No Man’s Land by GS Wiley

MANS
No Man’s Land by GS Wiley
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (50 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

London solicitor, Henry Naismith, went through hell in the trenches of World War One with his friend, Jack Harrison, as his only solace. Years later, Henry is back home, the widowed father of a young daughter. Safe in England for the last eight years, he’s never truly left the war behind, and it haunts him day and night.

When Henry meets Jack again by chance, he hopes to rekindle their friendship, and perhaps develop something more. But Jack has wartime nightmares of his own, and they both have a long road to travel before they can begin to recover and get on with their lives–together.

Love under the threat of death can prove to be the most lasting. Caught in a war with no chance to survive, Henry and Jack turn to each other. Although they can’t be open about their feelings, many men have turned to each other for companionship and comfort during the war. However what Henry and Jack share is something deeper and more meaningful. With Jack seemingly dead, Henry is sent home on a medical discharge. Years later, a chance encounter leaves Henry reeling and those old feelings of love shooting to the surface.

No Man’s Land is set in France 1916 and England 1924, this historical short story is a keeper. The two men are wonderfully drawn, although the shorter story definitely limits how three-dimensional they come across. The writing mostly makes up for any flaws though. Henry is the narrator and the best developed. He’s still struggling with his feelings regarding the war and transitioning into his new resumed life as a lawyer. He has a daughter but his wife, who was aware of his preferences and love for Jack, died in childbirth. This leaves the two men available for resuming some semblance of a relationship.

The relationship is nicely drawn and the writing is really excellent. I was drawn in immediately and couldn’t put the story down. At under 50 pages, I was sorry to see it end but felt satisfied with the story. I like the couple together and there was even a sex scene, more graphic than I expected given the historical setting and author. I really enjoyed that given the limited space of the story, the author chose to include a mention of the trauma both men clearly suffered during the war and a possible road to recovery.

I find very little to criticize about the story, save perhaps the ending. It’s a happy for now and expected, again given the nature of the men and the time frame. However, I would have liked something a little more. Especially since the story is a Father’s Day Collection and the cover had me thinking they ended up as one happy family. This is a very minor complaint and I would easily recommend this story to romance fans. It’s extremely romantic with lovely men and an adorable little girl.

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