The Great War is over. Jack Townsend, no longer a hospital orderly, is back at work in his photographer’s shop in Lewisham. But there is no peace yet; his blackmailer is still in business, and Celia Vavasour seems determined to manage his life. All his life; even his love-life ...
Meanwhile in Sussex, David Lewry, former army officer, is still holding off from a closer relationship with Alan Kershaw, once in the Navy and now the village’s GP. Lew knows how much Alan wants him, but this last step is one he cannot take - not yet, unless something changes ...
What a lovely surprise to find a sequel to one of my favorite reads of 2016. When you find a book with characters that you just don't want to let go of, it's a treasure and that was what Across Your Dreams was for me. So even as a novella, getting to see the fates of Jack, David, and Alan was something I truly enjoyed. I still hated to let go of the boys when the last page opened but at least their future was more set for me.
With Break of Another Day, the war is over but the author shows us that just because the battle is done, the effects left on that generation didn't just disappear. Jack's tale holds more of the story than David and Alan in this sequel which I appreciated greatly because in the first book he was more of a secondary character but I felt him to be a bit more complex than what we were initially seeing.
This is a lovely addition to my historical shelf and if you haven't read Across Your Dreams yet, I highly recommend both of these beautiful tales. Personally, I would recommend these Jay Lewis Taylor stories even if you are not a history reader because the journey these characters take is complex but very heartwarming and truth is, they made me appreciate my journey in life even more.
He was huddled on the studio side of the partition, trying to cough up whatever clogged his throat and lungs. Let it be a bad day in the shop. Please, let it be a bad day in the shop. Jack’s mouth twisted. When else have I prayed for a bad day?
The shop door opened with a clang of the bell as a customer stepped on the mat. Reluctantly, Jack hauled himself, hand over hand on a mock garden trellis, to a standing position. His chest hurt, and the dreadful half-breathing, half-coughing paroxysm threatened to come on again as he walked round the screen.
“Good aftern – oh.” Jack pulled himself together. I don’t have to call him ‘sir’ any more. “Good afternoon, Doctor Kershaw.” He noted, dispassionately, that his hands were shaking.
“Mr Townsend.” The cool voice sharpened a little. “You’re ill.”
“Unfit for service. Grade 3. Remember? Asthma. You never asked about it. At the time.” Jack leaned on the counter, snatched in a breath, and said, “What can I do for you?”
Kershaw hung up his hat, and set down a package that he was holding. “We’ll talk business later. Has your doctor given you nothing for that?” He pulled off his gloves and took Jack’s pulse.
“Can’t afford the doctor. It’ll pass. Not – not usually this bad.” He looked up as the warm touch left his wrist. “What are you doing?”
“Closing the shop,” Kershaw said, shutting the door and turning the Open sign to Closed. “You’re not fit to be up, and I can see you’ve a black eye too.”
Jack pushed himself away from the counter. “I have a living to make. You leave my shop alone.”
“You need to be alive to make it,” Kershaw said. “Where’s the nearest pharmacy?” He picked up a chair. “Sit down.”
“I can’t – “
“Sit down. Pharmacy.” Kershaw nudged the chair hard against Jack’s knees, and perforce he sat down.
“Hospital. Turn right. Six minutes’ walk. I can’t afford it.”
“Never mind that for now.” Kershaw was gone.
Gritting his teeth, Jack got to his feet, took an uncertain step forward, and then let his shoulders sag. Why are the virtuous always so bloody right?
Across Your Dreams #1
“I hope we’ll meet again on the other side of fear, but should this damn war choose otherwise then all we can do is bear it …“
Lew and Russ, Grant and Alan have been caught up in the Great War, which governs their coming together and their moving apart; which has sucked them into the machine and seems reluctant to spit them out. When at last the Armistice comes, three out of the four survive; but how many will survive the peace?
Original Review November 2016:
This is the first time I have read Jay Lewis Taylor but it won't be the last. I loved the way two separate storylines, two individual stories of love converge into one. You have Alan and Grant who's story quickly turns from happy to heartbreak and then you have Lew and Russ who also does not remain cheery for long but seems more hopeful until it no longer does. There are secondary characters that blend the stories together, sometimes you aren't sure whether to trust those characters but they are no less important to the overall canvas of the tale. I truly loved the detail to the time frame as well as how the characters continued to develop throughout the entire book, that doesn't always happen but as the war progresses and the Armistice is signed, we see them continue on to face life after war. A true blend of war, love, drama showing that sometimes no amount of planning can replace just living. A really great addition to my historical shelf.
Despite having spent most of my life in Surrey and Oxfordshire, I now live in Somerset, within an hour’s drive of the villages where two of my great-great-great-grandparents were born. Although I work as a rare-books librarian in an abstruse area of medical history, I am in fact a thwarted medievalist with a strong arts background.
I have been writing fiction for over thirty years, exploring the lives of people who are on the margins in one way or another, and how the power of love and language can break down the walls that we build round ourselves.
Break of Another Day #2
Across Your Dreams #1