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Aubrey & Lindsey #1

Mr Warren's Profession

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Lindsey Althorp, the only son of a wealthy baronet, has never worked a day in his life. Aubrey Warren was born in a workhouse and hasn’t stopped working since.

When Lindsey wins a textile mill in a game of cards, he falls at first sight for the assistant clerk, Aubrey. Lindsey is certain that Aubrey is the Achilles to his Patroclus, the David to his Jonathan. Yet Aubrey, unaccustomed to affection, refuses to be a kept man—though he isn’t immune to Lindsey’s considerable charm.

Buoyed by Lindsey's optimism and fuelled by Aubrey's industry, the two men strive to overcome the class gulf between them. But a horrific accident reveals a betrayal that threatens to tear them apart forever.

414 pages, ebook

First published June 7, 2017

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About the author

Sebastian Nothwell

6 books178 followers
Sebastian Nothwell writes queer romance. When he is not writing, he is counting down the minutes until he is permitted to return to writing. He is absolutely not a ghost and definitely did not die in 1895.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 104 reviews
Profile Image for Elena.
823 reviews79 followers
July 18, 2019
I like historical, but mainly I like historical written by people who lived at the time they wrote about. Since the past few years I’ve read mostly m/m romances, historical isn’t my go-to genre at the moment.
Still, there are a few contemporary m/m authors I trust to deliver a good historical without giving their characters modern speech and mentality and other similar anachronisms, while at the same time giving them a realistic, satisfying happy ending. I don’t want to read about society crushing people’s happiness, but I don’t want to see the real obstacles and dangers same-sex couples had to deal with in the past (please, let me believe somewhere at least it’s all in the past) magically disappearing either, just because a romance reader must have a happy ending.

So, historical is a tricky sub-genre for me and I usually stick with the authors I know. But. This book first attracted my attention when I saw it “compared” (associated?) with North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I love that book and the idea of an m/m version of it was so intriguing, that not even Mr Warren’s Profession’s cover could dissuade me from giving this a try.

If you have read Gaskell’s book, Mr Warren’s Profession doesn’t have that much in common with it, but there are some loose similarities, mainly in the atmosphere at the mill. The fact that they differ so much is not a good nor a bad thing, it just is and I’m only mentioning it because the association with Gaskell’s book played a major role in my choice to read this book.
Despite being both similarly set in an industrial town, roughly in the same period, with one of the MCs being a mill’s owner in both books (although that’s about the only thing John Thornton and Lindsey Althorp have in common. If I were forced to find any similarity, I would say Aubrey is the one with more traits in common with John Thornton), the social and political themes very marginally touched upon on this book are central in North and South.
Not even the difference in social classes is comparable, at least as far as I can tell. Where the obstacle to John Thornton and Margaret Hale’s relationship was a combination of different mindsets, prejudices, external circumstances, and some misunderstanding, Lindsey and Aubrey latched onto each other from the start and their main problem was, aside from the obvious fact that they can’t be openly together, their difference in social standings, which would make any public friendship between them look out of place and raise suspiscious.
Which brings me to the main issue I have with this book.

I can’t go as far as saying that the characters underestimate the risks and don’t acknowledge the danger of discovery, but...yeah, in a way they actually do. Also, almost every secondary character seemed to take the notion of same-sex relationship in stride, showing an openness of mind that I find more fitting to a contemporary setting. It wasn’t so completely unrealistic that I couldn’t buy it, but there was a sort of carelessness in the way that aspect was treated, even if on the other hand dangers and risks were very real, and got acknowledged and taken into consideration at every turn.

