I’m so pleased and excited to welcome Chalie Cochrane to take over my blog today in honour of her new release “The Angel In The Window”, a stirring age of sail story set in the late 18th Century.
Take it away Charlie!!
There’s something about a man in uniform that gets us all of a lather, isn’t there? Especially a historical uniform – the film “Master and Commander” always gets my heart going pitter-patter, with all those dark blue coats and the gold braid and the tight white britches…*fans self*
I wonder what it is that provokes such a reaction (apart from the obvious?) Maybe it’s the hint of the military, the suggestion of power contained, strength hidden within a structure of discipline and restraint. And the thought of what that power might be like when it’s unleashed, of course. Or maybe it’s the subtle changes clothing makes; some people look fabulous in a suit, less so in casual clothes. Rugby shirts (tight rugby shirts!) make almost everyone look gorgeous. I remember James Darcy saying that the costumes for M&C had been constructed in keeping with Age of Sail fashions – lots of strings and pullings (excuse pun) in. It had made him stand with a better, more erect (oh, do stop being smutty!) posture. Maybe that adds to the allure.
One of the things I loved about M&C was how realistic everything looked; from ships to sea battles (alas the same can’t be said of my other love, the Hornblower TV series). The weathered appearance of the gold braid had, I believe, come about during the filming as the sea air gave it a tarnished look, which is, apparently, exactly the greeny sort of tinge it should have had.
I also like the stories of how and why changes to uniforms (or any clothing) come about. Are you wearing jeans? Look down at the right hand front pocket. Is there a little pocket above and partly inside the main one? That’s to put your pocket watch in. As we all do, regularly. Yet there it is, like a sartorial appendix, hanging around doing diddly squat but there because it has been for ages and nobody’s seen fit to remove it.
Seen the buttons on a midshipman’s cuff?
The story is that they were put there to stop the little toads wiping their noses on their sleeves. Do they live on in the redundant buttons that often grace a man’s suit jacket? I like to think they do, inhibiting the sliver sleeve phenomenon down the years.
And the other thing about men in uniform is that they inspire a girl to get writing. The Angel in the Window can be traced back, ultimately, to me standing in a museum in Jersey (old, not New) gazing enraptured at a lieutenant’s dress uniform dating back to the time of Trafalgar. And imagining the man who used to be inside it…
Title: The Angel in the Window
Buy link: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=CCANGELW
Blurb: Two officers, one ship, one common enemy.
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?
Biog: As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. She lives in England, but has yet to use her local town Romsey as a setting for her stories. Maybe one day…
Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet.