A dancer who cannot dance and a doctor who cannot heal find in each other the strength to love.
History books will call it The Great War, but for Benjamin Holm, that is a misnomer. The war is a disaster, a calamity, and it leaves Benjamin profoundly wounded, his mind and memory shattered. A year after Armistice, still struggling to regain his mental faculties, he returns to Paris in search of his closest friend, Elias.
Benjamin meets Louis Donadieu, a striking and mysterious dance master. Though Louis is a difficult man to know, he offers to help Benjamin. Together they search the cabarets, salons, and art exhibits in the newly revitalized city on the brink of les années folles (the Crazy Years). Almost despite himself, Benjamin breaches Louis’s defenses, and the two men discover an unexpected passion.
As his memory slowly returns, Benjamin will need every ounce of courage he possesses to recover Elias’s story. He and Louis will need even more than that to lay claim to the love – and the future – they deserve.
This story was out of the ordinary for me but I’m grateful I took a chance on it. I’m still fairly inexperienced with my historical dabbles and I believe this story would have been a struggle for me several years ago. Interesting how our preferences shift and taste changes. On that same note, I would hesitate in saying this story will be for everyone. Why? It is rather slow and ticks along at a leisurely pace. For some, including my former self, this could be frustrating. However, I was intrigued and caught in a dreamy trance, eager to follow along and desperate to soak up the sights along the way. I mean, Paris in 1920? What’s not to love about that!?
I’ll admit that I was slightly confused at first. Which I do believe was rather the point. You see, Benjamin was not only confused but lost. Lost and missing important pieces of the puzzle in his head. There is only one thing that he is certain of, he needs to find Elias. As he wanders the foreign streets of Paris with only a battered photo of his best friend he slowly picks up clues. When his surly neighbor joins him on his search, his heart lifts and his foggy mind starts to clear. Shell shock. Fascinating and yet disheartening how humans react to trauma. Combat doesn’t only destroy bodies but minds as well. And Benjamin’s mind is broken. Things just don’t make sense…until Louis. Louis unlocks something in Benji. Louis did not escape fate’s harsh hand either. But he is a survivor and he’s determined to pull Benji from the clutches of despair threatening to destroy him. I stumbled a bit at the beginning of their story but as soon as the shadows began to clear, I was completely vested in their journey.
First of all, did you see the cover? I was taken aback by the beauty of it. So lovely. Just as these men are. I found myself blissfully content to close my eyes and imagine I was there. The formal dialogue and bits of French slowed my roll even more but elegant attire and charming exchanges made me smile. I’m a Downton Abbey addict and I could easily picture their refined dress. I loved the setting. I loved the neighbors. I loved witnessing the power of love demonstrated here. It was as if Benji had been in a coma and was slowly awakening, coming back to life. And when he was finally free of the barriers holding him back, he discovered who he truly was and who he was always meant to be. A visit home to Vermont brought great clarity to piecing the pieces of Benjamin back together. It’s not often that I share quotes but I think this one is exceptionally insightful…
“I leaned against him, or rather we leaned against each other. I gave him stability, and he gave me strength, and finding this point of balance left me relieved beyond measure.”
*sigh* He’s not lost any longer. This tender tale will take you back in time, remind you of the havoc of war, and fill your heart with hope. And a magnificent epilogue adds a final polish that had me bursting with delight.
If you’re looking for explicit scenes, I’ll save you the trouble…it’s not here. The power of the romance between these two gentlemen lies with a flittering touch and a deep stare. The horrors of war leave scars that aren’t always visible and our young doctor is a prime example of such afflictions. And this quiet journey will gently pull you along as both men find comfort and peace.
Historical fans will most definitely enjoy this and as well as anyone searching for a heartwarming tale confirming how love can bring you back and breathe life back into your soul.
TITLE: Lost & Found
AUTHOR: Liv Rancourt
LENGTH: 265 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 4, 2019
BUY LINKS: Amazon