Adam Jackson feels frustrated that he isn’t doing more for the war effort; a liaison job with the War cabinet is hardly as glamorous as being in the forces. Nor is London, in the grip of the Blitz, the sort of place where a young man expects to find love, especially when your ideal partner isn’t a young lady.
Hugh Scarborough-a handsome decoder from the same department-is exactly what Adam’s looking for, but will the interest be returned? And what chance can any budding romance have against a background of air raids and huddling in shelters?
Review by Erastes
First of all – good cover. Not mad on the font of the title, and how difficult would it have been to stick a few anti-aircraft beams and barrrage balloons in the sky? But all in all FAR better than naked men having sex in front of the Houses of Parliament. Thumbs up.
The book has an excellent start – a great first line, first paragraph, which pulls you into the story immediately – tells you where you are, when you are, who’s thinking/talking with a bare minimum of fuss. This is a rare talent in my experience, you only need to read the Dear Author first page posts to see that.
A couple of things jarred me – mention of “Jonny-in-the-air” – which should have been “Johnny-head-in-air” from the poem “For Johnny” by John Pudney, written in 1941. I’m pathetic enough to have noticed this because the film “Way to the Stars” quotes it and it’s one of my favourite poems of all time, but no-one else will note this or indeed care – and it certainly doesn’t detract from the feel and atmosphere of this very touching and real-feeling story. The POV does waver from time to time, dropping out of 3rd person to omniescent and flicking back and forth between characters. There were a few -very few- editing issues I noticed but it was probably because I’m suffering from editing PTSD right now.
It’s a short piece – not quite 12 pages, but it manages everything a short story should do – beginning, (with backstory of both characters) middle, conflict (as to what every good gay historical should encompass – that of how two men will manage an affair at all) and a satisfying conclusion. That Cochrane manages this in 3000 words is a testament to her quiet and efficient style, making each word count, each phrase tell its own story. This is demonstrated most in the sex scene, where – Renault-like- she gives a feeling of real eroticism whilst saying almost nothing at all.
As a short story, it’s a nice read – as a free short story, it’s just about perfect. Don’t miss this one.