FLOWER OF IOWA
Lance Ringel's Flower of Iowa is a sprawling tale of battle and romance during the First World War, the four years that tore Europe in half and hastened the end of an era. In the tradition of stirring historical novels, this grand epic showcases courage, the resilience of the human spirit, and the transformative power of love. Flower of Iowa recalls Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms if that celebrated tale of love during wartime had featured two men at the bruised heart of the story.
The novel is set against the turbulent backdrop of France during the final months of World War I. Naïve, idealistic American soldier Tommy Flowers, a small-town boy from the Midwest, struggles to become a good soldier in the trenches. He draws the attention of Nicole Lacroix, a free-spirited French barmaid, but soon finds himself in a rivalry for her affections with his brash Australian lieutenant, Jamie Colbeck. At the same time, however, Tommy becomes best pals with savvy young British soldier David Pearson. The friendship soon develops an unexpected intimacy. Baffled by their feelings, but committed to exploring them further, Tommy and David do everything to spend time together, even after David is wounded and sent home to England to convalesce.
Flower of Iowa is meticulously researched, documenting the pivotal battles of 1918, life at the front lines, and the everyday challenges and tragedies facing the soldiers of the Great War. Author Lance Ringel has created an instant classic, deeply compelling and authentic, recalling a fraught time when love between two men was territory as perilous and uncharted as No Man's Land.
The many dramatized readings of Flower of Iowa worldwide have included the Stonewall National Museum & Archives in Fort Lauderdale, the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco, and the Centre LGBT Paris-Îdf during the Gay Games in the French capital. In addition, an excerpt from the novel in play form achieved the Finals of the New York New Works Theatre Festival.
Flower of Iowa was named a Gold Winner in the Fiction: Romance category and a Silver Winner in the LGBTQ+ category of the 2021 Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Awards™. Flower of Iowa was named a Finalist for the 33rd Lambda Literary Awards in the Gay Romance category, and a Finalist for the Foreword Reviews 2020 Indies Book of the Year Award in the War & Military category.
When a reading opened the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival in Ireland, a reviewer wrote, "Esteemed American author Lance Ringel and Chuck Muckle, his partner of 40 years, read and performed extracts from his WWI novel Flower of Iowa, a love story between a US and British soldier in the trenches of WWI. Beautifully told, with Chuck’s fine tenor voice singing out the songs that lifted the wartime spirits of the time from the piano, adding that human touch to harsh times where human emotion can still flourish albeit in restrained and secretive times. The capacity attendance had a real treat for the afternoon and a whistle-stop tour of LGBT culture that awakens its own commemoration of the war to end all wars."
2021 Gold Winner IBPA Fiction: Romance
2021 Silver Winner IBPA LGBTQ+ Category
2020/21 Awards Finalist
A truly wonderful WW1 novel. A gay romance, but not sappy or silly. So truthful and touching.
Writer, Actor, Comedian
Ringel packs a remarkable amount of flavor and detail into this debut work. ... Accomplished, touching historical fiction.
Kirkus Book Reviews
Flower of Iowa by Lance Ringel, based on his novel, introduced us to two soldiers in France during World War One, one British and one American, who spend a night together that blossoms from friendship into what presumably will become a gay relationship. The dialogue was honest and real. The two young actors, Ben Salus and Bradley Johnson, are both very touching under the subtle and tasteful direction of Chuck Muckle.
Jeffery Lyle Segal, Times Square Chronicles
2018 Finalist (Play Adaptation)