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Bonds of Earth

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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  518 ratings  ·  116 reviews
In 1918, Michael McCready returned from the war with one goal: to lose himself in the pursuit of pleasure. Once a promising young medical student, Michael buried his dreams alongside the broken bodies of the men he could not save. After fleeing New York to preserve the one relationship he still values, he takes a position as a gardener on a country estate, but he soon disc ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published January 9th 2012 by Dreamspinner Press
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Best M/M Romance Published in 2012
31st out of 606 books — 1,406 voters
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Best Gay Historical Romance
30th out of 476 books — 746 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,534)
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Simsala
4,5 stars

Stunning debut novel from a new author.In an accurate historical setting this was a tale of two physically and emotionally damaged men finding love and comfort in a less than welcoming environment.It was an outstanding and stunningly well written story that felt more like gay fiction with romantic elements than a "simple" romance.Sad to say the epilogue put this novel down a notch.The sex scene at the end didn`t fit this saga-like story - as if the author was out of ideas at that point
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Jenre
If this book hadn't been sent to me for review, I may well have never read it. The cover, whilst actually quite apt for the story, is not particularly eye-catching and also it's labelled incorrectly at DSP. This is not a 'civil war' story, nor is it a 'wild west' story so why DSP have put it under those categories is anyone's guess. What it is a beautifully written story set just after the First World War in New York State and tells of Michael who is of Irish immigrant stock. Before the war he w ...more
Lilia Ford
This is excellent, the strongest M/M historical I've read. The book is full of details that just feel authentic, all incorporated naturally without that aroma of the research note that too often distracts me in historical novels. I truly believed the book's portrait of what it would be like to be gay in this period, and also, even more miraculously, what it would be like to be a post-WWI vet. So many books these days play the PTSD card it has become a genre cliché, but I felt Chevalier knew what ...more
EXHIBIT A
Lovely; also uneven.

First third or so was engaging, if a little purple, with many beautiful touches.

But in the remainder, minor annoyances became even more irritating with repetition.

On the whole, a fairly decent period romance that never quite overcame its shortcomings.
Ami
I have never been into historical/period piece much -- give me stories with computer and cellular phone anytime :). Plus this is by a new author; I'm a bit weary of trying a new one since few of them don't have a nice record in my book. However, a couple of positive reviews make me curious, especially from one who also has hesitation to read period piece. Turns out ... I'm GLAD that I give it a try.

First thing first ... the cover by Justin James, is simply stunning. I LOVE the elegance of black
...more
Kaje Harper
Michael grew up poor in the Bowery, escaping from the heavy hand of his uncle by finding a life on the streets; John was the son of a well-to-do physician. When they meet, Michael is employed as a gardener while John is the man of the house. But they turn out to have a lot in common.

Both men have been damaged by the horrors of the front lines in WWI, although John's scars are far more physical and visible. Both lost their mothers young and were effectively abandoned by their fathers, Michael in
...more
Feliz
This book took my breath away with its feeling of time and place. The glimpses I was granted into the half-world which gay culture was at that time were particularly fascinating to me, although the other settings, from the Bowery to the veteran clinic, were equally well worked out.
From the tone of the narrative, to the characters' mindsets, their way of talking, the very real threat of imprisonment or institutionalization that hung above homosexual relationships back then, every little detail ad
...more
MandyM
4.5 stars. What a lovely novel! It already has many good reviews but I just want to add my impressions. The authenticity of the setting and language, plus the attitudes and beliefs of the characters is a credit to the author's research. Her story is full of vivid imagery. I could almost feel the chill in the ground as Michael tends the garden, and see the lost look on the faces of the young soldiers in their hospital wards. I was also fascinated by the period (post WWI) and the sense that the ol ...more
Jenn
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
...more
ttg
A very good historical romance set right after WWI about a former ambulance driver who, because his homosexuality if revealed, is forced by his family to leave New York City and take a gardening job upstate. There he struggles to remain disconnected, but finds himself drawn to the estate’s denizens, including a surly, arrogant young man who is also battle-scarred from the war.

