In Balance With This Life by Louise Blaydon ~ Book Review by Feliz

InBalanceWithThisLifeTitle: In Balance With This Life

Author: Louise Blaydon

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Rating: 4.00 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 02/17/2016

Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)

Genre: Action/Adventure, Gay, Historical, Menage/Poly

Blurb:

Irishman Jeff Riley left the Royal Flying Corps in 1918, hardened by war. He survived those harsh years with the help of his quick-witted English friend, Sean McClean, although Jeff would never want to admit it. When the Battle of Britain erupts in 1939, he’s once again drafted and forced to leave his flourishing commercial pilot career and join a new squadron. Although another war disrupts his life, he’s not disappointed to find himself reunited with Sean.

Jeff is attracted to many of the men in his new squadron of misfits. Never before has he seen such a diverse group assembled for a single cause, including Jimmy Dupont, a handsome, strong Texan who joined the Royal Air Force to help the war effort, and his constant companion Filip, a young and talented Polish airman. It’s evident from the beginning that there’s something special about the connection between Filip and Jimmy, but as time goes on, Jeff feels himself not alienated by it but drawn into it.

Jeff tries to focus on staying alive, but he’s only human, and there’s more to life than survival. There’s also loving, and Jeff can’t get by without it, especially when any day could be his last.

My View:

This slice-of-life type novella follows three men–Jeff, Jimmy and Filip–through a few months of their lives as wartime Spitfire pilots in 1940. I wouldn’t call it a romance, exactly, more a war story with a strong erotic-romantic subplot. Jeff and Jimmy alternate as 3rd person POV narrators, but Filip had just as much presence as they had. All three men come with just enough of a backstory to make them interesting personalities; they really grew on me over the short course of the story, and I’d love to read more about each of them individually as well as the three of them together.

The amount of research that must’ve gone into this short piece amazes me. The setting was incredibly vivid, the aerial combat scene detailed and action-filled, all this accomplished without any info-dump and in a straightforward narrative that perfectly matched time and place of the story.

Speaking of which, I found the story in its entirety somehow a parable of the time and place it is set in. The beginning is abrupt, the end even more so, too open to be even called a tentative HFN. Everything that happens in this story happens right now, in the present, and that’s the way these men live: as if any given day could be their last on earth, because it could very well be. But there are even more thoughtful little details that lend this story depth and meaning far beyond the obvious. The layers and hints tickled my nerdy mind and made this story a joy to read.

 

Links

In Balance With This Life on Goodreads
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

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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