Philip Dunlop and Dusty Baxtor have been friends since they were in grade school together, despite growing up as different as night and day. Philip is from a traditional family with his strict, military father and his meek, homemaker mother who expect their son to get a good job and marry a woman. Dusty grew up with a free-spirited mother who encouraged her son to find his own path. What began as a childhood friendship progressed as the two matured and became lovers.
Since it is the 1970s, the two have hidden the nature of their relationship from nearly everyone. An Air Force academy graduate and the hippy. Philip’s parents have barely tolerated his friendship with Dusty. Now that Philip has received orders from the military, they begin encouraging him to distance himself from Dusty, who cannot hold a job because of his hippy appearance and ways, by settling down with a woman and getting married. For Dusty, hearing about Philip’s military orders is a wake up call that maybe their relationship has run its course, as the two men have their bonds tested over war and peace.
Though this is just a novella, it manages to pack quite a punch. Set in the turbulent times of the 1970s, this story follows Philip and Dusty’s relationship after Philip graduates from the military academy. Philip’s dream was always to enter into the military; Dusty’s dream was to write songs, which tended to promote peace and love. Growing up together, their relationship went from childhood friends to adult lovers. When Philip graduates from the academy, the nature of their relationship will change forever.
The characters in this book, both main and secondary, really bring this time period alive. Philip has always dreamed of being in the Air Force. When he attended the academy, he refused to allow Dusty to set him free, determined to make both his professional and personal lives work together. Dusty is determined to be who he is. When he loses his job because he didn’t meet the company’s expectations by cutting his hair and adopting the image they wanted him to, he begins to question how his presence will negatively affect Philip’s career.
Philip’s parents are the epitome of traditional values. They’ve tolerated their son’s relationship with Dusty growing up, but now that he is on the brink of stepping into the adult world as a lieutenant with the Air Force, they expect him to begin severing those ties and settling down with a woman and having children. Dusty’s mom, on the other hand, has promoted free-love and allowed her son to be who he wants to be. One of the few people aware of the true relationship between her son and Philip, she offers them support and understanding.
The profoundness of the love between Philip and Dusty is evident in the emotions pouring off the pages when these two are together. Their lovemaking scenes aren’t about sex as much as they are about two people showing their affections for one another. Very sexy!
Overall, this was a great, quick read as readers are transported back to a time where traditional values were being challenged by the ideas of free-love and peace. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a little love in their day.