Title: Pack Up Your Troubles
Author: Charlie Cochrane
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 132 Pages
At a Glance: Fans of the author and fans of Historical Romance will each find something to love in this trilogy of stories. Pack Up Your Troubles is a treat for either, and is a book I enjoyed spending a day with.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: THIS GROUND WHICH WAS SECURED AT GREAT EXPENSE
An officer thinks he finds love in the trenches, but is it really waiting for him on the home front?
A doctor and an army chaplain spend the night in a foxhole and discover there’s hope even in the darkest situations
MUSIC IN THE MIDST OF DESOLATION
And an old soldier discovers that there are romantic problems to solve even after you’ve cashed in your chips.
Review: Author Charlie Cochrane’s name is synonymous with bona fide Historical Romance and, true to form, the three stories that make up Pack Up Your Troubles are not only indicative of Cochrane’s deft hand at creating the perfect tone and atmosphere of the time but also in creating appealing characters who tell their stories in an ideal balance of dialogue and narrative. The final story in the collection, Music in the Midst of Desolation—which complements the origins and history of the song after which the book is titled, I believe—even offers up a lovely fantasy twist in a contemporary setting with historical context.
The first story and my favorite of the three, This Ground Which Was Secured at Great Expense, is also the longest and most poignant of the collection. It begins some of the common threads that weave their way through the book: war is hell, love that dare not speak its name, and the search for comfort and peace in a time of death and uncertainty. Nicholas Southwell has been in love with his estate manager and best friend, Paul Haskell, for years. But in 1914, that’s not a confession one dared make aloud, and most certainly not when war meant a long separation, geographically and emotionally, and the very real possibility existed of never coming home again. Nicholas has no idea if Paul feels the same way and so to confess those deeper feelings only to have it be a critical mistake became the hurdle Nicholas was unable to overcome.
His inability to express himself sees Nicholas off to war, still pining for Paul, and into the arms of a fellow soldier, Phillip Taylor, whose heart also belongs to another but when the uncertainty of the next hour, let alone the next day or week, exists, any comfort, great or small, can soothe the most troubled soul. This is a story of tragedy that sparks the fire that leads to Nicholas and Paul fighting for and claiming the love they share for each other, and every word of it captured what is surely the ugly realism of love in wartime.
The second and shortest story of the trio, Hallowed Ground, is a tale of confession and absolution with a lovely twist. Two men, one a doctor the other a man of the cloth, are trapped together in a hole on a scar-worn battlefield and hoping against hope to live just to see the light of another day. Amidst the uncertainty of their survival, the clergyman faces a test to his faith and shares a communion with the healer, with a promise, in the end, that to live to love another day is a gift they might share with each other.
Old soldiers never die, they simply fade away is an adage that comes to mind in Music in the Midst of Desolation. This is a story of life and the afterlife, a blend of the historical in a contemporary fantasy, and the story of a timeless love which must bide its time until one final mission is complete and two lovers can reunite in the ever after. This story was a lovely way to cap off the collection, and I don’t mind saying I wish it’d been longer, as I wanted to know so much more about the events that led up to where the story begins as well as more about what happened after the conflict is resolved. It’s a story of death and forgiveness and healing, and it carries on with the theme that the battle for love is timeless, breadthless, and well worth fighting for.
Fans of the author and fans of Historical Romance will each find something to love in this trilogy of stories. Pack Up Your Troubles is a treat for either, and is a book I enjoyed spending a day with.
You can buy Pack Up Your Troubles here:
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