Title: Unlikely Companions
Author: Harold Mason
Publisher: JMS Books
Length: 86 Pages
At a Glance: I’m not sure I would necessarily consider this the type of romance I expected, but it was a nice little read.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Robert Saddler is drowning in debt, so he decides to join the United States Army. His aim is to experience the world but also make some money to pay off his college debts and get a GI Loan to further his education. After basic training, he’s deployed to Germany, where he joins a unit where his skills as a draftsman are in demand. He also has to serve as driver to First Lieutenant Tony Stryker.
Tony Stryker is not an easy man to get along with. The word in the barracks is that he is a spoiled brat. Their first encounter isn’t auspicious, but once the two men get to know each other better, things improve drastically.
Tony is a career Army man, but Robert eventually wants to go back to San Francisco to study architecture. What will happen to their budding relationship when Robert’s tour of duty ends in eighteen months?
Review: I’ll be honest and say the “romance” aspect of this story didn’t really meet my expectations of a romance, but I can still see why it has been classified as one. If it weren’t for the fact that the reader is informed by Robert that his relationship with Stryker had changed dynamics from friendship into a relationship, I wouldn’t have known, and I’m still not sure of when it happened. There is one small scene of cuddling and a couple hand touches, so the physical intimacy of romance isn’t really present. I do recognize there are different facets to romance, and emotional intimacy is important in a loving relationship, and is a separate manifestation from physical affection. Heck, in some cases there are those that don’t require the physical to have a romantic relationship at all. This story’s focus is on the emotional connection of the two men rather than the physical. Robert and Tony’s romance is conveyed in their conversations over the two years they spend together and the time in each other’s company, discussing a variety of topics and revealing feelings and thoughts they often don’t share with others. From Roberts’s narrative, it’s clear at some point they become physically involved; that aspect is not explored on page, only the emotional connection of the two is portrayed.
I’m straightforward enough to admit I would have liked a tad more of some kissy-kissy action, or at least a specific point I could pinpoint when they became more than friends, but that’s more of a personal preference than anything else. What matters is that I did enjoy Robert and Tony’s friendship development, and the characters were engaging. I can’t say I ever really got invested in the two of them as a couple, perhaps because part of my personal needs involve a combination of emotional and physical expressions.
Since the story takes place in Germany, mostly on military bases, there are plenty of references and information about the Army (which may or may not be accurate, but as I have never served I couldn’t be sure). And their lives revolve around military operations and their positions they hold, so those who enjoy stories involving the military would not be let down. The descriptions of Germany and the landscape as Robert drove Tony around were detailed, and I did appreciate the tidbits and references to Germany’s history.
This was a cute read and, for the most part, I found it entertaining. There not a lot of angst and had two likable protagonists; I just wouldn’t recommend this book to someone who is looking for a book where the romance is portrayed with physical descriptions and explicit on page. Otherwise, this was a nice little story.
You can buy Unlikely Companions here: