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An Unseen Attraction

Sins of the Cities, Book 1
Written by: K. J. Charles
Narrated by: Matthew Lloyd Davies
Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2017 K. J. Charles (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I'll Definitely Listen To It Again

This really was a very sweet romance. There is full, actualized sex scenes, of course, but Clem and Rowley are just so loveable and mushy that the scenes lacked some of the steam that I know K. J. Charles is capable of. I think that my only criticism of their relationship would be that at times Clem was a bit too naive for a man that seemed to have more experience than his partner (Rowley), and those scenes felt a bit childish. Overall, though, their relationship was very enjoyable.

The mystery aspect of the novel was decent, though--to me--it was rather obvious who the "villain" was. There were some bits that weren't quite explained, but it came together in the end.

Overall, this was a pleasing book that I would gladly listen to again. Matthew Lloyd Davies' narration is superb. I'm looking forward to the next in the series!

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  • BR
  • 2017-02-25

K J Charles is amazing

I had a hard start with this book. I love Charm of Magpies so much that I was initially disappointed to listen to a softer, more slowly paced book. But the author's talent won me over. As is true in all her books, the characters are portrayed as complete people with flaws and issues that make them more interesting. The characters are not "perfect" as people or physically. Which is a relief from most m/m books and gives their romance through friendship and awkward flirtation more complexities than simple physical attraction. Not that there isn't sexual attraction and a tiny bit of kink, which is nicely explored. Besides the layered personalities of the main characters, KJ Charles situates them deftly in Victorian London with nice historical details. The mystery is not the strongest element of the story but it does move the story along. The narrator had a good voice and gave each character a unique voice without overdoing it. I still hold out hope that Charm of Magpies will someday get turned into an audiobook but am perfectly happy with her current work if it continues to be of this quality. And (the best compliment you can give an author) I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Meredith
  • 2017-02-25

Delightful

I'm fond of adventures featuring everyday people, and this is an excellent example. I felt like I could have been one of the other residents of the boarding house or regulars at the Jack and Knave. KJ Charles' historical worldbuilding is thorough without beating you over the head with endless descriptive passages, so that you're just dropped into the rich complexity of Victorian London and allowed to live there. This is a gentler, slower story than some of her wild rides, but there's plenty of excitement, a little horror, and some truly hilarious animals.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wende
  • 2017-02-23

Loved it

The narrator was very good and brought the book alive. I did have problems with Clem. He almost was TSTL. The book was enjoyable and the mystery was very well done.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Diana in SC
  • 2017-08-09

Wow! A cozy romance with a dangerous mystery, too!

This is the first book by KJ Charles that I have read or listened to, and I was really impressed. I cannot wait to read the next two books in this trilogy. What a great combination! An exciting, gritty murder mystery, and a lovely gay (male-male) romance. I was enthralled the entire time by the excellent writing, wonderful characters, and an absorbing plot.

Clem and Rowlie are both good, decent guys. They respect each other and have patience and affection for each other's shortcomings. Rowlie is a taxidermist who came from a really poor background in South London. Clem is an autistic man who manages a lodging house for lower middle class artisans. He grew up in the English countryside. Clem looks like a handsome young man from India, but he was raised by his white English father. Clem's autistic characteristics include the following: an aversion to crowds and loud voices, an inability to multitask, a resistance to change, and a love of an orderly routine. I really like when romances have autistic characters, and this book handles it really well. I also loved the realistic progression of Clem and Rowlie's relationship, which is put under stress by the dangerous situation. They have disagreements that they work through.

The audiobook is wonderfully atmospheric. Dangerous men lurk in the sickly yellow fog. I discovered unusual parts of Victorian London where books have never taken me before: a taxidermist shop, a lodging house for artisans, a private social club for gay people, and a trapeze artist show.

I would say that there are several love scenes, and they are moderately steamy. Although they are somewhat graphic, the mechanics of what they do is not very adventurous or advanced as compared to other MM romances that I have read. Clem and Rowlie's first sexual encounter is so sweet and awkward; it was very charming. I felt the closeness and intimacy between Clem and Rowlie. The love scenes were very well written and added to the growing relationship in the book.

It was so sweet how the pair liked to just spend time together sitting on the couch having tea, talking, and petting the cat. I like both men a lot. Clem did occasionally get on my nerves with his denial and stubbornness about certain things that come to light.

Certain things in the plot were settled at the end of this book, but an ongoing story arc continues in Book 2 with Clem and Rowlie's investigative journalist friend as one of the main characters. I can't wait to listen to Book 2.

