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Imaginist and purveyor of tall tales Adam Fitzroy is a UK resident who has been successfully spinning male-male romances either part-time or full-time since the 1980s, and has a particular interest in examining the conflicting demands of love and duty.
on Sep. 19, 2013 :
Harry is a former submarine commander, seriously wounded in an accident and sent home on convalescent leave. Jim has a "gentle heart" and couldn't bear the thought of killing a lamb for food, let alone to kill a man in war. I loved this story, from the fragile beginnings of friendship between the two through to the satisfying end.
It takes Harry a while to break through Jim's reserve, as he initially hopes for Jim's friendship. I enjoyed the conversations between them, as they formed a closer relationship. The later love scenes are understated and circumspect, befitting the atmostphere of the book, but this IS a romance so there are several lovely scenes. And even though the men demonstrate their British stiff upper lips throughout, it didn't keep them from talking about their feelings for each other.
The secondary characters were wonderful, too. Harry's brother Jack is a sweetheart, so hard-working and accepting that this must be his lot in life because it is his duty. Kitty, who ran the household, epitomizes the practical working woman, but also has a romantic side that peeks through. The various villagers, like the Welsh landscape, provide a backdrop for the developing relationship between the two men.
The book is also about a people living at war, stolidly going on day by day, dealing with what they must and getting on with life. I really got a feel for the wartime rationing and privations, with hardworking citizens who would "make do and mend" whatever they had to keep going in hard times.
In several of the novels I've read lately, I've found myself skimming and waiting for the author to "get to the good stuff." In my case, the good stuff is not the sex scenes but mostly the thoughts and feelings of the characters. Even though this novel seems to move slowly on the surface, I don't believe I skimmed a single word of it, because I felt it was all so real, so moving, and so well-written that I didn't want to miss a word.
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)