Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 09/15/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Drama, Historical, M/M Romance
Wounds of the heart take the longest to heal.
When solicitor’s clerk George Johnson moves into a rented London room in the winter of 1920, it’s with a secret goal: to find out if his fellow lodger, Matthew Connaught, is the wartime traitor who cost George’s adored older brother his life.
Yet as he gets to know Matthew—an irrepressibly cheerful ad man whose missing arm hasn’t dimmed his smile—George begins to lose sight of his mission.
As Matthew’s advances become ever harder to resist, George tries to convince himself his brother’s death was just the luck of the draw, and to forget he’s hiding a secret of his own. His true identity—and an act of conscience that shamed his family.
But as their mutual attraction grows, so does George’s desperation to know the truth about what happened that day in Ypres. If only to prove Matthew innocent—even if it means losing the man he’s come to love.
*This is a novel-length expansion of previously published novella.*
The setting for this post WWI story set in 1920, confused me a little at the beginning, as they seemed to be able to use public transport buses very easily, and the atmosphere JL Merrow created felt far more post WWII ‘1950s’ than WWI. In fact in my minds eye it really stayed 1950’s Britain.
Having said that – this author’s skill with characters shines through as ever. George Johnson is an unlikely hero especially as we are introduced to him, as a ‘conscientious objector’. He has started working as a legal clerk whilst studying to be a solicitor. Requiring new ‘digs’ as he is staying in a hotel, which is far too expensive for him, he joins the ranks at the No. 21. Here he meets Matthew Connaught a fellow lodger, Mrs MacPherson the landlady and her daughter Glenda – oh and of course a very superior cat called Marmaduke.
George is looking for answers concerning his older brother Hugh’s death in Ypres, 1917. He is looking for himself, but also on behalf of his brother’s fiancée, Mabel. His only suspect is Matthew whose behaviour, demeanour, personality and looks make keeping things between them at arms length, very difficult. I don’t want to reveal too much as this is in part a mystery – what really happened to ‘George’s’ brother and what role Matthew played, if any. It is also a story about the treatment of men who didn’t want to kill in the war for whatever reasons, and how their contributions were not recognised. George’s family reject him when he becomes a ‘conscientious objector’ to the war and then they lose his brother to it. They see him as a coward and George is not welcome in his own home.
The characters are wonderful, this is a slightly slower pace than usually found in JL Merrow’s stories, but the atmosphere is all enveloping. The plot slowly reveals its secrets, but it is the romance between Matthew and George which is firmly centre stage. A highly recommended read.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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,
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