Title: Lost in my Waking Dream
Author: Charlie Cochet
Length: 30 pdf pages, 8400 words.
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m historical
George Fitzpatrick is a troubled man and former soldier from the Great War. Ever since his return fifteen years ago, George has been hearing another man’s voice in his head, causing him to question himself and his reality. His engagement to his fiancée has steadily been going from bad to worse, and with every passing day George is finding it more and more difficult to deny his long-buried urges and the feelings brought about by a man he’s never laid eyes on. Is it all in George’s head, or is there something more behind Noah Baxter, the man whose soothing voice invades George’s dreams and his heart?
This is a really tough story to review without giving spoilers, and please don’t look down at the categories if you don’t want a major clue. However, I think a large part of the enjoyment in reading this is in figuring out what is really happening, so I’m going to do my best not to give too much away. It might end up being a shorter than usual review, however!
George Fitzpatrick is a man with many troubles: not only is he engaged to a sweet woman he doesn’t love, but he’s suffering from post traumatic stress after serving in World War One and finds living in the crowded city of New York often triggers panic attacks. His most guilty secret, though, is his homosexuality–something we later learn he’s only been able to admit to himself over the last ten years, with the support of Noah, the voice in his head who he also happens to be in love with.
Confused yet? Well so is George, who worries that he’ll be carted off to the loony bin if anyone ever hears him talking out loud to his imaginary friend. He’s willing to go to great lengths to facilitate Noah’s sexual fantasies, though, even visiting a prostitute who Noah assures him is his doppelgänger. This scene is incredibly poignant and one of the strangest threeways I think I’ve ever read, what with Noah watching and talking to George all the way through it.
I loved the descriptions of Jazz era New York, and George is a lovely character: broken and confused, but refusing to wallow in self-pity while he has Noah to keep him company. The two of them have a strong relationship, despite them not being able to meet physically, and only Noah being able to see his lover.
Some readers who don’t like cheating characters might be a little put off by George being engaged to Ann, especially as we later find out that the engagement started some years after George first starts hearing Noah’s voice. I felt this was all in keeping with the era and George’s confusion about his situation, however. Rest assured that in the end it all wraps up in a very satisfactory, if hurried, way.
I’d not read any Charlie Cochet before this but I’m certainly intending to hit up her backlist, as this is a historical era she seems to specialise in and one which I find fascinating. I can recommend this strange little tale, but those readers who prefer their historicals not to mix with other genres, might be better off with one of her other titles.