Right Here Waiting by K.E. Belledonne ~ Book Review by Lirtle

right-here-waiting-cover-1Title: Right Here Waiting

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

Blurb:

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.

My View:

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.

Links

Right Here Waiting on Goodreads
Interlude Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.

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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Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews.  The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.

3 thoughts on “Right Here Waiting by K.E. Belledonne ~ Book Review by Lirtle

  1. I’m glad you kept up with this one, too, Lirtle! It’s one I’d meant to read for awhile and finally got to it a bit ago. (Meaning: I bought it and wanted to read it immediately and then it took months!) I totally get what you mean about the innocence and less intense. I think because I read the dedication on this one (about the conversation she’d had with a friend about how he’d grown up as a gay man but didn’t see that in the Golden Age of Hollywood movies and worried he’d never have that kind of happy ending) that I definitely went into it with the mindset of watching one of those types of films. In fact, some of the parts (that we won’t get into, spoilers!) actually felt more intense because I was expecting emotional drama and maybe even more lighthearted, like a musical. (I just realized the blurb sort of sets that up, too, but I don’t read blurbs before I start reading because I just like to be surprised.) I really liked your take on the structure. I’m not someone who cares about flashbacks (it really bothers some, I hear), but I’d agree it was done really well here, and yes, that cover! Really cool to know that little tidbit about the drawing.

    By the way, I don’t know if you’ve read Osiris Brackhaus’ Lovers in Arms, but it’s another one set in that time, where I was shocked at how much of a tenderness and sweetness there was to the story during that time. That one definitely took me by surprise, but pleasantly so.

    • Hey Carolyn, first, thank you for the rec! One more to add to the tbr LOL

      Yes, I’m not bothered by flashbacks or jumping around the timeline, either, especially if it’s well utilized like it is here. I don’t think the story could have been told as well without that tool.

      One of my favorite things, still, as I think back on this one, is the portrayal of the friendships. They allow for everything else to feel even more real.

  2. Absolutely agree on that. Especially when they were spending so much time away from each other, those secondary relationships were important and made sense. I love the romance part of romances, obviously, but the platonic and familial interactions are a different kind of love that’s great to read and when done well, enhance the main romance like they did in this one. Again, I’ve seen complaints about too much of the side relationships, but it’s catnip to me!

    You’re welcome! I hope whenever you get to it that it’s a good one for you. I’m always happy to get historical recs, so feel free to lob one back at me. You shouldn’t be the only one whose tbr gets higher. 😉

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