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2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Palace Dog by R.E. Nelson

Palace Dog by R.E. Nelson
Gay Historical Romance
Paperback: 206 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 27, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632165376
ISBN-13: 978-1632165374
Amazon: Palace Dog
Amazon Kindle: Palace Dog

In April 1975, as the government in Saigon is falling, Michael Andrews prepares to make his way back to Vietnam to find the love he was forced to leave.

But Michael’s journey begins four years earlier. He joins the Air Force to keep out of the Army and out of Vietnam, but his first assignment is teaching English in Saigon to members of the Vietnamese military in an Army program called Palace Dog.

As an artist, and a man, before his time in Vietnam, Michael found life lonely and unsatisfying. In the midst of war, Michael searches for direction and meaning. He ultimately finds love and hope with Thao, a young Vietnamese art student, only to have their already uncertain future wrenched from them when he is pulled out of the country.

For Michael, his return in 1975 is inevitable and without question, though the outcome he hopes for is anything but assured.


This book was very well written. It put me right onto the streets of Vietnam: sights, sensations, smells, anxiety, and all.

This started out really slow for me. I'm a romance reader, and the romance didn't start until more than halfway through the novel. The subplot with Richard seemed like filler to me from a genre romance perspective. Once the romance plot really got going, I couldn't put it down. But it took a long time. This made Saigon feel like a real place, not just someplace you see in film clips on TV. All the characters felt real and unique, even the minor ones. Beautifully written literary style novel.

Excellent historical details and setting -- very well done throughout. Every part of it seems authentic and there's a real tension in the story regarding America's withdrawal from Vietnam and the collapse of the war efforts and the impact on the characters. Some pacing and flashback problems and abrupt ending but overall very strong and interesting.



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Tags: rainbow awards 2015
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