Title: The Angel in the Window
Author: Charlie Cochrane
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 18,000 words
Genre: m/m, Historical, Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Holidays, Co-Workers, Existing Relationship, Military, Mystery, Sailors, Closeted, Short Story
Rating: Pretty Good
Reviewed by Nikyta
When a traitor walks your deck, who’ll be the one to clear him off it? or What happens when your comrades are more dangerous than your enemies?
Alexander Porterfield may be one of the rising stars of Nelson’s navy, but his relationship with his first lieutenant, Tom Anderson, makes him vulnerable. To blackmail, to the exposure of their relationship—and to losing Tom, either in battle or to another ship. When sudden danger strikes—from the English rather than the French—where should a man turn?
The story takes place over a period of weeks, mostly while Captain Alexander Porterfield and first lieutenant Tom Anderson are out at sea. When they are on land, they embrace their alone time together but while at sea, they don’t tempt fate with being caught so they show amazing restraint by acting like they are just friends. I really liked how they were able to separate their lives like that even though it was obvious it almost killed them not to be able to visibly worry about the other without causing suspicions.
While this story isn’t exactly sweet, there were moments that were absolutely precious and had me smiling ridiculously. While Alexander might be a big, strapping macho man, he’s also sentimental and very much in love with Tom. I found his moments of thinking of Tom very endearing. Tom, however, is a bit different. He’s brash and shows his feelings for Alexander when he can. Their relationship is quite solid even though it must be hidden from everyone else.
The plot gives two distinct conflicts: dealing with a traitor and fighting other ships. Deciphering the information the traitor knew and figuring out how to deal with him lent the story a bit of mysteriousness. I really liked the way that was handled because Tom wasn’t going to lie down and take it while being blackmailed. He dished it right back and that was very entertaining.
The suspense of fighting other ships was a bit mellow so I was saddened it wasn’t given much detail because I’d have really enjoyed the action it provided. Aside from that, my only other problem was that some of the language completely stumped me. Whether it was because of the language used back then or the lingo for the ship, I was thoroughly confused quite often with what Alexander and Tom were speaking of.
Overall, I really enjoyed Tom and Alexander’s adoration for each other and how they coped with their situation. While the ending was left open-ended (it’s up to the reader to decide whether it’s a HFN or HEA), I would have liked a bit more concrete answers on how Alexander and Tom will handle Tom’s promotion after their next assignment but it was a fitting end to a nice story.