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The Boy I Love [Paperback]

Marion Husband
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jun 2005
The story is set in the aftermath of World War One. Paul Harris, still frail after shellshock, returns to his father’s home and to the arms of his secret lover, Adam. He discovers that Margot, the fiancée of his dead brother, is pregnant and marries her through a sense of loyalty. Through Adam he finds work as a schoolteacher; while setting up a home with Margot he continues to see Adam.

Pat Morgan who was a sergeant in Paul’s platoon, runs a butcher’s shop in town and cares for his twin brother, Mick who lost both legs in the war. Pat yearns for the closeness he experienced with Paul in the trenches.

Set in a time when homosexuality was ‘the love that dare not speak it’s name’ the story develops against the backdrop of the strict moral code of the period. Paul has to decide where his loyalty and his heart lies as all the characters search hungrily for the love and security denied them during the war.

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Accent Press Ltd (1 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905170009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905170005
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 803,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Having had a few short stories published, in 2001 I was accepted on to the MA in Creative Writing at Northumbria University, a two-year, part time course that covered both poetry and prose. In 2003 I graduated with a distinction and won the Blackwell Prize for Best Performance. Whilst I was on the course I finished my first novel The Boy I Love, which was published in July 2005 and went on to the top the Independent Publisher chart on Amazon. Since then I have had three more novels published: Paper Moon, (which won the Andrea Badenoch Award) Say You Love Me and The Good Father (which was long-listed for the Impac Prize). In 2003 Mudfog published a collection of my poetry, Service. At the moment I am working on my fifth novel. I also teach writing at Adult Education colleges and have taught on the MA courses for Teesside, Northumbria and Newcastle universities - teaching writing to students of all abilities and trying to draw out the best in their writing. I am often asked to read my work in venues throughout the country.

The previous paragraph reads as though my writing has always met with success, but of course before those 'few short stories' were published I struggled for many years - writing and destroying a couple of novels, discarding still more after a few pages, sending other novels off to agents and publishers with a great deal of hope and finger-crossing (and other magical thinking). Rejections followed; I'd write some more, give up, cry, start again, cry, start again. To be a published writer demands persistence and I would say a thick skin, but I'm not sure I have one of those, more an ability to get over the disappointments and convince myself that rejections aren't meant personally, however much they hurt. My consolation was (and is - as rejections remain part of my life) that I tried my best, and wrote what I wanted to write about in my own way. I write about relationships, mainly those between brothers and fathers and sons; I write a lot about sexual relationships, too: jealousies and obsessions, adultery and promiscuity. I'm very interested in war, and how men returning from war are treated and how they attempt to fit back into civilian life.

I live near Middlesbough in north east England, am 48, married (since 1985) with two children - Kay, aged 24, and Greg, 23. There's a bit about me on the web if you google my name, including a few reviews of my novels.

Product Description


"Compelling and sensual. Well written…" -- PENNY SUMMER

Beautifully written -- Gay Times

Beautifully written. The characters' lives are seamlessly woven together and all have considerable depth and complexity. -- Gay Times, September 2005

Impressive -- The Guardian

Vivid & accomplished debut: Marion Husband explores the morality of wartime Britain with intelligent & compassionate insight -- Debbie Taylor, Editor, Mslexia

About the Author

Marion Husband is a compassionate and compelling writer exploring the complexities of human nature with great empathy. Her debut novel The Boy I Love,the first in the three part The Boy I Love Trilogy, won the Andrea Badenoch Fiction Award and The Blackwell Prize. Her other novels include The Good Father and Say You Love Me. She is married with two grown-up children and teaches creative writing. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Hiding in Adam's pantry, Paul remembered how he was once forced to eat marmalade at school, a whole pot of marmalade, Jenkins twisting his arms up his back as Nichols held his nose and clattered the spoon past his teeth. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping - something for everyone 10 Mar 2006
By A Customer
Set in the socially tempestuous aftermath of World War I, and full of early twentieth-century taboos, love and betrayal, Marion Husband's award-winning debut novel is a passionately written and thought-provoking affair. Protagonist Paul Harris, a homosexual soldier fated to marry the fiancée of his dead brother through loyalty, is a deeply tender character drifting into a world he cannot love.
Forced to hide his true desires for his sometime lover and former sergeant, Adam, now a butcher, the difficulties that one can only imagine were faced in the post war period by ex-soldiers are laid out sensitively. By no means a 'fully wronged' man, Paul, like the other characters, has his emotional and physical frailties, and rather than force any one point of view on her reader, Marion Husband calmly portrays a balanced narrative allowing the readers to make up their own minds.
Through the vivid flashbacks the author highlights the contrasts between events lived and living, and in the sweat, tears and anger of war the same passions rumble with a whole different form of expression. Allowing the characters to develop in effortless prose with a series of graphic sex scenes and realistic dialect, 'the love that dare not speak its name' is explored with true feeling and passionate lust.
What really struck me about this novel was the difficulty I found in putting it down, as I was gripped by its intricate romantic plotline and compact cast of memorable and contrasting characters. Complicated issues are tackled with great sensitivity while the storyline bounds along at a pace, and whether it is reflecting on the moral quandary of society's prejudice only a few generations ago, or indulging in classic romance, there is something here for everyone.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Boy I love 22 April 2006
WOW! This is the only word that comes to mind. If you are looking for FANTASTIC then this is the book for you. Never having written or wanting to write a review I felt compeled to let other people know what a gem this book is. I have just finished the sequel and it is just as good.(If not better). Others have written what to expect so I won't say it again but the story flows like smooth silk sheets. Even the graphic accounts of war are handled with grace, as are the love, duty and honour. Paul, Patrick, Mick, Margot and even Adam will remain with me forever. Especially Paul and Pat.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put this down. 1 July 2011
By Rosie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just loved this book. Once I started it I couldn't put it down. I felt that it realistically portrayed how hard life must have been for gay people living in this time. I found all the characters three dimensional and felt that the writer wrote them all with compassion. I couldn't help but be drawn into their world.

