Review - "Between Love and Honor" by E E Montgomery
Haunting, stunning, lyrical
David is a postal clerk in 1914 Australia. He loves at home, goes to church, and is the obedient and proper young man of his times. One day, he looks up and notices Carl. Smaller, more bookish, a smile and manner to die for, the two share a quick smile and a light laugh as David posts his letters.
As the days go by, the two strike up a quick friendship, and are soon sharing lunches on the riverbank. Then they are sharing more, quick kisses, assignations in the woods, then nights together, stolen in silence as David moves into the same boarding house as Carl.
War breaks out, and threatens to come between the two men. Politically. Personally. Perhaps permanently. Will their love survive the war, the times, the pitfalls of being gay in an intolerant era?
I started this very short, haunting and lyrical stunner early in the evening, and I have to admit, it ruined me for the rest of the night. The quiet gentle love these two young men shared, shy and tentative and sweet, but forbidden - "I looked at our shoes, surfaces barely kissing" - tore at me. The passions of David and Carl, so sweetly hidden, in words barely acknowledged but the feelings and love so plain. And the things hidden between them - so heartbreaking.
And then the ending - "I had to hide behind anonymous initials". Absolutely killed me. Bittersweet and brutal.
E E Montgomery has written a short masterwork here. It makes me thankful, but so beautifully sad. Just wonderful.