I’m sure my explanation is of no help at all, unless you’ve read the book, but that’s the only way I can describe it. I don’t know exactly why or how, but it worked anyway.
Maybe it’s as simple as me being used to see these sort of things handled in a certain way by the other authors I mentioned before, so this way didn’t seem as likely to me.
Or maybe the good in the book made up for it. There is a lot of good in this book, even if you wouldn’t say so going by my review so far.
The characters, for example. The MCs were a refreshing change from the usual types. I loved Aubrey especially, with his humble origins, his almost desperate dedication to his work, his pride and tenacity, his grim humor, his curiosity and passion for technological innovation. He had such a quiet dignity to himself, so strong and vulnerable at the same time, I really felt for him and wanted to wrap him in cotton every time he had to struggle through something.
Lindsey was the perfect counterbalance for him, even if, to use Aubrey’s words, “Lindsey’s naïveté was as dangerous as it was charming.” He had more than his share of moments, though, and they just fit perfectly together, I really liked their dynamic.

This book also has a good cast of secondary characters. I wanted to set some of them on fire by the end of the book, but in general they kept me on my toes. They were complex enough that I couldn’t predict on which side each of them would end up being, so there were some good and some bad surprises.

The writing is a mix of great and not-so-good. The not-so-good is very minor compared to the great and mostly due to some passages with very short sentences, used to describe the character’ actions, that gave the narrative a kind of robotic quality to it. It wasn’t often, or maybe I just got used to it after a while.
Another not-so-minor issue was the use of some expressions that were out of place. I can’t imagine a British saying “stop being an ass” and, spelling aside, I certainly can’t imagine him saying it at the end of the 19th century. This was the most glaring case of anachronism I could spot in the characters’ way of speaking, though. There might be others but they weren’t obvious to me, so I could close an eye and enjoy the rest.
Especially since there was a lot to enjoy, this author has some turns of phrase that I really liked.
An example:
Though they were of a like age, only Smith carried the aura of youthful vitality. Aubrey, meanwhile, seemed to have died at twenty or so and somehow kept on with the bookkeeping.
And Aubrey's reply to his colleague asking what Lindsey was like, after their very first meeting:
“He’s quite tall,” Aubrey elaborated. In fact, he thought Mr Althorp bore strong resemblance to a lamp post. A tall, narrow pole topped with bright blond curls like a yellow gas flame.
Why doesn't it surprise me that he's an aspiring engineer? :D
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 72 books2,481 followers
March 17, 2019
I really enjoyed this historical romance about a young man in Victorian England who worked his way up from the lowest poverty to a respectable clerkship, only to have an infatuated, sweet, clueless nobleman threaten to both topple his life, and infinitely enrich it.

Aubrey Warren is working as a clerk in a textile mill. He's good at the job, very diligent, and used to covering for the other worthless clerk who's there riding on family ties. Aubrey has done wonders, rising from his birth to a workhouse pauper to this post, and although he's not deeply happy, he's quite content. He's valued by his supervisor, and can afford a small, clean if not comfortable lodging room. His preference for men (and a past in which that sometimes brought him money) are locked carefully away where they can't damage this precious respectability he has eked out at last.

Then wealthy nobleman Lindsey Althorp wins the mill in a card game, and shows up to inspect his winnings. From the moment Lindsey sees Aubrey at his desk, ebony-haired and small and stunningly handsome, he's deeply smitten. In fact, Lindsey's life is changed because suddenly for the first time he's aware of true desire for someone, and that his desire is for a man, and probably always has been. Lindsey's a sweet, honest, simple soul and although he knows that being an invert is a risky thing, to be kept secret and hidden, he hasn't thought about it before, and now in the first heat of first passion, he can't make himself be properly restrained. His desire to see Aubrey and talk to him and spend time with him drives every moment, and he rushes in indiscreetly.

Aubrey definitely knows that spending time with Lindsey is a big risk. He's very well aware of what can happen to men like them, even noblemen. But the sunshine of Lindsey's regard is hard to resist, and Lindsey's wild delight feels cruel to repress. Aubrey finds himself trying to walk a line between rejecting the best thing that has ever happened to him, and walking a path toward disaster.

