Bonds of Earth, by G.N. Chevalier
A great debut novel. Enthusiastically recommended.
Story blurb: In 1918, Michael McCready returned from the war with one goal: to lose himself in the pursuit of pleasure. Once a promising young medical student, Michael buried his dreams alongside the broken bodies of the men he could not save. After fleeing New York to preserve the one relationship he still values, he takes a position as a gardener on a country estate, but he soon discovers that the house hides secrets and sorrows of its own. While Michael nurses the estate’s neglected gardens, his reclusive employer dredges up reminders of the past Michael is desperate to forget.
John Seward’s body was broken by the war, along with his will to recover until a family crisis convinces him to pursue treatment. As John’s health and outlook improve under Michael’s care, animosity yields to understanding. He and John find their battle of wills turning into something stronger, but fear may keep them from finding hope and healing in each other.
Available in ebook format – 240 pages
About the author: G N Chevalier has lived in Ottawa, Toronto, Québec City, and Montréal, but currently resides in Nova Scotia with her partner of many years. A long-time student of history, she is particularly interested in helping to tell the hidden stories that are only now being rediscovered. Some of her hobbies include playing music, video remixing, and photography.
Review by Gerry Burnie
Although I have conducted an active search to find Canadian writers of GLBT fiction, it was only this week that Bonds of Earth, by GN Chevalier [Dreamspinner Press, 2012] came to my attention. Perhaps, this is because it is her debut novel, or perhaps it is because the Canadian connection just never made it to the surface.
Bonds of Earth is a historical fiction set in the period directly following WWI. The “Great War”, or the “War to end all wars,” was by all accounts a horrendous experience for those who participated. “Trench warfare” meant months of standing in muddy ditches, with “trench foot” attacking your feet, and the sounds of enemy artillery shells passing overhead for hours on end. It also meant all-out charges through and over ‘razor wire’ while being shot at by machine guns and sniper rifles.
Out of this hell came two men, Michael McCready, the son of poor Irish immigrant and a brilliant medical student, and John Seward, a wealthy recluse, both indelibly scarred by the experience.
Their coming together is fateful, which is the way fate often works, when Michael is coerced into taking a rural job as a gardener, and ends up on John’s estate (actually belonging to an aunt). The fact that Michael is the equivalent of a massage therapist, and that John is handicapped is serendipitous as well.
If that was it (the plot) it would be a “so-so” book at best, but Chevalier (a name tailor-made for a writer) shows great insight by pitting them together as antagonists to start. This bit of angst greatly contributes to the characterization of the two protagonists, and leads inevitably to the resolution.
I also liked the way she gave character to the supporting cast; each one serving a secondary role but interesting in their own way.
The tenor of the times is captured nicely, as well, and the pace is good … right up until (as it has been mentioned at least a dozen times) the epilogue. It’s not a fatal flaw. In fact I wouldn’t even call it a serious flaw, but being anticlimactical it detracts from the overall enjoyment like one-too-many desserts.
Enthusiastically recommended. Four bees.
Visitors count to Gerry B’s Book Reviews – 28,937
What’s your opinion of cross-genre themes?
Lately there has been a surge of so-called “crossover” themes, i.e. cowboys and aliens, vampire-romance themes, etc.
- Have you written a crossover theme story?
- Have you considered writing one?
- Would a cowboy/Theban warrior theme interest you?
Share your comments below.
Notice to all those who have requested book reviews
Thank you for your interest, and my apologies for not responding to your request individually. I’m getting there, but the numbers have been overwhelming. Please extend your patience just a bit longer.
If you would like to learn more about any of my books, or to order copies, click on the specific cover below. Two Irish Lads and Nor All Thy Tears are available in both Kindle and Nook formats. Publisher’s price, $4.95.
Thank you for dropping by. We are now approaching 30,000 visitors, and your continued visits will get us there. Drop back often.
No comments yet.
The views expressed herein are my own and may not reflect the views of others.
To request a book review or to contact me, email:
Notes of interest:
1. Note: To avoid disappointment, the genres considered for review are:
a) GLBT fiction and non-fiction, b) GBLT-related biographies and autobiographies, c) GBLT historical fiction and non-fiction. d) Canadian content, e) Frontier tales, f) Biographies and autobiographies.
2. Due to Amazon's policy of arbitrarily deleting reviews without notice, I do not post reviews to Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, or Goodreads.
Instead, you can find my reviews on Indigo Books.ca, Stumble upon, Barnes & Noble, and Google Books.
If you have other sites you wish to suggest, contact me at email@example.com
Search this site
Top Posts (past 24 hrs.)
