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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lessons In Temptation by Charlie Cochrane

Lessons In Temptation by Charlie Cochrane
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical, Mystery
Length: Short (122 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Cactus

He thinks he has everything. Until someone tries to steal it.

Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Book

For friends and lovers Orlando Coppersmith and Jonty Stewart, a visit to Bath starts out full of promise. While Orlando assesses the value of some old manuscripts, Jonty plans to finish his book of sonnets. Nothing exciting…until they are asked to investigate the mysterious death of a prostitute.

Then Orlando discovers that the famous curse of Macbeth extends far beyond the stage. It’s bad enough that Jonty gets drawn into a local theatre’s rehearsals of the play. The producer is none other than Jimmy Harding, a friend from Jonty’s university days who clearly finds his old pal irresistible. Worse, Jimmy makes sure Orlando knows it, posing the greatest threat so far to their happiness.

With Jonty involved in the play, Orlando must do his sleuthing alone. Meanwhile, Jonty finds himself sorely tempted by Jimmy’s undeniable allure. Even if Orlando solves the murder, his only reward could be burying his and Jonty’s love in an early grave…

Warning: Contains sensual m/m lovemaking and men taking hot baths.

When Jonty meets the director of a local play, his devotion to Orlando is sorely tested. In the fifth book of the wonderful Cambridge Fellows series, beloved characters Orlando and Jonty not only have a new mystery to sink their teeth into but a surprise suitor for Jonty tests the fidelity of their union. Jonty and Orlando must work together to find the answer to the murder while their relationship must stand the test of unwilling attraction. For those readers new to the series, this is a great opener and can be read alone but the characters and series is more fully enjoyed if read in order.

If any readers haven’t been reading this series, I have to first ask – why not? This is a fabulous series with wonderful characters and filled with charm, wit, and humor. The historical setting is steeped in texture and complexity but not overwhelming so readers who may not be fans of historical romance won’t be turned off. This particular offering once again follows the theme of combing romance and mystery while progressing the characters and their relationship in a rich setting. The characters of Orlando and Jonty are further developed, but less so in comparison to previous books in the series, where here the focus is on Jonty and his surprising temptation. The depth of this temptation is likely to have a variety of reader reactions. Although infidelity is such a hot button in romance, this story manages to show the difficult actions and choices when confronted with a strong attraction while maintaining the integrity of the primarily relationship.

In particular the difficulty Jonty experiences emotionally and physically shines in the majority of the book. The complications this causes in his life and furthermore his relationship to Orlando brings more maturity to Jonty. This depiction is honest and direct without giving in to an all too easy resolution. Although not to worry, romance fans won’t be disappointed with the final happy ending. If anything, this temptation almost overshadows the mystery portion of the book. The mystery is an old murder that Orlando and Jonty are asked to solve. The detective portion is largely done individually and rare are the two men together. Instead they interview various witnesses and compare notes, which works ok for the story but I personally think when the men work together the mystery aspects are more interesting and dynamic. The final culprit could be any of a number of possible suspects but the answer shouldn’t be a big surprise.

Once again the charm and humor in the writing and prose deliver an often unexpected but delightful story that may not have a fast pace but is impossible to put down. The warmth and affection between the two men never ceases to be enjoyable as the small details and shows of regard are typical of men but undeniably sweet. Although I can’t say for sure if the details are entirely accurate, I would be surprised if they were shown false and the time period is brought to life with a texture that adds to the story. As always there is almost an unending wealth of possibilities for these two loveable characters and I can only hope the author doesn’t choose to cut their journey short any time soon. For new and established fans, this offering is the perfect treat.

1 comment:

Charlie Cochrane said...

Thanks for the great review.

There are two more stories contracted in the series and I've got some ideas for an eighth. Or maybe the 'lads' have an idea for the eighth.