Erryn reviews ‘Wilde Love’ (A Forever Wilde Novel) by Lucy Lennox. The ebook was published May 3, 2019, 275 pages. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I have read every book in the series and have been waiting with bated breath for Doc and Granpa’s story.
Weston “Major” Marian:
After running away at the age of seventeen, I found a home in the Army. It wasn’t long before my fellow soldiers became family, giving purpose to my time in Vietnam.
But everything changes when Doc Wilde joins my medevac crew. A night alone in the jungle after a helicopter crash forces us to rely on each other for survival, the secrets we share cementing a bond between us deeper than any I’ve ever known.
Doc begins to play a starring role in my late night fantasies even though he can never be anything more than a friend, a brother-in-arms. He’s straight, with family back in Texas, and I could kiss my career goodbye if anyone in the Army discovered my secret.
When our tours finally end, and we go our separate ways, Doc heads home to his perfect family while I continue to serve. I thought that was the end of our story. Turns out I was wrong.
Liam “Doc” Wilde:
When I wind up on the front lines in Vietnam young and afraid, it’s Major Marian who comes to my rescue. He’s tough, brave, and quiet, and he vows to keep me safe. He’s the only reason I make it home alive.
For some, a friendship like ours might have ended once we left the jungle behind, but life without Major Marian isn’t an option. Over time, our connection continues to grow. It’s no surprise when, years later, an unexpected illness turns my life upside down, he’s the first person I turn to for help. And, as always, he drops everything to rescue me.
I soon realize that at every step of my life, Major has been there, by my side, putting me first. All this time he’s been standing in the sidelines, waiting patiently to hand over his heart into my safekeeping.
Even though I never imagined building a future with another man, seeing Major in this new light is a revelation. And suddenly I can’t imagine my life any other way.
Miss Lucy Lennox, what are you doing to me?!? I swore when I began reading ‘Wilde Love’ that I was NOT going to cry. I think I was being delusional. Why did I think this time would be different? Because your books are always full with emotion. Raw and, oddly joyous.
This is a hard review to write. Normally when I read a book I’ve got many notes and bookmarks to remind me of moments where I was touched or laughed or cried. I have several of those for this book to be sure, but they are far fewer. I think that’s because I was pulled so deep into the story that I couldn’t read it fast enough and making notes came second to finding out what happened next. Since I’ve read all the Wilde books (as well as all the Marian books), I knew the story would have a happy ending. And it did. As I sit writing this I’m tearing up again because the book made me so happy.
And laughter. Always laughter.
The story starts with Liam ‘Doc’ Wilde meeting Weston ‘Major’ Marian in Vietnam. I admit I don’t know as much about this war as I should. I taped the Ken Burns documentary series and haven’t had the guts to watch it. Both his Civil War and WWII docs were amazing but they took a lot out of me (especially WWII because my grandfather and his brother fought and returned and my great uncle on the other side of the family died over there). But those are wars that were generations ago. Vietnam was forty years ago but for many readers that is either their generation or one removed. For many Americans, there are still lingering effects of the war. And now a whole new generation has been affected by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. America was forged in violence and unfortunately many generations have seen war affect them. I’m in Canada and we were more known for being a refuge for Vietnam draft dodgers than being involved in the war. We did send our men and women to fight in Afghanistan so many of us have that connection.
Basically, war sucks. Or, as Doc recalls later, “My sleep was full of these man-boys calling for their mothers. Rarely did they call out for their young wives. And only once did a soldier call out for another man. He called out for me.”
I love that this book doesn’t discuss the morality of the war. It was clear Doc and Major were in Vietnam because they had to be, but neither was blood-thirsty. Their goal was to survive and to keep the men around them safe. A challenge to be sure as the number of soldiers who didn’t return home was steep and survival was never guaranteed. Later in the book, after a particularly disturbing confrontation with some men who hadn’t fought, Doc said, “It was the first experience I had with keeping my Vietnam stories buckled up tight”. And that was how many men coped – by never speaking of their experience.
Despite a harrowing incident where the men nearly died but, in the end, saved each other, they both survived Vietnam and made it home. Doc had a wife and children to return to while Major had the army. He was a lifer and never considered anything else. Their lives started in different directions but soon they intersected again and this time they became permanently intertwined. When tragedy strikes Doc, it’s Major who is there to help the family move forward, heavy-hearted for certain, but tough Texan stock who had the land demanding to be tended.
Interestingly, Doc believes its Major who keeps saving the day without realizing friendship goes both ways and Major having a soft landing after being in the army for twenty years was a gift in of itself. When they finally do come together as a couple, it’s not easy going. Life in Texas is tough at the best of time, but being a gay couple in the late 1970s? Well, Hobie’s a special town that the men were eventually accepted and they found true happiness together. Their love through all the previous books was always clear and heart-warming. Often they’d step in with well-times advice such as when Granpa gave advice to Lior, a king his grandson Felix loved. It’s a scene that has stuck with me.
Major’s transition to Granpa was gradual as his and Doc’s children became parents themselves. This is a long book but it could’ve been so much longer if each family member’s story had been told, even briefly. I loved when the whole family came together at the end and I was able to get little glances of the grandchildren and where they are now. I think I was even happier to see there’s at least one more book coming.
There was also a reunion long in the making and I’d almost forgotten about it until it finally happened. More tears. More happy tears.
I’ll warn you about the epilogue – it’s not necessary to have read all the other books, but it sure helps. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of happy people reveling in a beautiful day. Although, as Granpa says to Doc, “Babe, Stevie in drag is like a bisexual’s wet dream.” Enough to whet your appetite without giving away too much, right? And Stevie isn’t even related to a Wilde or a Marian.
Can I say enough good things about this book? I could go on and on about how much it affected me emotionally, but I’d prefer you read the book yourself and hopefully enjoy it as much as I did.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Lucy Lennox is finally putting good use to that English Lit degree earned way back in the 1900s.
She enjoys naps, pizza, and procrastinating. She has some snarky kids and is married to someone who is better at math than romance but who makes her laugh every single day and is the best dancer in the history of ever.
She stays up way too late each night reading M/M romance because that stuff is hot.