Reviewed by Dan
TITLE: A Bell for Andy
AUTHOR: G. L. Roberts
PUBLISHER: Seventh Window Publications
LENGTH: 173 Pages
Three men haunted by the same dreams discover that they also share a past that determines their fate, a love that rules their lives, and a curse that must be broken.
Can I say I just love this volunteer reviewer gig! It allows me to read books like “A Bell for Andy” that I might never have found on my own. And trust me, I would not have wanted to miss this one.
I had no idea, when picking this book off our list of available books, what the book was even about. I mean seriously, that is one of the scantest blurbs I’ve ever read! Now to see if I can review it without giving too many spoilers…because truthfully I just want to rave about the whole thing!
This book is primarily the story of nine gay Irishmen and three very different times and stories, all interwoven into each other and masterfully told so that the story flows as one.
The first three men we meet are growing up, living and working in Boston, Massachusetts from the 1960’s through the mid-1990’s. Their names are Brian Gallagher, Patrick Andrew McGrath and Mark Connor. Brian and Andy have been friends since grade school in Boston, and once almost took it to the next level, but backed off. Over the years their friendship has waned. At the same time, Andy has also been friends with Mark, and even dated him for a while. When Brian hears Andy has been hurt badly and is in the hospital he rushes to his side, where he meets Dr. Mark Connor. Something is odd though, because he could swear he knows him from somewhere. Brian and Andy have always shared the same odd dreams. What happens when Brian finds out that Mark has also had them?
The next three gentlemen we meet are soldiers in the American Civil War, at the last battle of the South near Columbus, Georgia. They are Private Brian McCarty of the Union Army, Captain Mark Weller of the Union Army, and Andrew Donnelly a double agent spy for both sides in the war. During the course of the battle Private McCarty and Captain Weller share a foxhole and fall into forbidden sexual territory. They hope to continue their hurried passion after the war, but things happen the last day of the battle which might change their futures forever. Andrew Donnelly is across the river with Jefferson Davis…or is he?
The third trio we meet at a Franciscan Abbey in the very early 1500’s in County Clare in Ireland. These three men are Briain, Second Son of the King of Munster, Marcus, Second Son of the Earl of Oriel, and Ahndru of Clare, only son of Clar of Clare a gypsy woman. As was common at the time, Second Sons were given to the church, took their vows of celibacy and lived out their lives never knowing the comfort of another human’s touch. Briain and Marcus though have been enjoying “relations”, even though Marcus is already a Monk and breaking his vow of celibacy. They come up with a plan to escape the Abbey, and escape the wrath of Briain’s father the King. But events don’t always go as planned.
Throughout the book there is an underlying mystery. Something that haunts all nine of these Irishmen in one way or another. What is the underlying story? You will have to read the book to find out. I will give a couple teaser hints, there is a lot of paranormal activity, a despondent ghost, and one strange old gypsy woman (who might also be a ghost), running through this book. If you are into ghosts and mysteries spanning 500 plus years, give the book a try!
I loved this book, and highly recommend it. I’ll finish by telling you to make sure you have time to finish the book once you start it! This is the second book I finished today. I finished one early this afternoon, and after writing my review on that one, I thought what the heck I’ll start this one. It is now almost midnight and I’m sitting here writing a review on it. I couldn’t put it down!
One content warning, the book does reference suicide quickly in several spots.