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An Unseen Attraction

(Sins of the Cities #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  3,309 ratings  ·  677 reviews
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, ir
Kindle Edition, 242 pages
Published February 21st 2017 by Loveswept
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Blueangora I believe so far it's only been published as an ebook. No hard copies exist, sadly. Great book though.…moreI believe so far it's only been published as an ebook. No hard copies exist, sadly. Great book though.(less)

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Average rating 3.90  · 
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K.J. Charles
Jun 14, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
The first in my new Sins of the Cities trilogy. It's London 1873, a long winter. As one of the worst fogs of the nineteenth century closes in on the city, long-buried secrets are crawling into the light, and dragging all sorts of trouble with them.

This trilogy is total Victorian sensation fiction, channelling my love for Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Dickens in his wilder moods, and the other glorious writers of complicated plots with scandals, secrets and shenanigans up the wazoo. Fo
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
*Price drop to $0.99 at Amazon US, 5/10/17*

*3.5 stars*

I liked this one, but I've come to except greatness from every K.J. Charles book, which I didn't quite get here.

I was really pumped when I discovered we had an Indian MC, as Courtney Milan's historical romance with an Indian character in the stellar The Heiress Effect is the only other that I've read. There isn't much focus on Clem being Indian in the beginning of the story, but his background does end up playing an interesting role in the
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
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 b
~Mindy Lynn~
3 stars

There is no doubt that K.J. Charles is a great storyteller. She has a great way of building worlds that she makes you feel apart of as if your walking along the streets of London with her characters.

This was a great start to an interesting murder mystery. I liked that it will proceed throughout all three books in the series letting us get a good picture of these close three friends. I am mostly looking forward to Mark's book. He is quite the tough character and there is a lot of mystery
Eli Easton
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have a soft spot for regency romance in het romance (Loretta Chase, Elizabeth Hoyt, Tessa Dare). But it's difficult to find a good m/m regency because, of course, homosexuality was a criminal offense then, and it's hard to reconcile that with the HEA a romance requires. This book does that beautifully. There's no downplaying the fact that their love is illegal, but both Rowley and Clem know who they are (gay men) and there's no angst or self-hate on their own parts about that. They know who th ...more
A Tag Team Review with Chelsea!

FOUR HEARTS--K.J. Charles' newest Victorian romance series, Sins of the Cities, starts off on the right foot with An Unseen Attraction. A slow burn with an encompassing mystery and romance between two unassuming souls can be found in this novel.

"Rowley, there are lots of people who think I'm worth looking at. Not so many who think I'm worth listening to. Not like you."
A spasm of something passed across Rowley's face. "Then there are a lot of fools out t
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
K.J. Charles is a wonderful author and I always look forward to her books. This is another new start to a series, again set in historical times, again with a mixed race relationship. Clem runs a boarding house through the 'generosity' of his brother, and becomes close to a lodger who owns a taxidermy shop next door. They don't use the term taxidermy, did that term exist then? He's called a "stuffer". The two bond into friends over evening tea, but it eventually develops into something more. On t ...more
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
My Star
by Robert Browning

All, that I know
Of a certain star
Is, it can throw
(Like the angled spar)
Now a dart of red,
Now a dart of blue
Till my friends have said
They would fain see, too,
My star that dartles the red and the blue!
Then it stops like a bird; like a flower, hangs furled:
They must solace themselves with the Saturn above it.
What matter to me if their star is a world?
Mine has opened its soul to me; therefore I love it.

We all come from somewhere, we all have a past. A past of experience an
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
I liked both characters and setting, there was plenty of interest and it's a Charles so well written, unfortunately the whole thing fell flat. There's nothing wrong with it per se yet I struggled and found myself skimming. Rowley might enjoy anticipation but I skipped the whole of the last love scene wanting to get on with the story.

It's all very civilised. Very circumspect.

Though evenings with Tea (make mine a coffee) and a Cat do sound delightful. The story lacks sparks.

