Seventeen stories, thirteen authors, a second war. Once again Manifold Press's writers explore the lives of LGBTQ+ people and their war-time experience in cities, towns and countryside across the world. Amidst war and peace, in the thick of violence or in an unexpected lull, these stories of the Second World War take the reader far and wide, from loss and parting to love and homecoming.
Please note: All proceeds will be donated to the British Refugee Council (Registered Charity No. 1014576).
An Affirming Flame
Jay Lewis Taylor
Berlin, July 1939. In the hot weather Patrick Lawson, music student and English tutor, has managed to ignore signs that all may not be well for at least one of his friends. It takes a piano in the wrong house, and then a missed train, to push him nearer to the truth than he might like.
In the early days of the Second World War, every man and woman is expected to serve their country, but sometimes the most unexpected people are called upon to fulfil extraordinary duties.
The Boy Left Behind
Henry is used to people staring at her, with her men’s clothes and her peculiar ways. She and her girlfriend Rosie have stopped paying attention to the gossip and built a cosy home together. But when evacuation drops ten-year-old Tom into their life, Henry can only hope that he’ll accept her as she is.
The Man Who Loved Pigs
When MI5 wireless operator Mike Bernsey meets a stranger in the London Blitz, it feels like something special. Eddy’s unforgettable. But for Mike, there’s no love without betrayal.
We Live Without a Future
With their home in London destroyed in the Blitz, Leonard and Virginia Woolf find what peace they can in a village near the Sussex coast. But with German and British planes grinding overhead, and the looming threat of a Nazi invasion, there is never enough peace to be had. There is never enough.
A Life to Live
Scarred in body and mind after being rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk, Thomas Wilson believes there's nothing left for him but to live out his life as the last human occupant of the Isle of Kinnon. Then he finds a near-drowned German pilot on the shore and, saving his enemy, also saves something that he had thought was lost forever.
The Town of Titipu
POW theatricals, with proper professional costumes! Casting Freddie’s friend Bob as the heroine brings unexpected insight into Bob’s character – he enjoys dressing as a woman, and has limited opportunities in Germany in wartime – which causes Freddie to ponder his own feelings for fellow-captive Frank, and the prisons of conventionality men sometimes forge for themselves.
A Cup of Tea
A flood in the High Street brings soldiers to Robin’s town and leads to an unexpectedly adult conversation.
In the darkness of the blackout, two young women meet to steal a few moments of peace in the shadow of the last war. But when day breaks, Bridget must return to her work as a telegraph messenger, while Iris nurses the wounded who have made it home. Unfortunately, as often as not, it’s bad news they have to deliver - and sometimes, it’s personal.
Jay Lewis Taylor
HMS Alceste is in Liverpool for a refit, and Able Seaman 'Smudge' Smith is volunteered for a part in the ship's chaplain's idea of rest and recreation. As the star of the show he finds himself the subject of an embarrassing wager, but even that is easier to deal with than overhearing staged romance become real passion behind the scenes.
Carlos has returned to Manaus in the hope that he can hold the conversation with his mentor, Dr Fernandes, which he ran away from initiating four years ago.
From Air to There
Paratrooper Puppet crash-lands onto a pigsty in occupied territory. Injured, alone and devastated by the loss of his friends, little does he know that his fate lies in the hands, and the endearing tenacity, of a young French farmhand called Henri.
We're Out of Hero Fabric
Camil, on the outskirts of society since a childhood accident left him with impaired hearing, sees no reason to change when the war reaches Romania. Then one friend, Sebastian, has to flee the country, and another, Apostol, feels it his duty to answer the call to arms. With the Soviets closing in, and Apostol on the Eastern front, Camil decides to take a hand in events, come what may.
Enjoying a last swim before transferring out, Ingolf meets a naked man, and a moment of anonymous tenderness ensues. It isn’t safe to learn anything about each other, just to take their quiet pleasure and part, but the wish that it might be otherwise will continue to haunt them both long afterwards.
Across a Thousand Miles
In a Chinese city, under the cover of darkness, unexpected visitors arrive. When Hsü Bao receives a beautiful gift from one of these men, he wastes no time showing it to Ch’en Guanyu. The boys have a mutual admiration for the work of art, and soon discover they have a mutual admiration for each other. However, when the true reason for the men’s visit comes to light, the gift takes on an entirely different meaning, and the boys’ lives take a drastic turn in a world being torn asunder.
Henny lost her lover, Anna, during the war. Now, in post-war Berlin, as she joins other women rebuilding their shattered city from its ash-grey ruins, she recalls happier times – and finds new hope in a younger woman, Ruth.
Better to Die
Jamie is fascinated by one of the soldiers buried in his local churchyard, and the more he finds out about Captain Gore-Davis the more he realises how closely their lives are linked.
"another strong, poignant, well researched and edited anthology from Manifold Press, this time set amidst and around WWII. It follows on the back of their equally good WWI anthology, A Pride of Poppies. "
Length: 94,500 words/366 pages