Reviewed by Heather C
Title: Half a Man
Author: Scarlet Blackwell
Series: War Tales #1
Heroes: Robert Blake/Jack Anderson
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 99 Pages
Publisher: Totally Bound
Release Date: September 26, 2014
Available at: Totally Bound
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Traumatised by the nightmare of trench warfare in France, Robert Blake turns to rent boy Jack Anderson for solace. Neither man expects their business relationship to go quite so far.
It is 1919, less than a year after the end of the First World War with a recovering Britain in the grip of the influenza pandemic. Crippled veteran of the Somme battle, Robert Blake, is looking for someone to ease his nightmares of France and his guilt over what happened to his commanding officer. He turns to educated rent boy Jack Anderson for physical solace, not expecting how deeply the two soon become immersed in each other’s lives.
I saw Half a Man on the Coming Soon list from Totally Bound, and when I skimmed the blurb, I immediately wanted to read it. I love historicals and I love characters with disabilities. I sometimes even love rent boys in my historicals. Sadly, I was a little annoyed when I later figured out this was a rerelease…I don’t even know if has been expanded or even edited…? Anyway, I started reading it late one night and stayed up ’til the wee hours of the morning because I could not put it down. There were many things I loved about it, and I few things that I didn’t.
Usually when I write a review, I refer back to the notes I made while reading the book. Sometimes there is a pageful; sometimes there are only a few lines. For this book, my notes were simply the following:
Three words. It took only three words to remind myself of my feelings as I was reading this book.
I was in love with the idea of the story. Robert, a disabled war veteran confined to a wheelchair and lacking certain functions, hires Jack, a rent boy, to be his weekly companion for one short hour. Robert is completely different from Jack’s usual employers, not just that he is in a wheelchair, but their time isn’t all about fucking and Robert seems more focused on Jack’s pleasure than his own. It is not a complicated story and the scenery doesn’t move much beyond Robert or Jack’s home, which is something else that I really liked. And the encounters between Robert and Jack were sexy and sweet and hot!!!
Then I cried at Robert’s despair, at what all he lost because of the war and how he feels alone and stuck inside his shell of a body. I really connected with him on an emotional level and wanted to see him find happiness in all the darkness that his life had become.
Then I was pissed and screaming “What the fuck is wrong you idiots???” The story took a wrong turn that I never saw coming: the back and forth calling it quits, the swingers party, the BDSM dungeon!! WTF? Okay, so it didn’t go exactly like I would have wanted it to, but I forged on. I HAD to know how it would end.
In the end, I should have added a fourth word: happy. I was happy with the story over all. Jack and Robert really were great together and I’m glad they finally agreed on a long term arrangement.
So it appears that this is the first book of a series? Will the next book continue Jack and Robert’s story, or will it move on to someone new? I’m curious to find out.
Overall Impression: I Really Liked It
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*