Author: K.E. Belledonne
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Design by Buckeyegrrl Designs, Cover and Interior Art by Colleen M. Good
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 02/10/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, Historical, Romance
In 1942, Ben Williams had it all – a fulfilling job, adoring friends and the love of his life, Pete Montgomery.
But World War II looms over them. When Pete follows his conscience and joins the Army Air Force as a bomber pilot, Ben must find the strength to stay behind without the love of his life, the dedication to stay true and the courage he never knew he’d need to discover his own place in the war effort.
Good friends help keep him afloat, until a chance meeting on the home front brings him an unexpected ally—one who will accompany him from the stages of New York City to the hell of the European warfront in search of his love.
Written in the style of a 1940s film, Right Here Waiting is an homage to classic wartime romances from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
It’s interesting… early on, I was unsure how this story would work: we have two rather modern sounding and behaving characters in Ben and Pete, with the writing style very much suited to WWII-era ways, all blending towards a sweet, romantic, even innocent story, set against one of the ugliest periods in human history. I admit, I did a head tilt at first, truly wondering.
I’m glad I kept at it.
Pete is direct, effusive, strong, and uses all of these qualities and more to demonstrate his unwavering love for Ben.
Ben is sweet, intelligent, and loving, and he feels deeply for and about others, if a little more reserved than Pete.
They’re a good match and this story confidently works to show that fact throughout.
I’m getting ahead of myself here, already talking about this love of Ben and Pete’s. I guess I shouldn’t be, though, as the structure of this book resulted in one of my smoothest reading experiences when flashbacks are involved. I can’t really simply say “flashbacks”, they’re more like dreams and important memories, turning points or emotional breakthroughs, dancing around the single string of current day. This approach also aids in suspension of disbelief, as some aspects of this story feel too good to be true. It felt like the author was rewriting history at a personal level to reflect how they wish, and hope, things could have been back then. Course, this isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world to want, either.
This is also why we know from the beginning the intensity of the connection between Ben and Pete, lending emotional weight to much of what they experience in this story. I felt it, and it was honest, and real.
The writing has its ups and downs, awkward phrasing and sometimes unclear transitions causing bumps in the road. Even so, here’s an early passage I loved, with Pete talking, and it tells us a lot about his character:
”I’m not scared of pain. I’m not scared of death, really even. I’m just scared that I will never be here again, never just sit on this stupid rug with you, never bang my knee on that stupid cabinet door in the kitchen. I’m scared I’m going to miss all the little things that make up our lives.”
This was the moment I started investing in these characters and this story. This was the moment that gave me the ‘I want to keep reading’ feeling.
Getting back to the structure I described, an added benefit of it is that it allowed me to get to know Ben and Pete better and better as the story went on. They don’t completely live in a bubble. They’re forced to hide their relationship from the outside world, save a few close friends, especially Bets and Ginger. Ben and Pete do everything they can to live a life as the committed couple they are, despite most of the rest of the world unaware and uncaring. The supporting characters, some I won’t mention in order to avoid spoilers, are wonderfully drawn and all play important roles. They add a level of emotion, which sometimes managed to sneak up on me. Combined with this, friendship plays a large role and I very much like how it’s portrayed here. Loyalty, being discreet, celebratory, mischievous, supportive, understanding, with humor and love, the bonds between friends can mean everything. They can mean life, and death.
This isn’t a particularly unique story in terms of the experiences of most of the characters. It’s also less intense than what I’ve experienced in reading other historicals, and expected in this one, in terms of detail. The world is at war and yet the author maintains a focus on the characters, describing only a few times the down and dirtiness of battle and suffering and everything else. Don’t let that lull you into a false relaxed state, however. This is war and things always happen in war. Unexpected and unintended.
Despite some issues, I recommend this book. It tangled with and pulled on my emotions, and I loved spending time with these characters, especially Ben and Pete.
PS: I just have to say something about the cover, besides the fact that I love the image. While at last year’s GRL, I had the opportunity to speak with a woman from Interlude, who explained that Colleen Good draws these images in pencil. Yes! I know!! Amazing. It’s gorgeous, important, and precious. I love it I love my paperback copy I bought that day.
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
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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