What I liked: It was a nice change of pace to read an m/m romance set after WWI, and the author did a nice job with the s
...more
T.A. Webb
The Great War was not kind to any of the men who were involved, but those who survived came back with horrible scars, both mental and physical. And Michael McReady is no different. He was an ambulance driver, and worked with veterans of the war in a hospital as a rubber, a masseur, helping with physical therapy.

But the past couple of years he's been working in a bathhouse, doing massages and having an outlet for the desires that could get him arrested. Because sodomy is illegal in 1919 New York.
...more
Edina Rose
This story takes place between WW1 and WW2. It's about two men who came from the war broken: disability, PTSD, survivor's guilt... They live but they are not happy about it.

John hides from society in his aunt's country house. His body, broken by the war, is deteriorating more and more, but he won't do anything about it. He tries to find oblivion by painting the darkness inside him... and getting drunk on bourbon.

Uber-gorgeous Michael is a former (brilliant) medical student; now he works as a se
...more
Sammy Goode
Michael McCready lives in two worlds. In one he is an ambulance driver and later a physical therapist or “rubber” as they were called in the war hospitals of World War 1. In the other, he is a man desperate to connect, longing for love, haunted by his unsavory sexual past and terrified by war-torn memories and nightmares. Overarching both these worlds is the very real guilt of having survived…of having managed to live one more day when so many others did not.

Bonds of Earth by G. N. Chevalier ex
...more
M
I'm going through this phase where I choose MM books based on the cover, that is to say that I've been avoiding those awful, trite covers with stock photo-ed hunks leering at me from atop some incomprehensible background. Not that I mind leering hunks, mind you, it's just that I'm awfully tired of them. So I've been snapping up anything with an even remotely interesting cover. That is how I actually ended up reading this book, that and the fact that I am simultaneously going through a WWI/WWII p ...more
Christy B
Argh, this was good. It was filled with lots of angst, which I love.

The story takes place in New York the year after WWI ends, but the affects of war are still haunting those who fought in it. Michael was once a flourishing medical student, but the war did a number on him, and when he came back home, he didn't care what happened to him.

He finds himself working as a gardener on an estate, and discovers the reclusive young man who inhabits it was also put through the ringer, both physically and me
...more
Snowtulip
4.5

One of my favorite things about reading a romance novel is when I get to see well thought out characters move through the trials and tribulations in life and still have an enormous capacity to love...and allow themselves to be loved even when life has battered their spirit.

This historical novel kept me captivated and emotionally connected throughout the whole story. The pace was at a slow simmer, not full paced, but allowed the story to unfold naturally. So much life, and healing touched each
...more
Lady*M
Beautifully written, deeply rooted in time and place, with two wonderfully crafted damaged protagonists, Bonds of Earth is a book about surviving and healing, acceptance and abandonment, family you are born into and family you choose, love for others and for yourself. It's heartbreaking and heartwarming and I just can't find words good enough to describe this book. Rarely can we find a book in this little niche of ours that can easily compete with any mainstream book out there. Bonds of Earth is ...more
Barb ~rede-2-read~
Aug 17, 2013 Barb ~rede-2-read~ rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Barb ~rede-2-read~ by: Geri
Amazing! Really, I'm quite speechless and don't even know what to say. I usually don't care for historicals so I really wasn't sure how I'd like this but it was just fantastic. This story is so much more than a m/m romance -- it's a meaty, gritty look at two men who survive WWI physically but are both damaged psychologically, one more evident than the other.

It's a story of hope and change and family and true love. Yet it's a story of a harsh time for all Americans with particular attention paid
...more
Tora
Really great debut novel. I particularly loved the 1919 parts and the flashbacks. The way that the author deals with both Michael and Jon's PTSD was subtle and excellent; the way that they came to love each other was slow and never felt forced.

