Author: G.S. Wiley
Genre: Historical (1916 &1924), European
Length: Short (55pgs)
Publisher: Silver Publishing (15th June 2013)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3 Hearts
Blurb: Henry and Jack helped each other through hell in the trenches of World War One. Years later, they meet again. Can they help each other put the war behind them and move on with their lives?
London solicitor, Henry Naismith, went through hell in the trenches of World War 1 with his friend, Jack Harrison, as his only solace. Years later, Henry is back home, the widowed father of a young daughter. Safe in England for the last eight years, he’s never truly left the war behind, and it haunts him day and night.
When Henry meets Jack again by chance, he hopes to rekindle their friendship, and perhaps develop something more. But Jack has wartime nightmares of his own, and they both have a long road to travel before they can begin to recover and get on with their lives–together.
Part of the Silver Publishing Father’s Day 2013 collection.
Review: Henry and Jack shared a brief kiss in the trenches the night before Jack was to go ‘over the top’; it was the last time Henry saw Jack during the war. Eight years later Henry is a solicitor again, he is a widow and he has an adorable daughter but his years at war still haunt him. Henry meets Jack again by chance, Jack is now a balloon seller with an injury of his own and with his own nightmares that still linger, rekindling their friendship is hopeful but they both have a long way to go to recover from the war.
This is an interesting story of two men meeting in the trenches finding fleeting comfort during horrific times and then reconnecting years later. Henry is a solicitor who nearly lost his foot to trench rot during the war, even now, he suffers from flashbacks and nightmares. For one of Henry’s cases he has to speak with an expert on shell shock and it just might help him to understand his friend Jack’s actions and his own difficulties. Jack made a choice he has to live with, but when he meets up with Henry again he has to confess and can only hope that Henry will forgive him.
Although I liked this story I thought that it was in the wrong collection, we do see some of Henry’s daughter and there is some interaction between father and daughter but there isn’t enough story surrounding them for it to really be a ‘family’ story. This is much more suited to an ex-military – suffering the after effects of war collection. I liked the trenches setting and the descriptions of what they were facing, I really liked the flash backs and how it affected Henry’s everyday life. G.S. Wiley certainly captured the truth of 1918 France and 1924 England with its harsh truths of how the troops and returning heroes were treated. The difficulties that Henry and Jack faced are stark and so is their hope of any semblance of a relationship, no matter how they might hope otherwise, but it is still something they will hope for.
I will recommend this if you love World War I, friendship, love, hope, and a happy for now ending.