Sunday, February 19, 2017

ARC Review: An Unseen Attraction (Sins of the Cities 1) by K.J. Charles

Lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer prefers a quiet life. He’s happy with his hobbies, his work—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 alone—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 they’re to see their way through, the pair must learn to share their secrets—and their hearts.

Dani's rating:

K.J. Charles is a remarkable writer. Her world-building is second to none, and she always creates quirky, unique characters.

An Unseen Attraction is, as the blurb states, both a mystery and a romance, although I'd argue it leans toward the former.

Clem runs a lodging house owned by his brother. He is good at his job but is forced to put up with a particularly unsavory alcoholic tenant (he can't kick this drunkard out; it's in the contract). Clem comes across as scattered and slow, but it's just because too many stimuli make him nervous. He has a lot of anxious energy that makes his mind soar.

One of Clem's tenants is the bespectacled Rowley Green, who's a stuffer, a preserver of dead animals (what we now call a taxidermist). Rowley is an ideal lodger: punctual, quiet, attentive.

Clem and Rowley are both shy, and Clem really cannot take a hint (he admits as much to Rowley), but the two manage to begin an awkward romance that is sidetrack by some rather horrifying events.

I don't want to spoil the plot, so I'm not going to get into the mystery, which I thought was a little convoluted.

I never really connected with the MCs and didn't feel like they connected with one another. Clem and Rowley are so careful, so proper. Forget wild passion. Clem can't remember to breathe while kissing. This slow dance worked for them. I just didn't find it particularly sexy.

The ending is a tentative HEA for the MCs, but the mystery isn't neatly solved. Indeed, the epilogue leaves things cracked open (I wouldn't quite call it a cliffie, but nothing's tied up with a pretty bow).

I am a huge fan of this author. Two of her books have ended up on my annual Best of M/M Romance lists. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into this story, which took me dog years to finish.

Give this one a go if you enjoy mildly creepy historical mysteries with a side of low-key romance and two rather unusual protagonists.

Get the book:


Are we not like two volumes of one book?
~Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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