Title: A Tender Curiosity
Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 90 Pages
Category: Historical, Paranormal, Anthology
At a Glance: A Tender Curiosity is, overall, a cute collection of short stories connected by being set in the 1920s and ‘30s. I appreciated the use of time appropriate dialogue and slang, and although it does make a few lines of dialogue sound a bit stilted, it’s fun, nonetheless.
Reviewed By: Jovan
Blurb: Take a journey into the past and meet the men who laughed, lived, and loved in a bygone era. This collection includes three short but sweet tales of infatuation, adventure, humor, and even a dash of the paranormal.
When Love Walked In
Private investigator Bruce Shannon’s cases of missing persons and infidelity don’t inspire warm feelings around Valentine’s Day. Luckily Bruce is quite happy with only his cat for companionship—until handsome Jace Scarret wanders off the street and into Bruce’s life.
In His Corner
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Jessie “the Demon” Dalton needs a cornerman, and Eli jumps at the chance, hoping for answers about why Jessie broke his heart years ago. It soon becomes clear that Jessie needs Eli in his corner—and in his life. Now all Eli has to do is convince Jessie.
Believe Me, Beloved
Robert Bradley dreams of singing on the radio, and when he attends the masked ball of handsome station owner Gabriel Chase, Robert has no idea his dream is about to take an unexpected paranormal turn.
In His Corner originally published by Torquere Press, Inc., September, 2012.
When Love Walked In originally published by Torquere Press, Inc., February, 2012.
Believe Me, Beloved originally published in Masks Off Anthology by Top Shelf, An imprint of Torquere Press Publishers, 2012.
Review: A Tender Curiosity is, overall, a cute collection of short stories connected by being set in the 1920s and ‘30s. For the most part, Charlie Cochet does a good job establishing enough character traits/personalities for the MCs in the stories to keep them from being flat or boring. I also appreciated the use of time appropriate dialogue and slang, and although it does make a few lines of dialogue sound a bit stilted, it’s fun, nonetheless.
In Love Walked In, gruff and grumpy PI Bruce finds his heartstrings unexpectedly tugged by Jace, a bank clerk who finds himself homeless and unemployed after the financial collapse of 1929, and his unscrupulous lover leaves him high and dry. A simple act of kindness from Bruce creates the possibility of happiness for Jace and Bruce on Valentine’s Day. The interactions between sweet and shy Jace and tough-looking, but soft-hearted Bruce are lovely, and the short but dynamic interplay between Bruce and his former receptionist are funny and a good showcase of Bruce’s personality.
In His Corner, my favorite of the three stories, follows former heavyweight champion Jesse Dalton and Eli, the man who idolized Jesse from the time he was a kid, and who has loved him for years. In a span of a few months, Jesse lost everything he values—his title, his reputation, and Eli. Five years later, Eli volunteers to be Jesse’s cornerman for an exhibition match, find out why Jesse pushed him away, and to show Jesse that Eli is the man he’s always needed and deserved. This one is a little longer, and the characters have an established history, so it was easier to connect to them and their journey, and the banter between Jesse and Eli’s uncle is charming and fun.
Believe Me, Beloved is the only story that didn’t really work for me. I was looking forward to the “unexpected paranormal turn,” so maybe my expectations were too high. The story follows Robert, a mail clerk at a radio station who dreams of singing on one of the programs. Robert is offered his big chance to sing for the station owner, Gabriel, when one of the executives invites him to a ball being held at Gabriel’s mansion. Unknowingly, Robert is being led as a lamb to slaughter, and Gabriel, who has done his best to stay away from the innocently tempting Robert in order to keep him out of his dangerous world, will be Robert’s only hope of living through the night. This story is one that would have been better as a novella, as only Robert had any real character traits, and there is enough backstory/intrigue introduced within the last pages to make the story seem unfinished. Additionally, while the other two stories gave the MCs some development through dialogue, with this story being mostly action and mustache-twirling monologuing, Gabriel’s character is underdeveloped. This one also suffered the most from the constraints in dialogue, because the villain came across as overdramatic as any bad guy in a silent film, which may have been the point since it fits the time period, but for me he took up too much space that could have been filled with a bit more from Gabriel.
All in all, A Tender Curiosity is an enjoyable collection of sweet and slightly steamy historical romance shorts.
You can buy A Tender Curiosity here:
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