September 27th, 2011

andrew potter

Best Gay Historical: Home Fires Burning by Charlie Cochrane

This is a collection of two novellas, completely different in theme and setting but from the same author, and so, with the same feeling.

This Ground Which Was Secured at Great Expense is a First World War tale, the time is the beginning of the twenty century, and as I often say, you can feel the changing in the air: the soldiers, and in particular the officers, are more knights than war-meat and honour is still a concept taken into consideration.

Nicholas Southwell is a member of nobility and while he is in love with his estate manager Paul Haskell, he thinks this love unrequited; plus there is the war in France and every men worthy of that name feels as he needs to enlist. Even if Nicholas denies it when Paul suggests the idea, I also think that Paul’s pacifist ideas don’t fit well with Nicholas’s heroic idea of what is war. Truth to Paul, he is unfit to enlist due to a trouble to his leg, so in any case there was no chance for him.

At French’s front, Nicholas meets Philip, another fellow officer, another man from nobility… again, I don’t want to be unkind with Nicholas, but I think that is fast shifting of interest from Paul to Philip is also due to the fact that Philip fits better the idea of companion that Nicholas has in mind. True, Paul is not so welcoming of the hero when Nicholas comes back home on a leave, and instead Philip is there, willing to comfort the broken heart nursed by both of them for different men (also Philip has another lover, Fergal).

In a way or the other, it will not be Nicholas that will choose, events bigger than him will path his way out of the emotional trap he himself built around his heart.

The Case of the Overprotective Ass is set at the end of the Second World War; less than 40 years divide the two novellas but the men in them are completely different. Gone is the idea of heroic knights at war, gone is the uncertainty about each other feelings, what remains is the forbidden relationship between two men.

Alistair and Toby are two heartthrob of the UK movie industry of the ’50. Like many closet cases of the time, while they love each other and are in an exclusive relationship since years, to the public opinion they are best friends and contendants to the heart of fellow actress Fiona.

The intake of this story is light and mostly funny; Alistair and Toby are also surer of each other feelings and as such, they display their affection with more freedom than Nicholas and Paul.

I really am not able to say what is the more romantic between the two novellas, as I said they are very different; maybe the first one has a little more bittersweet aftertaste, while instead Alistair and Toby’s story is sparkling, a good parallelism is dark red wine against champagne… you can appreciate both, but not compare them.

http://www.cheyennepublishing.com/books/fires.html

Amazon: Home Fires Burning
Amazon Kindle: Home Fires Burning
Paperback: 198 pages
Publisher: Cheyenne Publishing (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 098282677X
ISBN-13: 978-0982826775



Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

Black as Snow by Nick Nolan

In comparison to the previous two novels by Nick Nolan I have read, especially Strings Attached, where I had immediately caught the connection with the fairy tale they were loosely inspired by, with Black as Snow I had some more double check to do, and in a way I’m still missing some “characters”. Sure, Sebastian Black is SnowWhite (Black/White), his mother Kitty is the stepmother/witch, and I think I even matched two dwarfs in Tess and Libby (Grumpy and Doc), even if I didn’t arrive to 7. Ramon is probably another one, and Reed is the female version of the Prince Charming. And yes, I didn’t commit a mistake since even if there is a gay subtheme, this is not actually a full gay novel, it’s more a novel about modern society, and there is everyone, gays, lesbians and straights.

There is a lot of gay references throughout the novel, Tess and Libby B&B in Big Sur has each room devoted to a LGBT classic author, like Paul Monette, and the lesbian couple is reading a copy of Double Bond by the same Nick Nolan. One of the supporting character helping Sebastian find his way back to life (another reference, also SnowWhite was running away from her world but then she went back), Ramon, has a gay son who he deeply loves, unconditionally, like probably Nick Nolan would like happen to each young gay boy on his coming out.

But in the end the main element of the novel is the searching of a new religion than in the end is simply the acknowledgment we are not alone in the world, that you are not an isle and that you cannot live by yourself without considering what your actions, or even simply words, will do to whom is around you. As I have always found SnowWhite to be a bit too much naïve, so is Sebastian; he is not against his mother ideas, maybe he doesn’t like how she is realizing them, but more or less he believes what she is telling him. Sebastian is living in a crystal ball, detached by real life, programmed to believe he is so much better than other people he can do practically everything.

But Sebastian will learn a taught lesson: no matter how much you try, no matter how much you believe it, at some point you have nothing to do if not surrender to life, and the only think that remains to do is to love even more who is still there with you.

Amazon: Black as Snow
Amazon Kindle: Black as Snow
Paperback: 392 pages
Publisher: AmazonEncore (August 30, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1612180051
ISBN-13: 978-1612180052

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle