Title: The Door Behind Us
Author: John C. Houser
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 260 pages
Rating: A List
Blurb: It’s 1919, and Frank Huddleston has survived the battlefields of the Great War. A serious head injury has left him with amnesia so profound he must re-learn his name every morning from a note posted on the privy door.
Gerald “Jersey” Rohn, joined the Army because he wanted to feel like a man, but he returned from the trenches minus a leg and with no goal for his life. He’s plagued by the nightmare of his best friend’s death and has nervous fits, but refuses to associate those things with battle fatigue. He can’t work his father’s farm, so he takes a job supervising Frank, who is working his grandparents’ farm despite his head injury.
When Frank recovers enough to ask about his past, he discovers his grandparents know almost nothing about him, and they’re lying about what they do know. The men set out to discover Frank’s past and get Jersey a prosthesis. They soon begin to care for each other, but they’ll need to trust their hearts and put their pasts to rest if they are to turn attraction into a loving future.
Review: A well written, character driven story set at the end of World War I. A love story threaded through with brief glimpses into the future. A story of hope, healing, family, love and the struggle to live in secret when those around you would condemn you for who you love.
Frank was such a beautiful blend of sweet, innocent, naive, lost little boy and strong protector. I cannot imagine the pain of losing my whole life. Of waking every morning to a blank slate with no sense of who I was, having to trust completely in the strangers around me. Whether it was simply healing or a little bit of the magic of love, it made sense that he would bond so deeply with Jersey.
Jersey was such a character. His ability to charm and fill the world around him with his stories played a part in helping Frank reconnect with the world around him. Frank’s desire to know him, to be a part of Jersey’s stories became a major focus in his life.
Their love story is a journey of friendship, healing, growth and discovery. Of family and making a home and making your own family. Of letting go of your pride when it is keeping you from your dreams and from the life and love you could have. Of acceptance not only of your lover, but of yourself, forgiving all of the faults, freak outs and mistakes.
I loved these guys. They were beautiful together. The best of friends who fell in love and wanted to be together in a world that told them that what they felt for each other was wrong. I ached for them. I wanted them to find their happy ending so badly.
Reviewed by Nina