There were no bad guys here for me. It was a complicated story and I couldn't guess how it would end. I felt so much for Paul who was trying so hard to do the right thing and grew to love the character of Patrick. I so wanted every one of them to be happy in the end, but the book was just too realistic for that.

All in all, Marion Husband created a world I didn't want to leave. So I was very glad when I found out that these characters also appear in Marion's 'Paper Moon' and I went on to read that. I loved finding out what had happened to them down the years.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book clubs will love this novel 22 Sep 2005
The Boy I Love is set in Engalnd just after the First World War, and though love and battle may be popular subjects, this writer seeks to probe beyond the 'normal' and the 'ordinary' - as do her characters.
This is the kind of novel that books clubs, and anyone who likes a good story, will love. It is accessible, easy to read and a page turner, but as well as that it raises questions. This is a book about complex desires and needs, set in a time that does not accept relationships that are anything other than the norm. Complicated issues are tackled with great sensitivity and insight in what turns out to be a romance with a difference.
Winner of the Andrea Badenoch Award for Fiction and the Blackwell Prize, Marion Husband has written a thought-provoking story full of memorable images and descriptions that explore the ever-current difficulties of unaccepted love. Thoroughly recommended!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely enjoyable read 21 Sep 2005
Having previously read Pat Barkers 'Regeneration Trilogy', 'Strange Meeting' by Susan Hill and 'In the Absence of Men' by Phillipe Besson and thoroughly enjoyed all, I ordered this book with great expectations. I was not disappointed.
I could not put this book down as once the character of Patrick was introduced, I felt myself wishing him to 'succeed'. The flashbacks to the time in the trenches was vivid and graphic, as it should be for a novel of WW1, but at the same time allowed the development of the characters and their past interactions to be explained.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has read and been captivated by the novels of Pat Barker, Susan Hill, or anyone who just wants a captivating read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this. 20 Nov 2013
By Jodi
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I downloaded this book on a recommendation and having read the reviews, was not sure what to expect. I can only assume I read a different book to some reviewers because this is a wonderful story. I loved it.

Sharply drawn and sympathetic characters and a masterly portrayal of dreary post-war England contribute to a gripping storyline that imperceptibly gains momentum and is almost impossible to put down.

I am so looking forward to reading the others in the series.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual and gripping love story
The Boy I Love is an excellent start to a trilogy of stories set in the aftermath of the First World War. Read more
Published 2 months ago by David Lowther
1.0 out of 5 stars the boy I love
This book was Rubbish I ejected it from my Kindle. It was just sordid sex between men. No decent Storyline.
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Confused
Didn't know which one to feel sorry for they were all confused and sad men which made the book hard to understand
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. J. M. Whitelock
5.0 out of 5 stars I love a good saga
I love sagas which is what tempted me to buy this, I wasn't disappointed, I would recommend it to anyone.
Published 7 months ago by M. Dyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable!
I absolutely loved this book. Found it utterly unputdownable very character driven narrative, with a great tone and pace. Read more
Published 7 months ago by localfreak
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
Husband's laconic prose cuts to the heart of post-Great War England, exposing the class tensions, the prejudices and guilt of those who had survived a cataclysm. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
I enjoyed this book a lot and would have no hesitation in recommending it. The story is not what you would expect especially the ending.
Published 8 months ago by roz
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story
Once I started to read this book I just couldn't put it down, I absolutely love this book.
Beautiful, heart felt story that was beautifully written. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kira Phoenix
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a love story - this book gives much insight of the time.
The structure of the book is not the more usual linear story telling. However, it only took me ten pages or so before the structure became familiar and as I was reading it, the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr. T. A. Ismail
2.0 out of 5 stars WEAK
Sadly I found this book boring and not interesting enough for me. I became bored and my kindle actually turned itself off between pages - I was daydreaming more than reading.
Published 9 months ago by BDH
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