The Gambler’s Brother by Jillian Chantal

Brother
The Gambler’s Brother by Jillian Chantal
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (121 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rated: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Beaumont McSwain, a former RAF pilot wounded in combat is now the legal officer onboard the Queen Mary. He’s haunted by a tragic mission gone awry and wants to return to America and to a life of peace and quiet. Zoe Langlois, a former member of the French Resistance, wants to get to America and find what’s left of her family after the Nazi’s reign of terror. She boards the Queen Mary under a false identity as a war bride. Along the way, several of the brides are killed and Zoe’s odds of survival are decreasing by the day. She and Bo are attracted to each other, but his secret as well as hers threaten their potential for happiness.

Wrought with very human emotion, The Gambler’s Brother will not fail to move you.

We find ourselves aboard the Queen Mary, here at the end of the war (1946). Bo Mcswain is endearing from the get go, and we readers are just like all those war brides he mentions, lured in with the promise of this novel, if not actual chocolate bars and nylon hose.

Zoe is not exactly a ‘war bride’ on her way to America, but she sure is determined to get to America. And her arrogance impresses Bo in the wrong sort of way…but his mind still returns to her. He’s got his own problems though; regrets and secrets. Neither are entirely forthwright. Bo seems confident, and Zoe, for all her determination, anxious. She very quickly engages readers’ sympathies.

We are sharply reminded that, ‘these are still dangerous times.’ Zoe’s danger, the compiling mystery, and our main characters’ efforts to help one another will utterly embroil readers. It is impossible to predict what will happen next. Supporting characters — I adore ‘Mena’ but also Dirk, especially– really add flavor to the story.

The opening conversation is a bit forced and a shade too informative. It just doesn’t quite ring true, but that little issue disappears fast. Nice dinners, ladies playing bridge and the chat in the ship’s officers’ lounge all add to the backdrop of life aboard ship.

The Gambler’s Brother is set during a specific, and relatively little-known period of time, (and little known event) following the war. The storyline is very fresh.  Fans of WWII-era fiction will certainly enjoy.

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  1. […] Long and Short reviews has reviewed The Gambler’s Brother and I love the fact that she thought it was “wrought with human emotion.” Totally made my day. […]

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