Clem appears to be on t
2 stars

This was my first book by K.J. Charles and unfortunately it was not a winner for me.
I was pretty excited to try a MM historical romance with a touch of mystery, even if it's in not my favorite genre any more.

Maybe I had too high expectations. Or it simply wasn't my cup of tea. I think the action dragged for too long. From the beginning I expected it to surprise me and it didn't. I had to wait too much for the characters to reveal their stories and background. And I really didn't connec
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 Row ...more
Kaje Harper
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is another winner from Charles, a historical mystery romance with interesting characters, a fully-realized setting, and a fun plot. I loved having Rowley be a taxidermist - unique, and with added touches in both his mundane handling of a slightly macabre trade, and the way his profession reflected oddities of the era in which the story was set. And beside him, Clem, as a quiet man with challenges, from his difficulties with handling noises and crowds, to the color of his skin, and the circu ...more

They were two such odd-shaped men, and they fit together so naturally, he and Clem...

Gah I so adored this book! No one in my eyes can replace Crane and Day, that's just a fact. But this series….. guys, this series is going to be one of my favourites! I can already tell!! This book was so much better than I was expecting. The blurb states this is a slow burn romance, but these two get together so early on and this book was all about them. The mystery was fun and exciting, but Clem
My friends' list has nothing but love for this author and book and I have a bad feeling this could be one of those "Everyone but me" moments. This is the first time I have tried this author, so I'll give it another chance but this really just did not hit the mark with me.

The synopsis starts off with stating this is a "slow-burning romance". Our couple have their first sexual experience/play/moment by chapter four; that is not my personal want from a slow-burning romance. What I do like seems to
This is my first time ever reading something from K.J. Charles and I admit it wasn’t so bad.

The blurb says this is 'a slow-burning romance and a chilling mystery' but I noticed this has more romance than mystery and it disappointed me a bit. If you know me, you know I adore good mysteries.

And I am also disappointed with the ‘slow-burn’ I guess Anyta Sunday spoiled me and I was expecting something alike of what she writes but no. Different authors, different styles, I know. My mistake.

First book of a new Victorian series from K.J. Charles ... that introduction made me really, truly excited. It's a fact that I find Charles' books to be solid read and most of the times, I find them truly enjoyable.

An Unseen Attraction is both a romance and a mystery, set in London at early 1870's. Personally, I thought Charles was able to balance it both pretty well. The book introduces us to lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer and preserver (or taxidermist, in modern term) Rowley Green - one
Maria Rose
K.J. Charles atmospheric and suspenseful Victorian romance takes us to a seemingly run of the mill area of London where tenants of a rooming house find themselves caught up in a mystery. Clem Talleyfer, a quiet and somewhat socially anxious man is content with his position managing a rooming house owned by his brother. His tenants are a mixed bag of characters, though the worst of the lot is a drunken ex-vicar whom he has to house at the insistence of his brother. The best part of his day is the ...more
I've given this an A- for narration and an A- for content at AudioGals, so that's 4.5 stars rounded up

An Unseen Attraction is the first in K.J Charles’ new Sins of the Cities trilogy of historical romantic mysteries set in the late Victorian era. She has taken as her inspiration the pulp fiction of the day; the Victorian sensation novel as penned by authors such as Wilkie Collins, Sheridan le Fanu and Mary E. Braddon. As a big fan of that particular genre, I was rubbing my hands with glee wh
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, read-2017, hr, ocd, 4-stars
4.5 stars
I love you. Such small words to make such a huge change. Not the kind of change other people had, with a wedding in fine clothes and people cheering, but a change that would do very nicely for the two of them.
This is but one example of many that showcases KJC's incredible talent; the latter part of the second sentence: "[...] but a change that would do very nicely for the two of them." Were I to write this review in German, I'd say 'unaufgeregt'. I looked it up and couldn't really find
I never in a million years thought I'd say this about one of this author's books but this was just ok. It wasn't bad, her writing was spot on as usual, but I just couldn't get into the story or either of the MC's.