This story was sweet, and sometimes emotional, and the historical context was fun. A lot of historical details appeared that were unfamiliar to me and clearly well researched, (like the Cleveland Street scandal). The writing style appealed to me a lot, and the secondary characters were distinct personalities, including strong female characters. The resolution was perhaps a bit neat, with more acceptance from more characters than one might envision for the time and place. But in all, this was a lovely addition to historical M/M stories, and I immediately picked up the short follow-up novella.
Profile Image for BevS.
2,689 reviews2 followers
October 7, 2021
4.25 stars from me. I really enjoyed the author's writing and most of the characters 😉. It looks as though US authors writing what would, at first glance, appear to be historical novels set in the UK, seem to be gaining in popularity....unfortunately, that isn't always a good thing; believe me, some of them are very Mills & Boon and absolutely riddled with errors. This story however is not one of those....

The two MC's, Aubrey and Lindsey, meet in the office where Aubrey works, which happens to be situated in the same Manchester mill Lindsey has just won in a card game. I loved both MC's: Aubrey was the poor workhouse boy who'd had to make his own way in the world, doing some things that were deemed to be against the law just to keep himself fed and clothed; Lindsey was the very sheltered son of a member of the aristocracy who appeared to be trying to earn his father's approval for most things it seemed. The story-line includes skulduggery and blackmail, and right up until nearly the end of the story, I thought that the villain of the piece was going to get away with everything....

I have to congratulate the author on this self-pubbed effort, and for doing a shit-ton of research to put the story together - digging up facts about textile mills, workers rights, workhouses, gay brothels, the telegraph boys involved in the Cleveland Street scandal and laws which made gross indecency a crime [the Labouchere Amendment]; bravo for putting all of that together into a very credible story-line. Sadly, he then rather spoils things by letting silly little niggles creep into the story e.g. black walnut furniture in various residences is mentioned all of the time; however, most of the furniture in the UK around that time [1890's] would surely have been mahogany or oak, not black walnut [which I believe is native to the US], and I'm more or less certain that Aubrey couldn't have kept travelling down to London or Wiltshire by train from Manchester...he simply wouldn't have been able to afford it, wages being what they were at that time. A few typos did manage to creep in, and the usage of American words for UK e.g. prybar for crowbar were also a little strange, and had the story been properly edited, one would've expected a competent editor to pick these tiny errors up.

For all that, thanks to Tess for the original review which made me pick this up, and I will be keeping an eye out for this author from now on.
Profile Image for Joyfully Jay.
7,290 reviews412 followers
January 2, 2018
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.75 stars

This was such a fun and enjoyable read. Mr. Warren Profession hit all my happy buttons right from the beginning. The historical aspect is very well done and the author does a fantastic job of describing the life of the working class near the turn of the twentieth century. There is never an extensive amount of information dumped on the reader at any one time, but instead the historical aspect of Mr. Warren’s Profession is integrated with an excellent finesse. There is a natural style to the writing that lends itself to a relaxing easiness that I absolutely appreciated.

The main characters are really the driving heart behind this book. Aubrey works a grueling job that provides little pay and has even less room for advancement, but he considers himself fortunate compared to others. His exasperation with Lindsey’s naïveté regarding the real world is credible without feeling excessive. He’s a dedicated man whose devotion to learning matches Lindsey’s own without seeming out of character. Lindsey is a bit of a boob, but a sweet one, and his devotion to Aubrey is absolute. We get just as frustrated with him as Aubrey, but there is no malice in him. He is simply a man who has more money than experience. There is a strong cast of secondary characters, three of whom are empowered women who serve as champions, but do so under the historical realities forced upon them. There is a sinister antagonist who seems comically evil at times, but it is relatively easy to ignore this character’s excessiveness because the others are so strong.

Read Sue’s review in its entirety here.

Profile Image for Pingmg.
474 reviews18 followers
September 9, 2022
This was such a lovely surprise! So thankful to Sebastian Nothwell for giving me a chance to read his book.

Right from the beginning, this novel sucked me in, the story and characters kept me hooked and gave me those good achy feelings. I loved that first kiss between Lindsey and Aubrey, it made me all mushy inside. At the same time, their sexual chemistry was so hot! I wanted to reread those parts again and again. I just love it whenever they’re together. Sebastian Nothwell has a gift with words, no doubt about it.

