Sarah Black knows how to deliver some great, nuanced writing and storytelling. Add to that wonderful characters, and you arrive at this heart-felt and entertaining story.
We have two ex-military guys who met in the 1970’s and worked together on the battlefield, well into the days of DADT. During his service, John, an army general, was known for his diplomatic and engineering skills working towards rebuilding war-torn communities. And Gabriel, a hot-shot helicopter fighter pilot, head of the ‘Horse Lord’ squadron, always had John’s back. Two upstanding, committed, highly respected guys.
For more than twenty-five years Gabriel and John kept their love affair secret to protect their careers, and now, newly retired from the military, they’ve reached a crossroads in their relationship. Only those who lived it would know and understand how deeply the DADT policy affected LGBTQ military men and women in service to their country.
Still, I did have an issue with Gabriel’s decision to get married knowing that he would continue his relationship with John. He might have thought in the very beginning that he could break it off with John, but their connection is so strong, it proved to be impossible. This deception colored my feelings for Gabriel in the beginning of the story. It’s only the author’s gift for weaving these characters, their families, and lives into my heart that allows me to give in… we all make mistakes, we’re all sometimes pushed to do things that we’d rather not, given the circumstances at hand. We’re only human. In a way John and Gabriel failed each other for all those years, and it’s remarkable that they are able to keep their love alive after so much hiding.
So I came to love Gabriel and John together. But it’s not just because of them and the love they give each other, it’s what they give to their children and John’s adopted nephew, Kim. And here are some additional sweet characters. I absolutely fell in love with Kim, so vulnerable and yet comfortable in his skin, vibrant and full of life and love. “He’d come whirling across the green grass, his arms outstretched like wings, and he’d announce his soul looked like a butterfly and was full of beautiful colors."
— John recalls Kim as a child
Kim is so giving— the care he shows Juan, Gabriel’s son who is having a tough time with his folks’ split, and Billy, a young friend battered by a malicious pedophile, shows a maturity beyond his age. He is an old soul.
Much of the story revolves around John and Gabriel’s fight to bring to justice this predator who targets teenagers and very young adults. It’s fun to watch them strategize how to fight this evil in their community.
Loved this, it is such a satisfying read. And fortunately, there is a sequel to look forward to.
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