Title: The Larks Still Bravely Singing
Author: Aster Glenn Gray
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 216 Pages
Category: Historical Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
At a Glance: Astor Glenn Gray tells a lovely story, and this one fully engaged my heart in the telling. If you’re looking for a quiet and sentimental read, The Larks Still Bravely Singing will fill that want.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: The Great War cost Robert his left leg and his first love.
A shattering breakup leaves Robert convinced that he is a destructive force in romantic relationships. When he finds himself falling in love with David, an old friend from boarding school, he’s sure that he shouldn’t confess his feelings. But as their meandering conversations drift from books and poetry to more intimate topics, Robert’s love deepens – and so do his fears of hurting David.
Since he was wounded, David has been batted from hospital to hospital like a shuttlecock, leaving him adrift and anxious. His renewed friendship with Robert gives him a much-needed sense of peace and stability. Slowly, David opens up to Robert about the nervous fears that plague him, and when Robert responds with sympathy and support, David finds himself feeling much more than friendship. But he’s afraid that he’s already a burden on Robert, and that asking for more will only strain their developing bond.
Can these two wounded soldiers heal each other?
Review: “The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.”
Robert Montagu and David Callahan met as boys in boarding school, went on to fight in World War I, lost limbs and are rehabilitating—though they still bear the psychological toll of their memories and of living while friends and brothers in arms died—not to mention they’ve survived the Spanish Influenza pandemic. With such heavy subjects driving the narrative and characterizations in this novel, it would be rational to think of it is a dark and depressing story, and while there are certainly weighty moments along the way, Aster Glenn Gray wrote The Larks Still Bravely Singing as a story of love and hope and faith while Robert and David navigate their way toward a new relationship.
This is a character-driven novel, not given over to broad drama, action, and suspense, but rather, the story thrives in the quiet anticipation of how these two men will reconcile their differences, their residual trauma, as well as the challenges of carrying on a relationship in a world that won’t accept them as partners. Their sexual experiences—Robert’s being more varied while David is demi- and doesn’t necessarily want or need to express himself sexually—factor into the building of the relationship as well. Robert suffered a breakup that still fills him with guilt, and that plays a role in the setbacks he and David face. Their conversations and missteps and reconciliations move the story forward, and the author presents it all with a mix of “chin up, old chap,” which fit the timing of the story, while also allowing Robert and David each to feel how they felt and to express those feelings when they were ready.
Astor Glenn Gray tells a lovely story, and this one fully engaged my sense of empathy and compassion in the telling. I sympathized with Robert and David as they fought to assimilate to life in the aftermath of their service, all while falling in love in the process. They did, each in their own way, still bravely sing. If you’re looking for a quiet and tender read, The Larks Still Bravely Singing will fill that want.
You can buy The Larks Still Bravely Singing here:
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