The world-building and side characters were colorful and the details given left me feeling like I was there experiencing it with them.
It was lovely to see the women in their lives portrayed as strong and intelligent given their circumstances and status during this period. Men loving men at that time was so very dangerous, but we see both Aubrey and Lindsey carefully navigating through it and finding themselves capable of going beyond their comfort zones and trusting each other. Everything felt natural, Aubrey and Lindsey’s past was gradually introduced, and it was cleverly incorporated into the story. It came complete with a bit of angst and heartache but all so worth it in the end.
Simply put, It's a splendid romance between two people who were divided by class but brought together by love, it will definitely leave you feeling warm and sweet.

I’ve already 1-clicked book 2 (and SN’s other works as well), can’t get enough of Aubrey & Lindsey.❤️
Profile Image for Gerbera_Reads.
1,381 reviews125 followers
June 5, 2020
This was a very interesting historical romance, unlike any other I've read to date. It had all the required elements to make it a wonderful story. The MCs from different society classes, angst and painful past, villain that was so subtly crafted that when revealed made the story so intense, and the resolution that was smart and on par with time period. This is not a steamy romance in a usual sense. It did have intimate scenes but they stemmed from emotional ties that both men developed. But that does not mean they were less s*exy. One has to be quite inventive and write with certain flair to create time period intimate moments because all the modern trappings can not be used.

Despite the class difference and different upbringing both Lindsey and Aubrey find love and devotion in each others arms. Aubrey is the ultimate survivor - from poor workhouse to a mill clerk with a possibility to become an engineer. He is a workaholic for he knows that he has no one to rely on even if he had someone to trust. I understood his hesitation when met with Lindsey pursuit, I absolutely understood they ways he distanced himself as if to protect what little he had. But when he gave in, he was so attentive, gentle and caring with Lindsey. It required great fortitude to survive the pain, at times humiliation and accept helping hand when offered. I admired Aubrey's self reliance but was happy when he loosened up enough to be at peace with things he could not change.

What I liked about this particular story was that it didn't over romanticized the clandestine ways men had to hide their love. If there had to be a fiancee and then a wife then she was kind and was treated with respect. There was no convenient way or simple solution. The hurdles both men had to overcome at times felt insurmountable, but the author managed them adroitly.

Lindsey despite being a pampered naive aristocrat was kind, intelligent and had a heart of gold. He had a bevy of friends and relations that were meddlesome and at times did more harm than good. It took him a while to figure things out and stand up for himself, but stand up for himself he did. I am glad to say that he showed himself steadfast, loyal and brave in the end. At the beginning of the book I didn't think he had it in him.

I am happy to say that the villain surprised me. There were no adventures or chases but such cruel subterfuge, so much pressure on Lindsey and Aubrey's feelings and circumstances that I got tense myself and couldn't put the book down. I felt compelled to know how the author would solve the problem. He held it over their heads till the very end. Well done, that was! I liked the realistic way the author wrote the narrative. I definitely want more of Aubrey and Lindsey, such a likable couple!
Profile Image for Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~.
1,519 reviews97 followers
January 11, 2020
This had a lot going for it, but it had almost too much going on, though written at a sedate pace.

There were several times I had to stop and put this down for a bit because it was boring me or going off on unexpected tangents. Every time I thought I knew what this book was doing, it would take a sharp left turn and go meandering down another path. That made it hard to get into the flow or stay in the flow once I was in it.

It started off extremely endearing and sweet. Aubrey, lowly senior clerk of Rook Mill, catches the eye of its new owner, Sir Lindsey, who won the mill in a game of chance. Lindsey was almost too innocent and naive at the start, and even after learning why that may be the case, it still felt too unreal that anyone growing up at that time would be that ignorant of social class differences and the consequences of being so transparent with his affections, and it pulled me out of the story a few times.

There was some interesting commentary on what it was like to grow up poor in Industrial England, and it's not often that historical romance pays much attention to the lower classes, so I did like that. Aubrey's got a bit of a shady past, and he's cautious of getting too involved with Lindsey, so it wasn't too insta-lovey. There was some interesting stuff going on with the mill and the female workers, but that was largely dropped until convenient. Then the story shifts into thriller territory a little bit, and that takes up most of the second half. The execution of that didn't really work for me. I can see what the author was going for, and mostly succeeded at, but given that Still, I was curious how it would get resolved, so I kept reading and was mostly rewarded.

