Reviewed by Heather C
Title: Awfully Glad
Author: Charlie Cochrane
Heroes: Sam Hines & Jonny Browne
Genre: M/M Historical Romance
Length: 20,344 words
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Release Date: January 2014
Available at: Bold Strokes Books, Amazon, All Romance eBooks & Barnes and Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads & Booklikes
Blurb: WWI hero Sam Hines is used to wearing a face that isn’t his own. When he’s not in the trenches, he’s the most popular female impersonator on the front, but a mysterious note from an anonymous admirer leaves him worried. Everyone realizes—eventually—that Sam’s not a woman, but has somebody also worked out that he also prefers his lovers to be male?
When Sam meets—and falls for—fellow officer Jonny Browne after the war, he wonders whether he could be the man who wrote the note. If so, is he the answer to Sam’s dreams or just another predatory blackmailer, ready to profit from a love that dare not speak its name?
Okay, this was not what I was expecting…AT ALL! I thought it was going to be a war story, but no, it all takes place after WWI.
Jonny first meets Sam near the end of the war while Sam is in drag, playing the lovely Miss Madeline as theatrical entertainment for the soldiers. A year later, the two men meet again when Jonny needs Sam’s financial advice, which quickly leads them to bed.
The Beginning: The entire story is set and staged like scenes from a play. I really liked that and thought it was a unique idea that tied in well with the circumstances of Sam and Jonny’s first meeting. I did struggle with the story a bit in the begging; it started off choppy and I was having trouble following the character POV in the first scene. I couldn’t figure out who was telling the story at first because it seemed to be head-hopping between several different characters, but then it clears up and the rest of the story is told from Sam’s POV…which was MUCH easier to follow.
The Middle: I liked the tension between Sam and Jonny when they meet again; there’s this whole dark, sinister air surrounding all the possibilities of blackmail and exposure as the two men dance around the topic of their preferences. Then when its finally out in the open that they both prefer men, its more like a we-both-like-cock-so-lets-hook-up affair than an actual love affair. There is sex, very non-explicit, which is perfectly fine, but I felt no passion between them at all. Yes, I think there was an attraction, especially on Jonny’s part since obviously he has been lusting after Sam for a while, but there was no trust between them and I’m not a bit sold that this will be a lasting romance. I’m still hoping, though.
The End: Well THAT was sudden. There’s this whole plot that was started near the end about Jonny’s sister and I don’t feel like it was properly resolved. I was like “Huh? That’s it?” when I was expecting there to be more.
Overall: I enjoyed pieces of the story, it was kinda sweet and I liked the characters, but I felt like there was very little depth and the author only scratched the surface of the story that Jonny and Sam were meant to tell.
Overall Impression: It Was Good!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*