The Bells of Times Square by Amy Lane ~ Book Review by Beverley

An Amy Lane book of the highest quality…A sweet, poignant story that will leave you wanting to hold your loved ones very close.

The Bells of Times Square Title: The Bells of Times Square

Author: Amy Lane

Publisher: Riptide

Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars

Blurb:

Every New Year’s Eve since 1946, Nate Meyer has ventured alone to Times Square to listen for the ghostly church bells he and his long-lost wartime lover vowed to hear together. This year, however, his grandson Blaine is pushing Nate through the Manhattan streets, revealing his secrets to his silent, stroke-stricken grandfather.

When Blaine introduces his boyfriend to his beloved grandfather, he has no idea that Nate holds a similar secret. As they endure the chilly death of the old year, Nate is drawn back in memory to a much earlier time . . . and to Walter.

Long before, in a peace carefully crafted in the heart of wartime tumult, Nate and Walter forged a loving home in the midst of violence and chaos. But nothing in war is permanent, and now all Nate has is memories of a man his family never knew existed. And a hope that he’ll finally hear the church bells that will unite everybody—including the lovers who hid the best and most sacred parts of their hearts.

Beverley’s View:

Amy Lane has written a story that will stay with me for a long time. In the modern world Blaine is trying to tell his wheelchair bound, stroke stricken, silent, grandfather, Nate, about his love for Tony, who accompanies them. They are wheeling Nate to his New Year’s appointment near Times Square. Every year since the war Nate goes to listen to hear if the church bells will ring at New Year, as they did supposedly throughout world war 2. It is thought strange by his family that a Jewish man should go to hear church bells especially in all the years he has gone they have never rung.

Blaine takes his grandfather because he knows it means so much to him. Whilst waiting for new year Blaine has in effect come out to his Grandfather. His loving Grandfather cannot respond due to the stroke, but he wants to tell him that he supports the boy in his happiness, as the love of his life was in fact a young man called Walter…

As the boys, Blaine and Tony talk over him, Nate drifts back in time to the war and his love story.

This books really resonated with me as I grew up with a Jewish Mother who would often slip Yiddish words into the conversation, and to see them written in this book was wonderful. The struggle of Nate in his young years with Jewish traditions and the isolation that being Jewish, in certain locations, can bring, is even more poignant as his tale leads to the outbreak of war and the burgeoning rumours of nazi death and concentration camps in Europe. His faith has strong views on homosexuality, which is deemed acceptable as long as it is never acted upon. So Nate is not an experienced man when he joins the airforce. However, for the first time he makes really good friends even if their group is slightly outcast from the main they are at least, a group, rather than an isolated individual.

Tragic circumstances lead Nate to meet Walter, and it is as if his real life begins, which is ironic as it is in the midst of death all around them. Amy Lane has written a novel, which marries the intensity of war, the unfairness of prejudice and the wonder of first, forever love into a story, which sweeps the years and ends with a happy, tearful sigh.

It is an intensely emotional read with chapters of tension and danger juxtaposed with beautiful descriptions of bravery, kindness and love. I will finish my review with one of the loveliest passages describing love I have read in a long time…

I had never dreamed of being in love. I did not know the mechanics, the nuts and bolts, the quirk of lips, the texture of skin, the dimension of another’s hands upon my body. Forgive me , Father. I did not know you made this thing as vast as the sky, so that we may see the sky and not tremble.

 

Buy Links

Riptide
Amazon UK

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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