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The Last Kiss

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  456 ratings  ·  101 reviews
A tender and triumphant story of forbidden love in the aftermath of war

When Captain Ashleigh Arthur Dalton went to war in 1914, he never expected to fall in love. Yet over three long years at the front, his dashing batman, Private West, became his reason for fighting—and his reason for living.

But Ash’s war ends in catastrophe. Gravely wounded, he’s evacuated home to his fa
Kindle Edition, 254 pages
Published March 26th 2020
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
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~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
Utterly brilliant, at once tragic and romantic, The Last Kiss is both a love story and a story of war. It is about the bonds we forge in the battlefield, the forbidden love that blossoms and defies all odds, the memories that haunt us, and the trauma, the overwhelming trauma, of watching your friend drown in mud while you stand by helpless making promises you can't keep.

The way Malcolm writes the battlefield scenes and describes Ash's PTSD is astonishing. She spares no punches.

The entire time I
Oh, my heart, Sally Malcolm, has a way of writing that pulls me into her books.

-Historical Romance
-Brutality of war
-Friends to lovers
-Dual POVs
-Class difference
-An amazing friend
-And the epilogue 💗

Their love, fear of being caught, and helplessness of their situation- talk about feels that hurt so good.

5 Stars. Highly recommend it.
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What a beautifully moving and powerful book from Sally.

When I was a teenager, historical romances were where I was at, before I switched to my first love of Fantasy/Sci-Fi and Paranormal and they remain right at the top of my list for the genre of book I love to read the most within the MM world.

So it was such a joy to pick up this book and have a reading experience which was not only authentic to the time period, but which brought ALL the feels, both good and bad, set as it was in the closing s
Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~
This is a new-to-me author and I'm quite impressed. Her sense of time and place is masterful. This felt like 1919. This felt like two men ravaged by war and grappling with how to be together in a post-war era. Where their class differences meant nothing on the front line, it now threatens to keep them apart as society and old traditions put pressures on them.

Ash and Harry were both well-rounded characters and likable, and their bond was palpable even from the opening pages in the trenches along
This is a beautiful book. A wonderful historical with a seamless meshing of fact and fiction. This is also a gorgeous love story. Romance doesn't do the love between Ashleigh Dalton and Harry West the justice it so richly deserves. They are characters who get under your skin and into your very soul and make you love them. I'll not forget them.


Sally Malcolm has written a book that is not always easy to read, there was a pandemic then, as there is now, and the brutality of war is not glossed over,
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Last Kiss by Sally Malcolm is an intense and interesting novel set in England right after the end of the First World War.

Focusing on the deep bond between Ashleigh Dalton (an army Captain who has lost a leg in the war and suffers from what was known at the time as shell shock) and his former aide-de-camp Harry West, the novel investigates not only the effects of the war on its survivors, but it also concentrates on society's reaction - or lack thereof - to the massive changes triggered by
Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ku, historical
3.5 stars

I really liked this. I thought the author did a great job making it feel accurate to the time period while still allowing for an HEA.

It illustrated how and why WWI became a turning point in English society without ignoring how slow-moving these kind of turning points feel in the moment. I especially loved the conversations about taking tiny steps, one person at a time, to trust that it would lead to larger changes long-term. (I intentionally followed this with a contemporary set in Engl
The Last Kiss is definitely the book I was looking for while stuck at home, self quarantined, in the year of Corona.
Ash and Harry broke my heart, made me cry and finally sighing happily in the end.
It's not easy for them when the death toll was still there after struggling the war. Didn't know what they'll face in teh future, but I was glad they're living for their today, no matter what will happen in this cruel world.
Maybe the time was right, but surely it's the author's writing that hypnotize
Beautiful. Poignant. Heartfelt. Although it would be almost a hundred years before marriage equality was achieved and over forty before homosexuality was decriminalised in the U.K. Ash and Harry found a way to be together and to make a life. We human beings find a way to endure, to survive and to love... No matter what.


