A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Bells of Times Square by Amy Lane

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

TheBellsOfTimesSquare_500x750What does it say about a story when I admit that I started to cry as I was reading the blurb? Knowing that my favorite “Queen of Angst” was likely to pull out all stops on this one, I went into it with a box of tissues in hand. And I was not disappointed. And yes, the tissues were needed. This story is a beautiful, poignant, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and bittersweet look at a romance that transcends time.

Nate Meyer, a nice, sweet, young Jewish man decides to enlist in the Air Force in World War II, in part because he knows he’s a disappointment to his father, a fact more evident after his brother passed away at a young age. His brother was the one who got all the pride and affection his father could give out, and Nate just feels that it’s time to get away from the stifling environment. The son of a clockworker, he’s surprised to find that his knowledge of cameras and photography are not only appreciated, but needed for the war effort. He’s promoted to Second Lieutenant and together with his pilot, assigned the role of taking photos of potential targets during night missions over France and Germany. On one such mission, he spots a suspicious series of smokestacks and they move in to get a closer look, but the flare he and his pilot use to light the area for the photos is seen by Messerschmitt pilots who give chase. Their plane crashes in a wooded area over Nazi-occupied France, and though the pilot is killed, Nate survives.

He’s rescued by Walter, a diminutive redhead from Iowa who is an escaped POW, and fortunately for Nate, a medic as well. Walter has been living in an abandoned cottage in the woods for several months. He’s resourceful and self-sufficient and the cutest little man Nate has ever had the pleasure of seeing. However, at this point in our history, it’s extremely dangerous to reveal any attraction to another man so Nate hides it until one day when Walter is bathing his extremities and “Little Nate” is too obvious for Walter to ignore.

They confess their mutual attraction and act out on it slowly, engaging mostly in kissing, handjobs, blowjobs, and frottage. Nate doesn’t consider himself deeply religious, nevertheless, he knows that committing the act of mishkav zakhar, “the one act between men that was considered unforgivable”, will guarantee that he won’t find his way to heaven. But when the time comes for them to prepare to leave their nest in the woods, they finally do have sex, and Nate forgets his worries about heaven. Though they don’t verbalize the words “I love you”, they do make the promise to meet at Times Square at midnight on New Year’s Eve after the war is over, with or without the church bells ringing. They know they’ll be separated as soon as they are rescued since Walter is an enlisted man and Nate is an officer, and they have no choice about leaving their cottage, because a Nazi soldier has been using it for a tryst with a local Frenchwoman and they’re fortunate they haven’t been discovered yet. What the Nazi doesn’t know is that the Frenchwoman is working with the resistance and plans to help the men escape.

Circumstances never go according to plan, however, and ….(spoilers) click for hidden paragraph that contains spoilers for the ending of the story.

I have chills right now as I write this review. Amy Lane is an excellent author, her grammar and punctuation are perfect, but what really makes her books stand out among the rest is her ability as a storyteller. I am in awe. This story should have more than 5 stars. Superb is a mild word. By all means, do not miss the chance to read this book. And if you love historical romances, consider it a bonus. I think I may go hide out for a while and reread this story right now. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe how amazing this outstanding story is. Don’t hesitate to buy it.

Cover Art by Reese Dante. At first sight, the cover appears to be a faded collection of random objects, however, it actually tells the story contained within the book. Representations of the plane, the photography equipment, the clock at Times Square are all present and the brown-white rotogravure effect is reminiscent of the early days of photography in the 20th century. Beautifully done.

Sales LInks:  Preorder at Riptide Publishing    amazon    buy it here

Book Details:

Author: Amy Lane
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-185-4
eBook release: Dec 15, 2014
eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-186-1
Print release: Dec 15, 2014
Word count: 65,300, Page count: 236
Type: Standalone

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