Personally, I would have preferred that the final part of the book, after the time jump, be left for a sequel - the characters had become different people (understandably) by the time five years had passed and by the time I felt used to them again, the boo
...more
Fehu
I'm not a fan of this timeperiod so I didn't expect to like the book as much as I did and I was having bad luck picking Dreamspinner books so it's mostly due to snowtulip I've read this one.
AND I'm glad that I did read it! It's has a slowly proceding romance and really amazing characters. Mostly the five stars are because I fell for the guys. In some way they are both broken and I don't only mean physically but it's beautifull to read how they learn together how to live again and not only to exi
...more
Ulysses Dietz
Bonds of Earth by G.N. Chevalier


I am a great fan of historical fiction, but only if it’s well done; only if I can get lost in the created past without constantly being reminded that what I’m reading is by a contemporary hand. G.N. Chevalier’s Bonds of Earth is a beautifully crafted historical romance that achieves its goal. It transports you to the years right after World War I in New York City, and it keeps you there effortlessly, without overelaborate description or anachronism.

Michael McCread
...more
MLE
I am overcome. Review to come.
Kate McMurray
This was a really lovely book. It deals a lot with the fallout from WWI, events that you often see juxtaposed against the excess of the roaring twenties, but this is a much quieter novel, about a masseuse who takes a gardening job at the home of a wealthy man whose body was destroyed by the war. There are gothic romance elements here, which I thought was especially interesting; for the first half of the novel, John plays the role of the mysterious, brooding owner of the great estate on the Hudso ...more
Anyta Sunday
On the whole, this is a wonderful story. To me there was a lovely echo of one of my favorite childhood books: The Secret Garden. This came through in the setting, with Michael tending the gardens and John with his broken body, who at first is submitted to the fact he'll never get better and this is the way he is. Then with Michael helping him, he soon ventures beyond his room to the rest of the house and the outdoors. I think feeling this echo helped me enjoy the book as much as I did.

I also re
...more
Siria
Bonds of Earth is a quick and enjoyable read, one which I gulped down over the course of a five hour long car trip. It tells the story of two men, both veterans of the First World War who have been physically and emotionally scarred by their experiences, who slowly fall in love: Michael, the son of Irish immigrants, who is forced to leave New York to work as a gardener for a wealthy family in the upper part of the state; Seward, the only son of that family, guilt-ridden and suffering from what w ...more
Heather C
Sep 03, 2013 Heather C rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Heather C by: Jade
​This was a very enjoyable early 1900s American historical M/M romance. The author has a special way of penning a tragically, beautiful love story of two men, Michael and John, who have been deeply scarred (inside and out) by the realities of life and war. The entire story felt very real to me...from the slow developing romance to the flawed characters to the harsh reality that true healing takes a lifetime.

I'm giving it 4 stars because it took me a bit to get interested...and for some reason I
...more
Shannon
The cover threw me on this one. I'm guessing it was because he started as a gardener. That's not what I was thinking looking at the cover. What a beautiful and painful story. It's a slow burner, we don't get the meaningful sex for quite a while but the story is so good I didn't notice until I looked at the kindle. Two men back from war, both broken in different ways, who need each other to heal and love. I must say I wanted to beat the sister with a big stick. What a bitch!! Really enjoyed this ...more
Trisha Harrington
I have to admit I was skeptical when I started reading this book. It sounded very boring and ordinary, but I loved it. Michael and John has so much in common and then at times they had nothing in common. Both characters were well represented and the dept to them was very good. At times the book left me feeling frustrated but then it would turn around for me. The themes of war and love were present in almost every page. It was hard not too see the effects the war had on both characters. It takes ...more
Octobercountry
What a marvelous story this is---very touching. I've noted before that I have a predilection for stories in which two emotionally damaged characters get to know one another and find that together, they are able to overcome the bonds that were holding each prisoner when trying to make it on their own.

This is just one of several stories I've read that have dealt with the aftereffects of WWI, and it compares very well to the others (including Tamara Allen's Whistling in the Dark, which I loved), so
...more
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The Backlot Gay B...: Bonds of Earth by G.N. Chevalier 5 23 Apr 02, 2014 02:34PM  
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G N Chevalier has lived in Ottawa, Toronto, Québec City, and Montréal, but currently resides in Nova Scotia with her partner of many years. A long-time student of history, she is particularly interested in helping to tell the hidden stories that are only now being rediscovered. Some of her hobbies include playing music, video remixing, and photography.
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