Kaje Harper's Reviews > Bonds of Earth

Bonds of Earth by G.N. Chevalier
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's review
Jul 06, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, historical, m-m

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 a physical sense, John emotionally. Both gave up the potential for a fulfilling career when they joined the armed forces. And both are attracted to other men, in a time when the penalties and risks were far higher than they are today.

Those similarities might have been a basis for friendship, despite their differences in status. However their first encounters are anything but auspicious. Michael is wary, self-contained, and still reeling from the blow of having his uncle force him into this gardening job on the threat of exposing his proclivities to his beloved sister and possibly to the law. John is locked in a dark miasma of guilt and pain, both emotional and physical, and has no desire to let anyone close.

This is a beautifully written book. The period detail is so complete it immerses the reader in American life after the Great War, and yet it's so skillfully integrated that it never overshadows the characters and the story. The emotions of these two men, with their traumatic pasts, isolated by their fears and desires, are clear and poignant but understated. The slow progression of understanding and healing that it takes to bring these men together is very realistic. The secondary characters add depth and interest to the story, and play vital roles in motivating the events that move Michael and John forward.

This book has everything I love in a historical romance - a story with a smooth, believable plot and deep slowly-evolving emotions which would be valid in any era, and yet a story which is informed at every turn of the page by the rich details of the time in which it is set. Highly recommended.

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Reading Progress

July 6, 2012 – Shelved
July 19, 2012 – Started Reading
July 19, 2012 –
70.0% "Lovely, atmospheric book with heartfelt but not angsty emotions"
July 19, 2012 –
70.0% "Lovely, atmospheric book with heartfelt but not angsty emotions"
July 19, 2012 – Finished Reading
August 1, 2012 – Shelved as: favorites
August 1, 2012 – Shelved as: historical
August 1, 2012 – Shelved as: m-m

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Ami (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ami This is a beautifully written book.

It is, isn't it? And I don't even like historicals.

... and I think the book cover is sublime!

Feliz I couldn't agree more with everything you said. This is one of the best books I've read in our genre, and in general, recently. If this isn't worthy of a price, I don't know what is!

Kaje Harper I loved this story, the slow pacing, the atmosphere, the way the story came from the emotions and was universal and yet was deeply tied to the details of the era. Beautifully done.

Debbie This was such a great book - loved your review, Kaje. Little Sarah was so wonderful in the story also.

Kaje Harper Debbie wrote: "This was such a great book - loved your review, Kaje. Little Sarah was so wonderful in the story also."

The secondary characters and the building of family were part of what made the book, definitely.

Plainbrownwrapper I'm right there with ya. I loved this book!

Kaje Harper Plainbrownwrapper wrote: "I'm right there with ya. I loved this book!"

I'm developing a real fondness for the historical romances, whether because they entail more world-building and character, or because I've been picking good ones (like anything by Tamara Allen) I'm not sure.

Plainbrownwrapper I always say that I don't like historicals -- but then I enjoy books like this, and Lee Rowan's naval historicals, and the Brook Street series, and Whistling in the Dark, and.....I just give up. I guess I like em after all! ;-)

Kaje Harper It's interesting that my two highest-rated stories are semi-historicals (Into Deep Waters and Taste of Summer) People claim not to like historicals, but I think they have some preconceived idea of how they will be - I'd love to see more people read this one or If It Ain't Love or The Only Gold or The Gentleman and the Rogue. I think they would be less likely to use that as a reason for exclusion.

Plainbrownwrapper Oh yes, the Dee/Devon team too! I don't know why I have such a prejudice against historicals -- I do seem to enjoy most of the ones I read, even while I keep saying I don't like that sub-genre!

Marc | Rainbow Gold Reviews HMmm interesting books. I kind enjoy historicals, buthaven't read a lot. I guess it just depresses me a bit that in most they have to live in the closet. So i love either ones with a twist (likehaving a regency like gay community on a planet in the sci-regency series) or going back further into more sexually openminded societies (like books w/ a settkng in ancient rome)

message 12: by Kaje (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kaje Harper Yeah, if you're going to be true to a historical era, that's often an issue. And it bothers me if someone makes it seem too easy, in an era when it really wasn't, because of the historical inaccuracy. But I pretty much love historicals in general (and I love angst of all kinds so that in-the-closet angst works for me.)

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