The main strength of the novel is the balance between manliness and romance, military and love story: never once the author forgot these were soldiers she was writing about, but at the same time, the romance was “romantic” (sorry the double similar words but they fit).
Aside from the military theme, that already part of a romance tradition, the author also ventured in another classical romance theme, the May/December romance, or better the young/older lovers: Platoon Sergeant Col 'Bulldog' Wilson is 35 years old, while new recruits Chris Thompson is 21 years old. Of course the age difference is part of the plot, with Col wondering if Chris is not searching a substitute father in him, even considering the bad relationship Chris has with his own father, but the author managed to shorten it with a clever expedient: Chris never hid his sexuality, since he was a teenager, arriving even to tick of the “homosexual” square in his enlisting papers, and so at 21 he hasn’t maybe much sexual experience on the field, but he had plenty of time to be self-conscious about his sexuality and desires; Col instead has always repressed his feelings, and at 35 he has never been with a man before, and he still needs to arrive to pact with his own sexual needs, let alone feelings.
It will be a long path for Col and Chris, another thing I liked of the story, we followed them for years, not just during the heat of the passion, but a path with a very romantic happily ever after at the end.
Paperback: 276 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (October 20, 2011)
Amazon: Basic Training
Amazon Kindle: Basic Training
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