The narrator Matthew Lloyd Davies did such an excellent job! He is now one of my favorite narrators. Each character's voice was very distinctive, with the correct type of accent, different pitch, and the speed of speech. For example, Clem had an adorable English countryside accent, like a hobbit. I also like how the narrator seemed very comfortable with the intimate male/male love scenes. He is very good at expressing the emotions that Clem and Rowlie have for each other. In addition, his pacing was superb, especially for the action scenes. I hung on his every word, and I think he did a perfect job. Because of Mr. Davies' narration, I just had to buy the second book in this trilogy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • HP Reader
  • 2017-05-04

Well Done Historical M/M Mystery/Romance

This is the type of m/m romance I can get into. It has a plot first, with the romance supporting it. With so many cookie-cutter romance stories around, it is refreshing to find one as well done as this one. Told from the two main characters' POVs, the switching happens in chapters rather than paragraph ping-pong ball done by so many inexperienced writers.

I found the description of foggy London so well done that I could feel the grit on my own skin, as if I'd been walking through it myself. And of course, the narration by Matthew Lloyd Davies makes this story a listening treat for the ears, especially the sex scenes. And speaking of sex scenes - the slow build up makes this story extremely erotic, with just a slight dom/sub added in for spice.

Although a self-contained story, I like how it leads in to the sequel - which I have another month to wait for!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Harmony Gibbs
  • 2019-06-17

Good, with room for improvement

I must say i didnt expect this to have the rather x rated scenes it had but for all that it was well written and the characters were wonderful. The mystery was far too easy to solve, but it made a good backdrop for the characters and kept the story moving. for only being 7 hours long, it had plenty of depth and i enjoyed it.

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  • Andrea
  • 2019-06-08

Unassuming Main Characters!

I listened to the eAudio edition, and I have no problem with Matthew Lloyd Davis’ performance. I’d listen to him again. He did a good job, particularly in differentiation of different speech patterns among people from various parts of London and class differences between the MCs. I really cannot stand generic British accents, but thankfully, this was not the case here.

I’m a big fan of KJCs work, but her writing, story-telling skills, and fabulous period detail all eclipse two of the dullest MCs I have ever seen!

I really understand what KJC was going for, with Clem, the boarding-house operator and Rowley, the professional “preserver” (ie Taxidermist) and creating a romance of two unassuming fellows in dirty, foggy, Victorian London, I really do. However, even KJC with her mad skillz couldn’t make these two dull-dogs interesting. I still kiss her ring, but these two fellows were upstaged by everything else in the story, including Clem, the half-caste, Indian-presenting, bastard son’s ugly cat.

I still adore KJC—she’s a goddess, for heaven’s sake! On to the next one in the series!

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  • karen alexander
  • 2018-12-13

Fun, mystery, and sexy!

A great narration of Victorian London, very nice imagery and some fun sexy scenes tossed in. A good mystery with a twist. Enjoyable listening. Very good narration.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • ShannonVM
  • 2018-10-04

Mystery, romance, and suspense.

This was a really enjoyable romantic suspense. I loved the mystery and how things will continue on into the next book (which I've already downloaded!).
Clem was a sweetie. I don't want to say I felt sorry for him, because I really didn't, but I did feel bad and sad for him, for the situation he was in through no fault of his own. However, he's someone that makes the best of things and he's made a simple, happy life for himself, even if it's been a little lonely. That is, until tea time between he and Rowley becomes something more, and they finally give into the attraction between them. Theirs was a sweet romance. I liked that Rowley was so patient with Clem, even when he was frustrating him.
I thought the mystery played out well in this book. I like how parts of the story weren't wrapped up, although I'm anxious to find out all the answers!

I really like Matthew Lloyd Davies narration. He does such a terrific job giving everyone different and distinct voices. Although Rowley kind of morphed into Silas from A Seditious Affair a few times, and that threw me off a little!

***Borrowed through the Romance Package

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  • Nica Flor
  • 2018-07-04

Deliciously entertaining

I love historical romance, and nobody writes like KJ Charles. I especially appreciate the way the author has a person of color as a main character. Diversity and inclusion are indispensable and Clem is an adorable, engaging character for whom I cheered and hoped for throughout the book, and his Rowley is a quiet, yet loving shelter for the clumsy landlord. The mystery of the story kept me engaged and the action scenes were exciting. Not to mention the love scenes were scorching. The actor's performance was wonderful. He kept each character's voice distinctive and recognizable, and had a nice pace to the narration.