Lessons In Love
by Charlie Cochrane
Linden Bay Romance LLC
Length: 186 Pages
Characters: Jonty Stewart, Orlando Coppersmith
POV: Third person
Setting: St. Bride’s College, Cambridge
Book Cover Rating: 3
St. Bride’s College, Cambridge, England, 1905. When Jonty Stewart takes up a teaching post at the college where he studied, the handsome and outgoing young man acts as a catalyst for change within the archaic institution. He also has a catalytic effect on Orlando Coppersmith.
Orlando is a brilliant, introverted mathematician with very little experience of life outside the college walls. He strikes up an alliance with the outgoing Jonty, and soon finds himself having feelings he’s never experienced before. Before long their friendship blossoms into more than either man had hoped and they enter into a clandestine relationship.
Their romance is complicated when a series of murders is discovered within St. Bride’s. All of the victims have one thing in common, a penchant for men. While acting as the eyes and ears for the police, a mixture of logic and luck leads them to a confrontation with the murderer—can they survive it?
Jonty Stewart is a fellow at St. Bride’s College in Cambridge, England. Jonty teaches literature, more specifically, he teaches Shakespearean literature during an era when tradition and good form were the height of propriety. Lessons in Love is set during the Edwardian era, a time when the social class system was rigid and gentility itself was a barometer of a man’s character.
Orlando Coppersmith teaches mathematics at St. Bride’s. Orlando is a solitary man who is more interested in academics than in anything that may resemble social interaction. Orlando doesn’t understand much about friendship or love and has a tendency to look at everything that comes his way in an exceptionally analytical way.
When the two men meet in what can only be described as an accidental encounter, the particularly affable Jonty and the unusually staid Orlando begin the journey of an unlikely friendship that develops into a sweet and charming romance, but certainly is not without its difficulties. Orlando is a man with a troubled past. He has buried himself in the world of academia for so long that he has entirely missed out on what it means to make an emotional connection with another person. Orlando isn’t attracted to anyone, either male or female, and is baffled by both Jonty’s gregarious personality, and his sudden desire to befriend the man who seems to be his polar opposite. Orlando is a man of numbers, while Jonty is man of the sonnets and plays of the Bard of Avon. Jonty tells Orlando, “It’s never too late to learn to appreciate life’s pleasures,” and sets out to show Orlando that, where love is concerned, there is no right or wrong, there is only deep affection and abiding friendship.
As the relationship between these two wonderful characters grows, a series of murders at the college begins to stir fears among its residents. The murders are being committed in the name of righteousness, backed by the fervor of the religious precept that it is an abomination for two men to love one another. Orlando and Jonty are both fearful of being discovered but have developed a bond so deep that they can’t bear to part, even for their own safety. Instead, the two men join forces to do a bit of amateur sleuthing in hopes of bringing the killer to justice.
Charlie Cochrane has written a lovely romance between two charming, intelligent, and guileless characters; one that is appropriately restrained for the time period in which it takes place. Coupling that with an intriguing mystery that kept me guessing right through to the end, and a peppering of references to various Shakespearean plays, giving the story a “play within a play” feeling that the Bard used to such great effect in so many of his works, Lessons in Love was a fresh and entertaining tale.