Author: EE Montgomery
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 5.00 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 08/23/2013
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Historical, M/M Romance
In 1915, after his beloved Carl died from a vicious beating, David Harrison enlisted in the Army and went to war. He returns home to find a world seemingly unchanged, while he will never be the same. At Mrs. Gill’s boarding house, he meets Bernard Donnelly, a young man suffering the aftereffects of his own war experiences. David finds himself increasingly attracted to Bernard, but that terrifies him. He blames himself for Carl’s horrific death and fears he isn’t strong enough to lose another love to violence.
Bernard needs David to help him face each day and find a way they can be together without stigma—and without putting them in legal and physical danger—but David clings to his idea that the only way to keep a lover safe is not to have one. His fears threaten to destroy everything, unless he learns that sometimes the risk is worth it and finds the courage to love.
The Courage to Love is a hauntingly beautiful love story of two men trying to build a future together in a time when it was dangerous for two men to be seen to more than friends. A testimony to the enduring human spirit.
David Harrison’s first love Carl was beaten to death in 1915 because he did not follow the call to arms at the beginning of World War One. After Carl’s death, David, filled with grief, enlists and leaves to fight on the Western Front. The Courage to Love is set in 1919 when David returns home after the war. Nothing has changed, his town is still the same, his old job at the Post Office is waiting for him, and his heart is still broken.
Not wanting to be back under his mother’s roof David moves into the same boarding house he shared with Carl. David is still mourning Carl, his four years in the trenches have done nothing to assuage his grief, and now he’s now back almost exactly where he was before the war, except he’s without Carl.
At the boarding house David meets Bernard Donnelly, a shell shocked former soldier. Bernard is almost invalided by his condition and only David and Mrs. Gill, the landlady, seem to be able to get through to him. As David and Bernard’s friendship grows Bernard begins a slow recovery and David’s feelings grow into more than just friendship. Can David control his fear of the past repeating itself and can he allow himself the courage to love again?
David is haunted by his failure to save Carl, he thinks he drew attention to Carl, which singled him out to his attackers, that and his fear of doing it again is what affects his friendship with Bernard. I found Bernard was the stronger of the two men, at first he seems quite weak, barely able to separate reality from his memories, he’s the one who needs David, but as the story develops its Bernard that becomes the strength David needs. It’s Bernard who works out a way to try and build a future together by applying for the land grants that the government is passing out to returned soldiers, but it’s only when illness strikes that David starts to put Carl behind him and look to the future, their future.
Mrs. Gill, their landlady, deserves a special mention; she’s kind and sweet, considerate and not at all blind to the love developing between the two men. She understood, didn’t judge, just allowed them to be who they were. She was a steading rock in a stream of tumbling currents, a safe haven. In fact she’s probably one of my favorite secondary characters of all time.
The writing is beautiful, it’s descriptive and eloquent, the flashbacks are sensitively written, designed to show the reader what both men went through during the war, but not to take over the story in any way. The story is told mainly through David’s POV, but that doesn’t make the story one sided as we learn equally as much about Bernard through his interactions with David and Mrs. Gill. I adore historical stories and have a weakness for this part of history, for stories that show the unbreakable human spirit and that’s what this story does, it shows how two men, back from the war to end all wars, can build a future in a world not yet ready for them. I adored it.
David and Carl’s story is told in the short story Between Love and Honor. I did read this story before reading The Courage to Love and I felt it helped me understand David more but you really don’t need to as the beginning of this book covers all you need to know.
This review was originally posted on Mrsconditreadsbooks.com which is no longer online.
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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