His Heart’s Obsession is the story of a man who loves another, and in an equal and opposite reaction, the object of his desire, desires another. It’s unrequited love which provides for the emotional conflict in this short and affecting story of forbidden passion in the tropics, aboard the HMS Swiftsure, in the year 1752.
Lieutenant Robert Hughes is harboring a secret passion for fellow officer Lieutenant Hal Morgan, which presents enough of a problem, in and of itself, as sodomy in the British Royal Navy could find a man hanged for the indiscretion. To compound the problem, however, is that Lieutenant Morgan is keeping a secret of his own—he is in love with Captain William Hamilton, a man who would never consider returning Hal’s affection in anything less than the camaraderie of their naval duties.
This is the story of one man who is willing to risk himself and his heart to declare his love for the man he wants so desperately, and another whose passion for a man he realizes he can never have may be more the case of a safe obsession than an actual willingness to risk giving his heart to another.
Robert’s need to make Hal aware of his feelings, as well as the need to redirect Hal’s feelings for their ship’s captain causes more than enough angst in their already contentious relationship as fellow officers. Robert advances and Hal retreats in what initially is a poorly orchestrated attack, on Robert’s part, of Hal’s defenses. In a lovely and metaphorical way, as Robert becomes a more competent officer onboard ship, the more calculated, controlled, and ultimately successful his strategic assault becomes. It simply took Robert “speaking” in a language Hal could understand—the language of actions and not words—to make Hal see the truth. But not before tragedy nearly robs them of the chance to explore their possibilities.
As with Alex Beecroft’s False Colors (which I loved), His Heart’s Obsession is as much an homage to the Age of Sail as it is a story of forbidden love and the danger it represents. While I’d have liked a bit more exploration of the whens, hows, and whys that lead up to Robert falling in love with Hal, I very much enjoyed what came after.
Buy His Heart’s Obsession HERE.