For some soldiers, war never ends. Despite having survived Waterloo, Major Oliver Thornley carries with him the scars of survival, but his wealth and privilege have kept from the fate of so many soldiers. Wounded and no longer able to work, veterans have returned home to find themselves forgotten by their country and left to die on the streets. And when Oliver stumbles over a filthy huddled form on the ground, he is stunned to see a face from his past.
Life has not been kind to Corporal Daniel Simpson. His wounds from Waterloo were severe and left him permanently injured and, despite his best efforts, he has been unable to find work. Illness, exhaustion, and starvation leave him destitute and waiting to die. Until Fate brings Oliver Thornley in the form of salvation. The two men were always close and the stress of war bound them closer still. As Oliver nurses Daniel back to health, both are forced to confront the deeper feelings they hold for one another. But when the debts of honor have been paid, will their love be strong enough to build a life?
I usually hate short stories for the very simple reason that they are too short. I prefer a long narrative where the action evolves organically and without the rapidity often inflicted upon the short story medium. So what a wonderful surprise it was to find a short story that was fully developed and naturally paced. Fallen was an excellent tale for fans of Regency era pieces. The author did a good job of giving enough background and historical context to set the scene without getting bogged down in extraneous historical detail. The plot is simple and straight-forward and works because Fallen never tries to be anything more than what it is. This is not some grand drama, but rather the sweet story of two men who need one another more than they realize. Oliver feels more complete than Daniel as a character, but overall both are more than one dimensional, which is no easy feat, given the nature of short stories. Oliver felt a bit obtuse at times about the world around him, but this seemed to mesh with the reality of his life as a wealthy man. The affection they have reads as genuine and while the difficulties between them are rather easily solved, they still feel realistic within the context of the story and age in which Oliver and Daniel are living.
Fallen was short and sweet and well done from beginning to end. The storyline was simple and straightforward and this story had a strong sense of self. The author knew what they wanted to accomplish and did so in excellent fashion. There are no soap opera moments or damsels in distress; just two men helping one another heal from a war that nearly claimed them both. If you’re looking for a quick read that leaves you with a smile on your face, definitely check out Fallen.