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Historical MM Romance Review: An Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles

An Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles (Sins of the Cities #1)

Egalley thanks to Loveswept

Synopsis from Goodreads
A slow-burning romance and a chilling mystery bind two singular men in the suspenseful first book of a new Victorian series from 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.

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* * *
K.J. Charles has a real knack for quiet, cozy period mysteries, and this book is not an exception.

The romance is low-key with two ordinary, quiet men who are forced to be heroes despite their deep fears and desires to avoid any scandal.

Clem is a very interesting character, who is not only half-Indian but born into an aristocratic family and has a mild version of Asperger's (I think). He is exceptionally good in familiar circumstances but doesn't cope well with any changes in his routine, crowds, and confrontation. He also has a very keen mind but you need to get to know him to discover it as most people assume he is weird and simple and they would stay away from him. Clem keeps a lodging house and is forced to investigate a murder of one of his tenants.

Rowley is another quiet and unassuming man who is totally in awe of Clem's good looks and sharp mind. Rowley himself is a taxidermist, which is another interesting trade in a Victorian era where everyone was fascinated with all things death. He loves his work and a lot of his projects are pieces of art, which were fascinating to follow.

Rowley has this whole routine of a very subtle courtship of Clem, without the other man realizing what it is, while Clem secretly lusts for his friend, Rowley. *grins* When the murder happens, Rowley tries to help Clem, disliking how everyone takes advantage of his kindness and fearing for his safety.

I love how fear for each other's lives urges both men to come out of their shells and face danger head-on, while their first instinct is to hide and run. There is a Dickensian feel to this book, and I especially enjoyed succinct and wonderful supporting characters.

While the characters' romance didn't work for me personally, overall it was an enjoyable and atmospheric read. Recommended.

* * *
У К. Дж. Чарльз хорошо набита рука на тихих исторических детективах, и эта книга - не исключение.

Романтическая линия между двумя ординарными героями не яркая, и оба персонажа вынуждены совершать не характерные для себя поступки, чтобы разрешить убийство, совершённое на пороге дома Клема.

Клем - интересный персонаж, очень привлекательный хозяин пансиона, наполовину индиец, из аристократической семьи и, как я подозреваю, с некоей версией синдрома Аспергера. С работой своей он справляется замечательно, однако плохо реагирует на какие-либо изменения в рутине, конфликт и толпы.

Роули - один из его постояльцев, и тоже довольно необычный характер. Он довольно долго уже ухаживает за красавчиком Клемом, но делает это настолько тонко, что сам Клем, которому очень нравится Роули, ни о чём не подозревает.

Роули по ремеслу таксидермист в Викторианском обществе, которое было помешано на идее смерти. Он смотрит на свою профессию как искусство, находя в Клеме неожиданно артистичный взгляд на то, что он создаёт.

Роман их развивается медленно и меня в принципе не тронул, однако более интересным я нашла то, что обоим персонажам пришлось вылезти из своей кожуры и пойти поперёк своих натур, чтобы спасти друг другу жизнь и раскрыть перступление.

Второстепенные персонажи, особенно друзья Клема были яркими и краткими, и вообще вся книга обладает прямо-таки Дикенсовой атмосферой, так что я читала её с удовольствием. Рекомендую.

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