Neon Roses

Neon Roses
Genre : Fiction
Published : 25 May 2023 - John Murray
A coming-of-age novel about two women falling in love during the culturally and politically turbulent 1980s. It's 1984 in The Valleys, South Wales, and Eluned Hughes is stuck. The miners' strikes are ravaging her family and community, and her boyfriend of six years, Lloyd, is starting to bring up marriage more than she would like. She spends her days selling shoes, listening to Madonna, and trying to hold it all together. Meanwhile, Eluned's clever and precocious little sister, Mabli, thinks she knows it all. Mabli takes her older, moneyed, Thatcherite, policeman boyfriend, Graham, as the ticket out of her working class reality. So, Eluned is left contemplating her own destiny—staying at home with a husband and a couple of kids—until one day she hears about a fundraising group called Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. Apparently they're from London, they've been raising money for the miners in her town, and they're coming to visit. She's curious, for sure. And even more so when she lays eyes on June for the first time. She has short hair, she wears leather jackets, she's moody—and Eluned's life is turned upside down.

NEON ROSES takes us on a ride of all the glorious sights and sounds of the 1980s, as Eluned attempts to carve her identity out of the protests, Pride parades, nightclubs and parties of Cardiff, London and Manchester. But this is also a story about two sisters, and the different paths they take outside of where they come from. What is the reality of reconciling family with queerness? What does a family even look like? What choice should Eluned make when her little sister rings her up out of the blue one night, confessing the truth about her relationship with Graham?


…a heart-warming, funny, a little bit filthy, queer, coming-of-age story with a cracking 1980s soundtrack.

The Bookseller

Tender, sexy, uplifting and fun… A big-hearted story about finding your feet and following your heart

Sarah Waters

Joyfully queer, filthy and fun <br />

Chloe Timms

A love letter to lesbian culture

Rose Wilding

A hug and a snog of a book

So Mayer

Dawson’s talent for producing complex characters like Lola—at once beguiling and frustrating, and a flair for sex scenes that are indeed a little bit filthy but mostly loving and always affectionate, and the end result is a sexy, earthy and unashamedly bubbly debut that celebrates its sexuality and refuses to dull its Welshness or deny its social class. It’s impossible not to feel uplifted by the confidence of Dawson’s writing and the intimate way in which the story knows and values itself. – Nation Cymru

Nation Cymru

Rachel Dawson's debut novel fizzes with delightfully queer potential.

Lauren Hurrell, Nonchalant Magazine

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