*4.5 Stars* rounded up
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've given this a B+ at AAR / 4.5 stars

Sally Malcolm’s latest novel is something of a departure for anyone familiar with her excellent  New Milton  series. The Last Kiss is an historical romance set in England immediately after World War One, and it features two characters for whom the class divide is as insurmountable an obstacle to their love for each other as is their sexuality.  Ms. Malcolm is one of my favourite writers; her ability to delve deep into the thoughts and emotions of her char
Rachel Reid
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This might be the best book I’ve read this year? It’s so beautiful and so heartachingly real. Also, extremely romantic with unforgettable characters. I absolutely loved it and I miss Harry and Ash already.
I'm a WWI/WWII junkie, so I absolutely loved the time/place of this story - especially the opening sequences. The Last Kiss is a poignant and lovely story of two men fated to fall in love and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, class distinctions and their sexuality conspire to keep them apart...but this is a romance novel, and against the odds Malcolm makes it work.

Captain Ashleigh Arthur Dalton, a London banker before WWI, never expected or wanted to lead men into battle and near certain
5 stars. Oh God, this book.

I loved this so much. So much. Normally, I avoid MM romances that are set in the twentieth century because they make me so sad, even when they have happy endings. They are about a period so recent that it breaks my heart to think about the suffering. It feels to real and raw and it makes me want to lay down and cry forever. But this one knew I would have to read.

This was stunningly beautiful. I loved everything about this book, from the first word to the last one. As
Apr 23, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

This was a sweet story about two gentle souls who start out as friends during the war and somewhere along the way they realize they’re in love. Ash is a passionate and caring captain who’s wounded in the war and Harry is his brawny loyal friend-turned-lover whose been by his side through hell and back. They face the seemingly insurmountable odds of an intolerant society but somehow they’re able to overcome it and get their HEA. Main drawback is that there was zero edge to either of the
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, romance, 2020
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
An extraordinarily powerful story of longing and love between Captain Ashleigh Dalton and Private Harry West, two men from entirely different worlds thrust together in the trenches of WWI.

From the opening chapters - which made me cry, twice - to the epilogue (which made me cry AGAIN) my heart was absolutely full of their struggle to find a way back to happiness after the Armistice. Sally Malcolm does an incredible job of navigating the inequalities and prejudices that stand in their way, as wel
4.25 stars from me for this historical as opposed to contemporary read from Sally Malcolm. I liked it not loved it unfortunately.

I have read this 'fake' marriage trope before in M/M historical romance, so regrettably it was nothing new although I was a little surprised by the amount of time it took for them to come up with their lightbulb moment 💡...eventually a win -win situation for everyone surely?? I was also a tad disappointed by the number of typos I have to admit. The two MC's were lovel
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: special-fav
It seemed like all the odds were against Ashleigh and Harry, during the war and after. Just like them, it was so hard for me to cling to any hope of a possible future together for them. Sally Malcolm has written their love so beautifully, that I felt their despair, their mirrored feelings when looked at each other, their appreciation for every moment together or how much they treasured every stolen touch.

Amazing and emotional story, highly recommended.

Amy Dufera
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sally Malcolm's The Last Kiss is a wonderful historical romance. From the first page, I was sucked into this story, reading it as fast as I could.

Ash and Harry are two men trapped in a world that isn't theirs. They are two men who aren't allowed to be together in any way. They met during the war and fell in love. But they are separated by class, status, and law.

The emotions are high and intense. Fear. Pain. Grief. Longing. Chemistry. More Fear. Anger. Sadness. Heartache. And yet more fear. My h
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grr, blog, purchased, favorites
I first became acquainted with Sally Malcolm's writing when I saw Perfect Day available for request on NetGalley back in the summer of 2018. I fell in love with her stories and have purchased and read all of the romance books she's published since then. While her other books have been contemporary romances, The Last Kiss is set during, and right after, WW-I; it's the first romance I've read from this era.

