time drag queen does not pay his bills. After taking a temporary job at a real estate firm as an administration assistant, he learns that Tristan, his elder brother’s best friend, works there.


Eli isn’t thrilled by the temporary job, but it’s a necessary evil. Eli has a law degree, but practicing law would mean pretending to be someone he is not or what everyone else thinks he should be doing, particularly his elder brother, Richard, with whom Eli has a contentious relationship. Since Tristan is his brother’s best friend, Eli assumes that Tristan is just as dull and narrow-minded. When Tristan comes over to greet him, Tristan doesn’t recognize Eli until Eli calls him by name.


Tristan has endured Richard’s rantings about Eli’s lack of motivation and adamant refusal to live up to his potential. Although grown-up Eli is uncomfortably appealing, Tristan knows he can’t act on his attraction. If Tristan does and things go wrong between him and Eli, Tristan will lose them both; it’s a chance he is not willing to take. So Tristan resolves to keep Eli in the friend zone. What he isn’t counting on is their compatibility. When their preconceived notions about each other dissolve, they see each other through new eyes. Free-spirited, self-assured Eli and compassionate, unassuming Tristan complement each other in a novel and affirmative way; nothing prevents their relationship from blossoming.


‘Always Eli’ is a mini-tutorial on the world of drag queens without being didactic. Eli is a bright, determined man who is dead-set on achieving his goals, regardless of what it takes to do so. He wasn’t expecting his brother’s boring best friend to be so understanding, accepting, and open to new ideas. Tristan saw parts of Eli that no one else did and, instead of misunderstanding him, loved him. Also, Tristan was a bridge between Eli and his brother that led to greater understanding between them. Thanks, Charlie, for an endearing story.




Disclaimer: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book was purchased by the reviewer.


Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 279 pages/78000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 23-September-2021
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link