I love books from all genres, but right now I'm on a mystery, contemporary, and YA kick. I have two cats, Monkey and Peepers.
I loved this book. No, I adored this book. I don’t think of myself as a lover of historicals, at least not in the m/m genre. I love them elsewhere, but it’s been extremely rare for me to fall for one with two male romantic leads. But this smashed every idea I might have had about my previous tries and made me cry and laugh and swoon like a ridiculous person.
Michael McCready returned from the war and is working in bath houses in New York. With a year of medical school under his belt, he has given up the dream after seeing all of the terror and death from his fellow soldiers. The one relationship Michael will do anything to protect is the one he has with his beloved sister. So when his uncle makes him a deal to save that relationship as long as he takes a position as a gardener on a country estate, Michael takes off for a completely different kind of life.
There are the husband and wife striving to save the house they love and have worked in for decades and hopeful to save the man of the house’s life before he hides and drinks himself away. There is the little girl who has lost so much and clings desperately the people she loves. And there is John (cue huge big, fat SWOON). John the man of privilege who gave it all away to join the front lines of the war, who can’t forgive himself for what he saw and felt he could have done, for the family he has lost, and the life he lost and felt he should have and could have had.
These people live and inhabit the mansion with Michael, but they don’t come alive until the combination of Michael and John’s growing friendship changes the mood and outlook of all five of them. This is a time when to love a man held far more risks than it does today. But their story wasn’t all about that and I’m so thankful. It wasn’t just a book about being a gay man in 1919. It’s a story about two men who had given up on many aspects in their lives, settled and then found another person who made them feel alive again. Found another person they would protect and who they wanted to be a better man for in the present and future. It was a slow journey of distrust, apathy, anger, fear, friendship, hope and love.
It’s a story of how to let someone close when it’s the one thing that scares you the most. It’s a wonderful novel with a believable and slowly-unfolding plot, fully realized characters both main and secondary, and a simple but so very special love between them all.