What I liked was that the ending was more realistic of what you'd expect for this time period, unlike many M/M historical romances. And I really liked Emmeline. I never warmed to Rowena and kind of borderline tolerated her presence in the story.

I guess in the end I just wanted more of what I liked and less of what I didn't like. Some tighter editing to get rid of the excess wouldn't have hurt either.
Profile Image for Caz.
2,619 reviews992 followers
May 18, 2022
4.5 stars Read for the May 2022 TBR Challenge.

For the Tales of Old prompt, I went for the obvious and picked up an historical romance I’ve been meaning to read for ages.  Mr. Warren’s Profession is set at the end of the nineteenth century and is as much about the difficulties of two people from very different ends of the social spectrum being together as it is about the problems inherent in a relationship between two men at that time.  It’s well written – despite a few Americanisms – and obviously well-researched, the wealth of background detail carefully integrated into the story in order to create a wonderfully strong sense of time and place.

Aubrey Warren works as a clerk at a textile mill in Manchester.  He’s very good at his job, extremely diligent and hard-working – and used to doing the work of two since the other office clerk is lazy and only has the job because of his family connections.  But Aubrey is at least content – and doesn’t expect happiness.  He’s come from nothing – he was brought up in the workhouse – to a responsible position that provides him with income enough to live decently, if not well, and has dreams of one day becoming an engineer. His quiet and unassuming life is suddenly blown apart by the appearance of Lindsey Althorp, the son of a baronet, who has won the mill in a card game, and who actually takes an interest in the place, much to Aubrey’s surprise.

Lindsey had no idea of becoming involved in the business of the mill, but that changes the moment he lays eyes on the beautiful, dark-eyed clerk sitting at a desk in the office and is immediately smitten.  It’s a defining moment for Lindsey;  for the first time in his life, he feels a true and strong desire for another person, and like a bolt from the blue, it crystallises the truth – that he is, and always has been, attracted to men.  He’s well aware that’s something that must be hidden, but in the first flush of infatuation, in his overwhelming desire to see and spend time with Aubrey, Lindsey behaves less than discreetly – requesting several tours of the factory and anything else he can think of that will put him into Aubrey’s company.

While Aubrey is every bit as attracted to Lindsey as Lindsey is to him, he tries hard to distance himself, and it’s easy to understand why. He knows full well that Lindsey’s marked attention to him could have serious repercussions and knows how easy it would be for him to lose even the little he has should anyone suspect where his interest lies.  The precariousness of his situation as someone of lower social standing, without family or other support system is well articulated and well-contrasted with Lindsey’s; a relationship with another man would be risky for both of them, but Lindsey has the ‘safety net’ of family, wealth and title that Aubrey does not.  But Lindsey’s warmth, enthusiasm and sheer joy in their connection are hard to resist; it’s been a long time since he’s allowed himself to feel just about anything - and before long, Aubrey can’t find it in him to deny himself the happiness he longs for.

While Aubrey and Lindsey get together somewhat quickly, there’s still plenty of relationship development going on and there’s no denying the strength of the love and affection they find in each other.  They’re from completely different worlds, but Lindsey is so wonderfully supportive of Aubrey and wants the world for him; and Aubrey, once he allows himself to love Lindsey, does so with his whole heart.  As I said at the beginning, the historical context here is well-done, with full acknowledgement of the risks of pursuing a homosexual relationship at this time, and the class difference between the two principals just makes things even more difficult. Men of equal status spending time together in public would not have been looked at askance, but a baronet’s son and a lowly clerk?  Very suspicious indeed.

So there are, of course, a lot of obstacles in the way of their HEA, from interfering and well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) friends, to a jealous and ill-intentioned colleague to a villainous blackmail plot.  There’s loss and heartbreak, but the author pulls everything together with great skill to reach a very satisfying conclusion in which Aubrey and Lindsey get their well-deserved HEA (and the villain gets his equally deserved comeuppance!)

