Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Clay and Daniel fell in love as enlisted men during Desert Shield, but Don’t Ask Don’t Tell meant they had to keep it secret. After Clay’s convoy was ambushed, PTSD changed him, and their relationship ended in a horrible fight on Christmas Eve.
Twenty-five years later, they’ve reconnected on Facebook, and Clay finds out Daniel will be alone on Christmas Eve. Impulsively, he sets out for Daniel’s hometown of Gilead, Ohio—where Daniel is now the mayor—to surprise him with a visit. But a blizzard strikes and Clay wrecks his car. All hope of seeing Daniel is lost—until a mysterious old man named Nick offers Clay a ride. The weight of past wounds and the scars of war might make their reunion awkward, but Clay is willing to take the risk to win back his lost love. Despite a lifetime of disappointing holidays, Clay hopes that this soldier is finally coming home for Christmas.
I don’t know if it was the mood I was in or if I’m just such a sap for Christmas stories like these but Welcome Home, Soldier by Deanna Wadsworth just hits all my buttons for Christmas stories. It has the second chance at love after a long period of time, a blizzard and a wonderful mystical element. Yes, even a dog. I just loved it right down to that cover.
Two men love each other deeply as young men during the Army during Desert Shield. It’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell but most importantly it’s the times and their youth, and then the changes in Clay when he’s the only one to survive an ambush of his team. They can’t survive as a couple and split up. Now it’s twenty-five years later and Christmas Eve and they are about to reconnect.
Deanna Wadsworth has done a remarkable job in creating a story that manages to seem both down to earth and yet at the same time wraps both of these older, worn men in some undefinable magical glow. She gives you that awkwardness as they feel their way back towards each other as all those years apart, trying to see if there’s anything still there. It feels very real. But the author also manages to bring a Christmas magic to her story, a mystical element that makes anything possible, including the second chance at love for these two lonely men who have always loved each other.
Boy, was I sniffling away at parts, enjoying myself immensely. Yes, this story was clearly written for me. I just loved it. Including that ending! If you are just as sappy as I am, trust me Welcome Home, Soldier by Deanna Wadsworth is just the Christmas story for you.
Cover art by L.C. Chase is wonderful. The artist captures them as young men before the breakup. But has the dog from the present times. I just adore this cover.
ebook, 76 pages
Published December 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English