The Courage to Love by E.E. Montgomery

CourageToLoveLGTitle: The Courage to Love

Series: Sequel Between Love and Honor

Author: E.E. Montgomery

Genre: Historical Romance (1920)

Length: Novel (200 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 23rd, 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb: 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.

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Review: Oh my God!

Ok, I’ll admit it. At first, I didn’t realize what this book was (a sequel to one of my favorite shorts) so I went and read two or three pages and the names David and Carl kept haunting me. The pain and mourning, the intense emotional shower you get the moment you start reading all were so familiar, but then it hit me and good God, it really hit me. I had to go and restart it from first line, I just had to.

You see there was a short story I read back in March that amazed me with the depth of it. It left me feeling so sad about its characters and I wished it was longer so I could keep on reading. Well David and Carl’s story was just that, short, and the loss and pain David suffered were heart wrenching, but life continues and this sequel shows you just that.

After his beloved Carl died, David went to war. The irony, a war that shattered his dreams long before he went. But the return is worse than he could imagine. Forced to go live in with his Mother until he gets a job and sorts his life again into a semblance of normalcy, forced to mourn in private when no one can witness his pain, forced to a life full of nightmares that blend the war atrocities and the loss of his reason to live, forced to the emptiness his nature has cursed him.

At least his dear Mrs. Gill was still there and while his old room had been given already, she still had one left, Carl’s room.

What a book, I tell you. I loved seeing Mrs. Gill again; I loved meeting her and her incredible personality that bled in the text whenever she was in a scene. Her subtle acceptance and love were truly great, which made what happened later in the story even more tear evoking. And we got to meet the new man who would capture and haunt David’s mind and heart.

Bernard. I loved him. This is one character that makes other’s pale. A man both strong and determined, and weak and in need of care. What a wonderful mix. What a great work describing warriors and their PTSD. Both David and Bernard suffered from it, both differently and with different levels of effect. It was incredible seeing their differences, and it was brilliant seeing the parts where their strength was great. I loved seeing them work together and stand by each other when the nightmares hit them, how terribly dangerous they were in those small moments when they were the most vulnerable at the same time.

What also captivated me was the picture of 1920 Australia. We are so used to see the historical romances deal with aristocracy or with middle class people, that when you read this book and see that time the way this author means you to, you can’t fail feeling the great job she has done with describing the area. The daily life the people led, the difficulties they faces, the reality of that time when you had to work, and work hard in order to have the simple things. Great, great work indeed.

What I disliked though was how much David’s fear dominated the story. He wouldn’t let go of his fears and while this story was about him and Bernard, Carl was very much there the entire read. I’m not exactly sure, if that gave it a stronger air of credibility or if it was a bit overwhelming. At times even, I felt like hitting David and wake him up from his stupidity.

In the end, though all I have to say about this book is that if you like intense emotional rides this is definitely the book for you. Don’t miss it.