Clem runs a boarding house that is owned by his older brother and he likes his job fairly well except for the rowdy, drunk lodger who he has to keep as a term of his employment. The man is horrible and is constantly disrupting the peace of their home. Clem is much more charmed by anoth
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, historical
*3,5 stars*

Impeccable writing by KJ Charles as always. Loved the gory details on preserving animals and all the depth of her world building.
Clem and Rowley are an interesting, very different pair. I don't think I have ever read a book with an Indian MC. Somehow though, these two did not rip me off my seat. I enjoyed them and the way they discover each other and what they like, but I didn't outright love them. Clem's naivety was sometimes almost a bit too much for me.
The mystery plot was also en
Joanna Loves Reading
Love the vulnerability and complexity of KJC’s stories. Loved it, though the plot was a bit crazy.
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m a recent convert to the talented writing skills of KJ Charles, my initiation being her magnificent Society of Gentleman series. I was therefore very pleased when given the opportunity to read and review An Unseen Attraction , the first in her new Sins of the City series. I admit that I approached it with a little trepidation, because not in my wildest dreams would I have believed that I could enjoy a story about a cockney Victorian taxidermist and an Anglo-Indian lodging-house keeper. I gues ...more
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, m-m, beta-hero
What a cute and lovely story. As someone on Twitter said, it's a gentle romance, and that's a great way to describe it. We have two beta heroes in love, but stand up for each other when it counts.

Clem Talleyfer is a lodging-house keeper, meaning he is in charge of a houseful of tenants - keeping them locked up safe at night, and making sure his staff keeps a clean house. His half-brother Edward, twenty years his senior, owns the house and lets Clem work in it. Edward and Clem have a frosty relat
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, historical, hot
KJ Charles is definitely an auto-buy author for me, who have not fallen off my radar. Her ability to create a Victorian world is impeccable. In 'An Unseen Attraction' the atmosphere of 1872 London is so palpable that you can taste the fog as it wraps around your throat. In my view, it’s very difficult to think of London without its fog. As a foreign traveler when I visit London I expect to find it wreathed in fog all the time. That is, of course, an image I've picked up from various other noveli ...more
h o l l i s
While I haven't been reading this author for very long I have devoured almost everything I can get my hands on, while dragging out the joy on one particular series, and can unequivocally say I'm a huge fangirl. There hasn't been a novel, novella or bonus freebie scene by Charles that I haven't loved.. until now.

AN UNSEEN ATTRACTION was pretty hard to get through. There is a host of unpleasant characters, one in particular who has left of trail of terrible deeds, a slow-ish moving plot, a convol
Andrea AKA Catsos Person
MMRG Team Bingo Week 6: Scarred MC

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.

Dull Guys Need Love Too!

I’m a big fan of K.J. Charles’s work, but her writing, story-telling sk
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars!

I really enjoyed this book! It was the first book in a trilogy that, given this beginning, is sure to be an exciting one!

Clem was not your average lodging-house keeper and Rowley not your average lodger & Preserver. These two struck up a friendship which led to mutual attraction and finally intimate relations. To say Clem couldn't take a hint would be an understatement. But this had less to do with him being obtuse and more to do with who he was as a person. He was often misundersto
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Good, original plot for this historical romance.
I liked how Clem and Rowley were not perfect, but they were perfect for each other.
The mystery was decently put together and worked well.
There were sexy times for these two, but they were so respectful and formal with each other that the sex was not very steamy to me.
It has a HFN ending with a sort of cliffhanger. The story will continue with one of the secondary characters, Nathaniel, and another man that's briefly mentioned in the book
☙ nemo ❧ (pagesandprozac)
(view spoiler)

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M/M and Queer Rom...: * March/April BotM - An Unseen Atrraction 9 25 Jun 02, 2017 11:59AM  

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KJ is a writer of romance, mostly m/m, historical or fantasy or both. She blogs about writing and editing at

She lives in London, UK, with her husband, two kids, and a cat of absolute night.

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Other books in the series

Sins of the Cities (3 books)
  • An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities, #2)
  • An Unsuitable Heir (Sins of the Cities, #3)

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