An Unseen Attractionby K.J. Charles, Matthew Lloyd Davies
Series: Sins of the Cities #1
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Published on February 21, 2017
Format: eBook Source: Owned
Lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer prefers a quiet life. Heâ€™s happy with his hobbies, his workâ€”and especially with his lodger Rowley Green, who becomes a friend over their long fireside evenings together. If only neat, precise, irresistible Mr. Green were interested in more than friendship...
Rowley just wants to be left aloneâ€”at least until he meets Clem, with his odd, charming ways and his glorious eyes. Two quiet men, lodging in the same house, coming to an understanding... it could be perfect. Then the brutally murdered corpse of another lodger is dumped on their doorstep and their peaceful life is shattered.
Now Clem and Rowley find themselves caught up in a mystery, threatened on all sides by violent men, with a deadly London fog closing in on them. If theyâ€™re to see their way through, the pair must learn to share their secretsâ€”and their hearts.
This is all Joce @squibblesreads’ fault.Â She had a video comparing this book to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.Â I had recently read a m/m historical romance and found it pretty disappointing.Â She said that Rowley and Clem were her favorite couple.Â I decided to give this one a try.
This book was so good.Â Clem runs a boarding house that his half brother owns.Â He was born after an Earl raped an Indian nanny who accompanied his brother’s family home to England.Â Â Clem is seen as an embarrassment to his snobbish family and this is a way of keeping him out of sight.Â The only condition of his employment is that he has to keep a drunken ex-vicar in the house no matter what.Â Clem is a methodical person who needs to do one thing at a time.Â Other people think that he is slow and clumsy because he gets flustered with too much stimuli.
Rowley is a taxidermist who takes lodgings at the house after setting up shop next door.Â He prefers to be alone and can’t handle other people’s anger well after surviving an abusive childhood.Â His quietness settles Clem.Â The two of them gradually find enjoyment in each other’s company.Â They have a nightly cup of tea together.Â They are just starting to acknowledge feelings for each other when there is a robbery attempt and then a murder.
This is when homosexuality was still banned in England.Â Â There is a pub called the Jack and Knave that Clem frequents.Â It is open only to approved people brought by known clients.Â Inside the Jack, gay men and women are free to socialize openly.Â Many of the characters in this series are regulars there.
This book does a very good job on the romance portion of the book.Â There is sexual activity but it is loving and in context of a relationship.Â A mystery is introduced in this book but is not fully resolved until the series is over.Â Â It involves Clem’s half-brother and then inheritance of the earldom.
Nathaniel is a regular at the Jack and Knave who is still grieving his partner’s death five years ago.Â He is a journalist and is assigned to debunk a medium.Â He starts his investigation with Justin Lazarus and finds himself intrigued.Â Nathaniel is surprised when investigating Clem’s mystery also leads him back to Justin who met one of the players in the saga one year ago.Â This is not a slow burn romance like the first book.Â This is hate/lust leading to sex leading to regret/embarrassment.Â Then they are forced back together and over time a relationship builds.
Justin had a rough upbringing and has major trust issues.Â He doesn’t feel bad at all about fleecing the rich and gullible.Â Nathaniel is firmly on the side of living a moral life and not hurting anyone.Â He has a hard time accepting the good in anyone in a dishonest profession.Â Nathaniel is also uncomfortable moving on and feeling attracted to another man for the first time.Â He especially doesn’t want to fall for someone so unlike his beloved partner.Â The book talks about how difficult it was grieve when no one in the outside world knew of the love between the men.
The mystery continues to be resolved.Â In each book a little bit is solved so it doesn’t feel like you are missing a conclusion even if you don’t have the whole picture yet.
In this final book of the series, detective Mark finds the lost heir to the Earldom.Â He is a trapeze artist performing with his twin sister.Â Most people would jump at the chance to go from music hall performer to aristocrat but Pen Starling wants nothing to do with it.Â He is genderfluid and comfortable living in a world where he is able to dress in a costume that fits how he feels on each day.Â If he becomes an Earl, he would be forced to live as a man full time.Â As he says, if he had been raised to be an Earl he might have been able to pass himself off as an eccentric recluse but as a former commoner he would be watched.Â Information is given about court cases of the time regarding transgender people.
Mark is a Polish immigrant.Â He was born with one arm.Â He makes his way confidently through a world that makes no accommodations for people with disabilities.Â He is pansexual and has previously had relationships with both men and women.Â He embraces Pen’s genderfluidity as a wonderful aspect of him.Â Â
This is my favorite of the books.Â I loved Mark and Pen’s relationship.Â The resolution of the mystery was unexpected and very satisfying to all parties involved.Â I will definitely read this author again.