Lessons in Discovery by Charlie Cochrane
Orlando’s broken memory may break his lover’s heart.
Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Book 3
On the very day Jonty Stewart proposes that he and Orlando Coppersmith move in together, Fate trips them up. Rather, it trips Orlando, sending him down a flight of stairs and leaving him with an injury that erases his memory. Instead of taking the next step in their relationship, they’re back to square one. It’s bad enough that Orlando doesn’t remember being intimate with Jonty—he doesn’t remember Jonty at all.
Back inside the introverted, sexually innocent shell he inhabited before he met Jonty, Orlando is faced with two puzzles. Not only does he need to recover the lost pieces of his past, he’s also been tasked by the Master to solve a four-hundred-year-old murder before the end of term. The college’s reputation is riding on it.
Crushed that his lover doesn’t remember him, Jonty puts aside his grief to help decode old documents for clues to the murder. But a greater mystery remains—one involving the human heart.
To solve it, Orlando must hear the truth about himself—even if it means he may not fall in love with Jonty the second time around…
This book has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.
Continuing my reviews of this series, we’re now into book three. The series has definitely settled into a pattern with good characters that develop slowly in the context of each book while having a parallel light mystery occurring at the same time. The mystery is afforded as much page time as the actual relationship of Orlando and Jonty, yet the focus is firmly on the characters themselves. The solid writing is more engaging in this offering and the humor and light hearted wit bring more entertainment within the wonderfully historical setting. Although this book is a bit of a throwback to the original, this is the most enjoyable of the series so far and has got me hooked for future offerings. This is a reprint so those who have already read this series probably don’t need to re-buy but those new to the author/series definitely should.
In this installment Jonty and Orlando are celebrating their one year anniversary in decadent style. It’s been one wonderful year since Jonty attempted to abscond with Orlando’s chair in the Senior Common Room and Jonty proposes the two move into a house together away from St. Bride’s. Reluctant to change, the always cautious Orlando doesn’t immediately agree but has other thoughts on his mind at present. When those distracting thoughts lead to an injury, the entire last year is lost from Orlando’s memory. As part of his recovery, Orlando attempts to solve an old mystery at the college while reconnecting with his best friend and forgotten lover, Jonty.
The story is quick and entertaining as the relationship of Orlando and Jonty takes a step back when the shy and gentle Orlando forgets he ever had a friend, let alone a male lover. At the same time, there is the mystery of a missing heir that has become lore within the college. The two storylines share equal page time yet the focus is on the relationship first and foremost. The relationship between Orlando and Jonty harkens back to the first book when Jonty slowly seduces the other man, yet thankfully the development Orlando has had over the course of two books and one year has not disappeared. The changes evident in the man are still there and he reacts rather well to the new information, so much so that the actual injury is almost unimportant. Almost but not quite as it does lend itself well to the story and plays into the relationship in a fun and entertaining way.
The mystery is rather light and solved by the characters without much intuition from the reader. The additional information needed is within the set of letters, something the reader can’t deduce, and thus this has a disconnected quality to the story. I was always reminded I’m reading a story rather than experiencing it since all the details are available to the characters but not to the reader. However, the light mystery is engaging and enjoyable to read as it doesn’t overpower the book but introduces the lovely character of Miss Peters. Far from being the token females, her character and that of Mrs. Stewart are delightful and almost steal the scenes. This combined with the charm of watching Orlando fall in love with Jonty all over again, but thankfully quicker this time, made for a surprisingly quick, thoroughly enjoyable tale.
The writing is very affected with the style of speech and even phrasing always being very true and authentic to the historical time period. When reading this story there is no doubt of the time period and the frequent reminders are wonderful, adding to the experience of reading a story fully engaged in that setting. The thorough research is evident and very few – if any – concessions are made for the time in an attempt to accept the relationship. The threat of exposure is always present and the men behave in a suitable manner, yet the humor and love between the two is constant and obvious. An example of what I mean is below:
Jonty had readily agreed—if he was to be forbidden some of the usual festive amusements, then a little cerebral exercise would be most welcome. As much as he looked forward to being home again, and for all that he said regarding his mama, he’d missed her enormously while he had been ill. He kept muttering that it didn’t seem like it would be a real Christmas without a proper Hogmanay ball and, although his mother had promised that the event would take place, it was to be a modified version with the minimum of dancing and frolicking. When Jonty had said he was determined to put some sort of spanner in those works, Orlando dreaded to think what the little toad had in mind.
This is another well written offering in the series and with several more to come, the possibilities are intriguing. The character of Orlando has developed and changed the most so the next book promises to delve more deeply into Jonty’s personality. Given the wealth of opportunity with their respective pasts, I’m very curious where the author will go next. The romance is not explicit and often uses analogies for any sexual act, giving a very sweet, light feeling to those scenes. So those looking for scorching hot explicit sex are going to be disappointed. However those who enjoy an accurate historical setting with well developed characters and a wonderful romance without needing to ignore the consequences and actions of the time period will be very pleased with this series. Start at the beginning and you’ll likely be hooked as well. One of my few qualms about this piece is that there are numerous editing errors and considering this is a re-released, I’m surprised there are that many.
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