Title: An Unseen Attraction (Sins of the City #1)
Author: K.J. Charles
Publisher: Penquin Random House – Loveswept
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Genre(s): Historical Mystery
Page Count: Unknown
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
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.
Set in Dickensian London, the romance between Rowley Green – Preserver (what we’d call a taxidermist) and Clem Talleyfer (keeper of a small rooming house) is hardly the stuff of legend. This novel has some lovely scenes as Clem and Rowley share hours of quiet companionship and tea in the parlour, and Clem finally figures out Rowley is interested in him. Clem appears to be on the autism spectrum as his mind is a bit scattered and too much stimuli leaves him unable to cope or function, however Rowley appreciates the subtleness of Clem’s mind. Their sexual chemistry doesn’t sizzle, but it sustains them.
Clem’s step-brother Edmund has made him the keeper of a small lodging house with the proviso that he allow the eternally-drunk nasty former Parson Lugtrout to live there for as long as he wishes, rent-free. But when Lugtrout is found murdered, Rowley and Clem’s tidy lives are turned upside down and they find themselves in the midst of murder allegations, arson and nefarious henchmen, trying to learn why Edmund is so obsessed with finding Lugtrout’s personal effects and papers.
Along the way, we are introduced to several characters from the Jack of Knaves pub who help solve the Lugtrout murder/mystery, and the ending of the book leaves us with an additional mystery which will be addressed as the series continues. The next book in the series “An Unnatural Vice” will feature journalist Nathaniel Roy and is scheduled for a June publication date, while the third book in the series “An Unsuitable Heir” will be published in October.
As always, KJ Charles has a keen appreciation for historical accuracy, and this book is set in a growingly diverse London in the later part of the 19th century. Her characters are well-rounded and from many walks of life and I really enjoy the tapestry KJ Charles creates in each of her series. I look forward to reading the next book in the series and definitely recommend “An Unseen Attraction.”