Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Bells of Times Square by Amy Lane

The Bells of Times Square*****

Every New Year’s Eve since 1946, Nate Meyer has ventured alone to Times Square to listen for the ghostly church bells he and his long-lost wartime lover vowed to hear together. This year, however, his grandson Blaine is pushing Nate through the Manhattan streets, revealing his secrets to his silent, stroke-stricken grandfather.

When Blaine introduces his boyfriend to his beloved grandfather, he has no idea that Nate holds a similar secret. As they endure the chilly death of the old year, Nate is drawn back in memory to a much earlier time . . . and to Walter.

Long before, in a peace carefully crafted in the heart of wartime tumult, Nate and Walter forged a loving home in the midst of violence and chaos. But nothing in war is permanent, and now all Nate has is memories of a man his family never knew existed. And a hope that he’ll finally hear the church bells that will unite everybody—including the lovers who hid the best and most sacred parts of their hearts.


It’s New Year’s Eve and Nate Meyer’s favorite grandson insists on taking his wheelchair bound grandfather to Times Square.  Why?  Because Blaine’s a good boy that has long recognized his grandfather’s need to make the annual trek to Times Square on NYE.  That AND he has a secret that he wants to confide in his grandfather before he tells anyone else in his family. 

Due to a stroke, Nate has been confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak for a while now.   But that doesn’t stop him from feeling excited about going to Times Square on NYE.  He’s also tickled pink that Blaine’s “friend”, Tony, will be accompanying them.  Nate has already guessed Blaine’s secret and he is desperate to find a way tell Blaine that he understands and that he gives his love and support.  But Nate can’t speak so he comforts himself by listening for the Bells that will likely never play and reliving the memories of finding his first love during the dangerous and troubling chaos of WWII. 

On a somewhat “routine” mission to take aerial photographs Nate’s plane is shot down.  At the cost of his own life, Nate’s pilot miraculously lands their plane in a wooded area.  Amazingly, the plane is found by a young American soldier who takes Nate to safety.  “Safety” is a small abandoned home in the middle of the forest.  Walter, who is MIA and is believed to be dead, has been squatting there for months.  As Walter nurses Nate back to health (you can’t crash a plane and not sustain some pretty major injuries) the two become close friends and eventually lovers.  But in German-occupied France, nothing is safe and nothing is permanent.  Soon Nate and Walter have no choice but to move locations and attempt to make it back to Allied territory.  Only the hope of a life together after the war is what keeps them both going as they attempt to make it out of France in one piece.

Nate is one of my favorite types of heroes. Here I go again with my “forever boy” love (sorry, not sorry).  He is kind.  He is steady.  He is quietly passionate.  Those traits make his story all the more touching. The book starts out with Nate ruminating over his grandson, his late wife, his daughter….so you KNOW the likely outcome of his and Walter’s relationship.  That still doesn’t prepare you for the pain for which Amy Lane is so well known. Because what she does and build these amazing characters that you grow to know and love as if they are your closest friends.  And who doesn’t want the most for their friends?  And who wouldn’t be devastated when their friends are irreparably hurt?

Did I cry while reading this?  You know I did.  As expected, there is a lot of emotion in this story.  And not just between Nate and Walter.  One of the most moving scenes for me was between Nate and his future wife.  I wish I could say more but that would just give too much away.

It’s no surprise that I love everything of Amy’s that I’ve read (I could recommend more than 20 titles just from Dreamspinner Press alone).   And up until now I would have said Chase in Shadow is her best work.  But this?  The Bells of Times Square?  I have to put this up there with Chase in Shadow.  It might even be better. Particularly if you are historical romance fan like me.  It’s powerful and it’s beautiful and it will break your heart in a way that only a cruel and amazing author like Amy Lane can do.

If you are a fan of m/m romance and/or historical romance set during WWII, this is a MUST READ.  Don’t wait to purchase this wonderful story.  It releases form Riptide Publishing on December 15 ,2014.


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