- Longhorns, by Victor J. Banis
- We Pointed Them North: Recollections of a cowpuncher by E.C. "Teddy Blue" Abbott and Helena Huntington Smith
- Sal Mineo: A Biography, by Michael Gregg Michaud
- Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock, Mark Tewksbury
- Real Justice: Guilty of Being Weird: The story of Guy Paul Morin, by Cynthia J. Faryon
- Scrap Metal, by Harper Fox
- About Gerry Burnie
- The Dieppe Raid: The Story of the Disastrous 1942 Expedition (Twentieth-Century Battles), by Robin Neillands
- Sailors and Sexual Identity: Crossing the Line Between "Straight" and "Gay" in the U.S. Navy, by Steven Zeeland
- For a Lost Soldier, by Rudi van Dantzig
- Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada, by Brent Rathgeber
- Dominus, by JP Kenwood
- Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life, by James Daschuk
- Collide, by J.R. Lenk
- The Trouble With Tony (Sex in Seattle #1), by Eli Easton
- Lovers in Arms, by Osiris Brackhaus
- Red Dirt Heart (Red Dirt #1), by N.R. Walker
- Everything I Have Is Blue: Short Fiction by Working-Class Men About More-or-Less Gay Life, by Wendell Ricketts
- Vamp, by Rob Rosen
- The One for Me, by Hollis Shiloh
- What About Me?: The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society, by Paul Verhaeghe
- The Way of Men, by Jack Donovan
- Stanley Park: A Novel, by Timothy Taylor
- Native: A Novel, by William Haywood Henderson
- Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story, by Paul Monette
- The Medici Boy, by by John L’Heureux
- Canadian Hook-Up: Gay Erotica, by Dick Parker
- One Man Guy, by Michael Barakiva
- Justice in an Age of Metal and Men, by Anthony W. Eichenlaub
- Rangers, by Nate Tanner
- River of the Brokenhearted, by David Adams Richards
- Real Good Man (Canadian Heroes #2) by Elise Whyles
- Trails Plowed Under by Charles M. Russell
- The Reluctant Berserker, by Alex Beecroft
- While England Sleeps, by David Leavitt
- Island: The Complete Stories, by Alistair MacLeod
- The Forgotten Founders: Rethinking The History Of The Old West, by Stewart L. Udall (Author), David Emmons (Foreword)
- Vivaldi in the Dark (Vivaldi in the Dark #1) by Matthew J. Metzger
- Well Traveled (Gideon and Jedediah #1) by Margaret Mills, Tedy Ward
- One Boy’s Shadow, by Ross A. McCoubrey
- Brothers of the Wild North Sea, by Harper Fox
- White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain’s White Slaves in America, by Don Jordan, Michael Walsh
- King of the Celts, by Rose Christo
- The Serpent’s Tongue, by Dorien Grey
- Thoreau in Love, by John Schuyler Bishop
- The Door Behind Us, by John C. Houser
- The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men, by Christina Hoff Sommers
- I Am John I Am Paul: A Story of Two Soldiers in Ancient Rome, by Mark Tedesco
- A Place to Call Their Own, by L. Dean Pace-Frech
- A Shiny Tin Star, by Jon Wilson
- Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison, by T.J. Parsell
- A Handful of Blossoms, by Lara Biyuts
- 2013 in review
- The Cartographer of No Man’s Land: A Novel by P.S. Duffy
- Rocky Mountain Christmas, by Michael Barnette
- Some Canadian Christmas Selections
- Love Stories: Sex between Men before Homosexuality, by Jonathan Ned Katz
- The Boy I Love, by Marion Husband
- Homesteads and Horseradish, by Kiernan Kelly
- Real Men Ride Horses, by Ken Shakin
- October 2014 (3)
- September 2014 (5)
- August 2014 (4)
- July 2014 (4)
- June 2014 (5)
- May 2014 (4)
- April 2014 (4)
- March 2014 (5)
- February 2014 (4)
- January 2014 (4)
- December 2013 (7)
- November 2013 (4)
- October 2013 (4)
- September 2013 (5)
- August 2013 (4)
- July 2013 (5)
- June 2013 (5)
- May 2013 (4)
- April 2013 (5)
- March 2013 (4)
- February 2013 (4)
- January 2013 (4)
- December 2012 (6)
- November 2012 (4)
- October 2012 (5)
- September 2012 (4)
- August 2012 (4)
- July 2012 (5)
- June 2012 (4)
- May 2012 (4)
- April 2012 (4)
- March 2012 (5)
- February 2012 (5)
- January 2012 (6)
- December 2011 (4)
- November 2011 (3)
- October 2011 (5)
- September 2011 (4)
- August 2011 (4)
- July 2011 (5)
- June 2011 (4)
- May 2011 (6)
- April 2011 (4)
- March 2011 (4)
- February 2011 (4)
- January 2011 (5)
- December 2010 (5)
- November 2010 (6)
- October 2010 (5)
- September 2010 (4)
- August 2010 (5)
- July 2010 (4)
- June 2010 (4)
- May 2010 (6)
- April 2010 (4)
- March 2010 (6)
- February 2010 (5)
- January 2010 (10)
John Cox on The Trouble With Tony (Sex in… Reviews and Where to… on The Second Ring, by Anthony… Gerry B. on Queer Cowboys – Chris… smslån 2000 on Queer Cowboys – Chris… Gerry B. on The One for Me, by Hollis…