*This review contains what might be considered spoilers*
Summary Review: A powerful love story that broke my heart but made me incredibly grateful to the author.
It is 1963. Being gay is a sin against God. And twenty-eight year old mechanic Will meets Bran for the first time.
Over the years a close bond forms between them despite the seventeen year age difference. Will teaches Bran to swim and helps him with homework. The years pass, Bran drops out of school and moves away.
Then Bran comes home. Can Will move past their age difference? And if he does, how can he keep Bran in 1970 America?
A beautifully told tale of love and loss told from the viewpoint of a deeply closeted gay man at the very beginning of the American Gay and Lesbian Rights movement.
Will and Bran met for the first time at the pool attached to the apartment complex where they lived. Bran had just moved into the area with his mother and sister because his Dad had died and they could no longer afford the rent where they lived before. Bran immediately attached himself to Will, much to his dismay, but he decided not to reject him because he didn’t have any friends. They spent most of the time by the pool due to the Texas heat which was stifling, and Will taught Bran how to swim and even helped him with his homework. However, as he grew older Bran became much smarter than his tutor who hadn’t gone beyond high school and worked as a mechanic in a local garage. When Bran told Will he was quitting school at 17 because he couldn’t allow his Mom to continue supporting him, Will was very disappointed; shortly after Bran left to work on a ranch in another town. They didn’t see each other again until Bran came back home at 18, a year later, and Will didn’t recognize him because the person who showed up bore no resemblance to the skinny kid he once knew.
‘He leaned close, lightly brushing his lips over mine. “Will,” he whispered against my lips. “In less than six months, the US Army will put a gun in my hands and make me a killer. If I’m old enough for that, how can I be too young for this?”
And then he kissed me.’I had no power left to protest. The arms holding me were strong and sure, and the chest I felt beneath my hands definitely belonged to an adult, and any memory I had of the person he had been before fled. Maybe my reasons for saying no had been good, and maybe they hadn’t. Either way I could no longer muster any conviction for them. Here and now he was a man in every way, and he wanted me. He trusted me. I wrapped my arms around him and kissed him back, relishing the feel of his hard body against mine.
What followed was some of the most tender, sensuous and moving lovemaking, as Bran gave himself to Will. The thought that this could be all they would ever have made being together even more poignant and heartbreaking, as Bran wanted to experience every aspect of love and sex with Will to store up memories, just in case he never came home again. The war was constantly on their minds and they counted down each day as if it was their last, and they made each one count.