This book engaged me so much right from the start. A historical romance series titled Brothe
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.25 stars
Patricia Nelson
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic, beautiful, grab-you-by-the-feels, sweeping, amazing, poignant, bittersweet, intense, raw, gritty, gripping, enthralling, make-me-shed-tears-of-both-joy-and-sadness, heartbreaking yet hopeful, and totally awesome historical romance. It pulled me in from the very first page, and I ended up with a massive book hangover because I just could NOT put it down. I would recommend getting this marvelous masterpiece ASAP.
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. Really beautiful WWI story, filled with angst and drama, along with hope and joy. (ALL THE FEELS, f'real.) One of my last KU reads for the foreseeable, will probably purchase to reread in future. ...more
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Where do I begin? I just finished an ARC of The Last Kiss by Sally Malcolm and my heart is so full. These two men, Captain Ashleigh Dalton and Private Harry West met under the worst of circumstances...the bloody, brutal battlefields of war. They found comfort in each other and formed a close bond and friendship. They didn't push for more other than that at the beginning as homosexuality in 1914 was not something that was out in the open. The two had to hide their affection. Not only were they tw ...more
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, favorites
I loved this so much. This was right up my alley, this post-World War 1 time period which I'm really drawn to, and just destined/meant to be type of pure love between the two former captain and batman war veterans, with their same-sex love and class difference being forbidden in society, but Ash and Harry finding a way to be together despite the insurmountable obstacles. It was lovely to just read of their bond and it was really poignant to have them be able to live together, as good as married ...more
Jürgen  Von Der Heide

It's been ages since I last liked a book as I did this one. I liked the commencement, the historical references, the realism, the telling... I liked the way the characters were introduced: nothing overdone or stereotyped, just two manhandled men trying to thrive and get over their sodding past and war-torn path. I could feel through the words the suitability of the two MCs for each other, the genuineness of their affection and their protectiveness over each other. I can't te
Moving, emotional and brilliant historical that takes place during and after WWI. (An added note that took me by surprise - takes place during the Spanish flu pandemic so there are references to mask wearing.) Ashleigh is an officer who is preparing to lead his men into battle. He has become close to his batman, Harry West. Their friendship is deep, forged in shared horror and circumstances of war. A horrific battle ensues, men dying and ends in a traumatic injury to one of our MCs. Ash and West ...more
I finished this yesterday and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. It’s a very moving romance set during and after WW1 between Captain Ashleigh Dalton and Private Harry West, his batman (an officer’s personal servant). The first chapter is set during the first battle of Passchendaele and the fear is visceral. It’s a brilliant piece of writing, because we immediately care about these two men and their relationship, and dread what’s about to happen.

The majority of the book deals with the after-eff
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Won this book on Sally Malcolm's giveaway contest. I tend to steer clear of stories with RL war themes, but I adore Sally Malcolm's New Milton series, I love their writing, and M/M historical is my kryptonite.
This book has everything I need in an M/M historical. I loved the main characters and their imperfections (or perfection, because (view spoiler). I loved that everyone I cared about in the book got their happy endings. I appreciated how the WWI set-up wa
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sally Malcolm is an author who so far never has disappointed me, but her latest book had such a different subject matter than her other works that I hesitated to read it, especially since when it came out the Lockdown hadn’t been going on for long and I was not in the right headspace for a novel set right after WWI. Two months later, though, I felt like I could give it a try, and I’m glad I did. Despite being a realistic depiction of what soldiers went through during and after the First World Wa ...more
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Sally Malcolm was bitten by the m/m romance bug in 2016 and hasn’t looked back. It’s fair to say she’s obsessed with the genre. She has four contemporary m/m romances out, set in the fictional Long Island seaside town of New Milton.

She's also the author of eight Stargate novels and novellas, including the hit "Apocalypse" trilogy. She has penned four Stargate audio dramas for Big Finish Production

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“Because Harry knew there was no forever. Not for them. Such things were impossible. There was only today, there was only tonight. And he’d do well not to forget it.” 1 likes
“The thought of squeezing back into his stifling pre-war life stopped his breath in panic. In truth, the only time he breathed easily was with Harry, whom he loved with that same red raw ferocity — and whom he’d love with passion given the chance. But he wouldn’t get that chance. The world forbade it.” 1 likes
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