Book Reviews

Lost and Found by Liv Rancourt

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Historical / 20th Century / Doctors/Nurses/EMTs/Vets / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 02-December-2019

Book Blurb

A dancer who cannot dance and a doctor who cannot heal find in each other the strength to love.

History books will call it The Great War, but for Benjamin Holm, that is a misnomer. The war is a disaster, a calamity, and it leaves Benjamin profoundly wounded, his mind and memory shattered. A year after Armistice, still struggling to regain his mental faculties, he returns to Paris in search of his closest friend, Elias.

Benjamin meets Louis Donadieu, a striking and mysterious dance master. Though Louis is a difficult man to know, he offers to help Benjamin. Together they search the cabarets, salons, and art exhibits in the newly revitalized city on the brink of les années folles (the Crazy Years). Almost despite himself, Benjamin breaches Louis’s defenses, and the two men discover an unexpected passion.

As his memory slowly returns, Benjamin will need every ounce of courage he possesses to recover Elias’s story. He and Louis will need even more than that to lay claim to the love – and the future – they deserve.

Book Review

“Now and again there occur alterations of the 'emotional' and the 'apparently normal' personalities, the return of the former often heralded by severe headache, dizziness or by a hysterical convulsion. On its return, the 'apparently normal' personality may recall, as in a dream, the distressing experiences revived during the temporary intrusion of the 'emotional' personality.” ~ Charles S. Myers, Shell Shock in France, 1914-1918: Based on a War Diary

After a lengthy stay in a military hospital, Benjamin Holm comes home from WWI a broken man. His experiences as a doctor in the military hospitals have debilitated him to the point that he can’t function. He wasn’t wounded in the usual sense of the word - he didn’t lose an arm or a leg. He lost his memories and his will to live. One thought keeps him going. He needs to find his best friend, Elias.

When Benjamin feels better, he decides to go to Paris where he and Elias promised to meet after the war was over. He has no idea where to start looking. In the beginning, he shows Elias’s picture to everyone he meets, to no avail. He starts visiting the same café every day, hoping he will find someone who has seen Elias. At first, Richard, the man who waits on him, is reserved but, as time goes by, Richard begins to feel sympathy for Benjamin’s plight and starts offering advice about places to go and people to talk to. Benjamin’s landlady sees his despair and takes pity on him. Trying to think of ways to help him, she suggests that his neighbor, Louis Donadieu, knows a lot of people and may be willing to help Benjamin search for his friend. Considering what he has seen of Louis, he’s not so certain.

Louis doesn’t have Benjamin’s wartime experience, but he has life-changing experiences of his own. He contracted polio when he was a young adult. Besides the physical challenges he continues to face, it ended his hopes and dreams of becoming a famous ballet dancer. Since his illness, Louis has not been able to dance. Fortunately he can get around well enough to teach ballet; although it pales in comparison to what he hoped to accomplish, but it does give him an opportunity to help a child do what he was not. Louis agrees to help Benjamin find Elias, although he questions why Benjamin needs to find someone who is only a friend. As they continue their search, Louis and Benjamin’s relationship develops into something neither one of them are able to define. They dance around their feelings until they finally become intimate. Louis is dismayed and hurt by Benjamin’s violent reaction and ultimate rejection. Yet, at the same time, Benjamin can’t get the idea out of his mind that he has done this before, but simply can’t remember.

This historical romance is one of the most unusual ones I’ve ever read. Since Benjamin, who has amnesia, is telling the story, it is often times quite confusing and hard to follow. I know this story is supposed to take place in the 1920s but even for that time, Benjamin was very formal, even in his thoughts to himself. This made it hard for me to connect with him. The descriptions of Paris and its culture were brilliant and informative. I don’t speak French so I was a bit lost at times. Although it took a while for Benjamin to realize what was important in his life, I am thankful that he finally did so and made the decisions he did to do what made him happy. Thanks, Liv, for giving Benjamin and Louis their hard-earned happy ending.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 265 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 04-October-2019
Price $4.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Buy Link