There’s a strongly characterised secondary cast and lots of fascinating historical detail, ranging from the Cleveland Street Scandal and the Post Office boys, to advances in engineering, the work of the mill and incipient worker’s rights, in such a way that it never feels didactic or info-dump-y. However, there were a few things that stretched my credulity a bit -  for example, Lindsey’s father and sister realising he was an ‘invert’ before he did and his father’s plan to ‘protect’ him from that knowledge by not sending him off to Eton, and his sister’s habit of employing handsome, similarly inclined footmen so Lindsey could, er, sow his wild oats discreetly!  Then there’s the ease and frequency with which the characters travel between London and Manchester by train, seemingly just to spend the day there (Google tells me it takes between two and two-and-a-half hours now, but it must have been more than that back then?) and not only that, but surely Aubrey couldn’t have afforded to travel between Manchester and London and Wiltshire (where Lindsey owns a house) so often.

In the end, however, those are fairly minor concerns, more ‘things I noticed’ than ‘things that spoiled the book for me’.  Mr. Warren’s Profession is an enjoyable historical romance filled with interesting period detail, and Aubrey and Lindsey are a likeable couple who are easy to root for.  I really enjoyed their growth as characters and as a couple, together with the story’s focus on their deepening emotional connection and how they surmount the obstacles on their path to happiness.  If you’ve enjoyed books by KJ Charles and Joanna Chambers, I’d definitely suggest giving this one a try.
Profile Image for WhatAStrangeDuck.
474 reviews35 followers
February 20, 2019
Good historical romance from a new author. I didn't go in with very high expectations but I was pleasantly surprised by this book. There are few books that actually have working class characters and present a realistic view of England during the industrial revolution.

I liked the characters (Lindsey is a bit clueless but what a dear) and all in all it was a pretty solidly put together story. A bit of streamlining wouldn't have gone amiss but I still highly recommend it for people who like historical romances.
Profile Image for Lou.
8 reviews5 followers
July 27, 2017
Mr Warren's Profession is a compelling, beautifully written, and heartfelt romance which features all of your favorite Victorian tropes (romance complicated by class! complex social rituals! repressed emotions!)

Sebastian Nothwell has a way of describing things that immediately conjure vivid images in your mind and a knack for creating complex and complete characters that you can't help but adore.
Profile Image for Tess.
1,828 reviews26 followers
October 17, 2017
4.5 stars

If you like Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton and North and South AND if you enjoy m/m romance, I'm pretty sure this will be right up your alley. I really loved this look at 1890s industrial Manchester and the class divide at the time. The romance is very lovely too, although these guys have to go through a lot to get their HEA!
Profile Image for Anwen Hayward.
Author 2 books296 followers
December 30, 2019
Truly cannot believe I just read a 400 page book called 'Mr Warren's Profession' in one sitting, but there you go. It's 2.40am so it's too late for regrets. This one was fun and had wistful looks across crowded rooms, engineering jargon, and textiles. I don't know what more you could possibly want from a romance novel.
Profile Image for UnusualChild{beppy}.
2,103 reviews46 followers
May 30, 2019
5 stars

Lindsey is the son of nobility, and wins a mill in a card game with a friend. He goes to check out his mill, and becomes immediately enamoured with one of the two secretaries, Aubrey Warren. Lindsey leaves the mill determined to find out everything there is to know about it, in order to sound knowledgeable when he goes back to the mill. And go back, he does. He visits the mill quite often, in fact, trying to get to know Aubrey. Then he makes a slight pass at Aubrey, and things take off from there.
Aubrey was raised in workhouses, and he is doing everything he can to not go back to one. That includes many unsavoury things in the past, and is partly how he got a job at the mill in the first place. When Lindsey makes it clear that he is interested, Aubrey is hesitant, because things could go very badly for him if anyone catches on. He does like Lindsey, though, so he decides to take a chance. They get to know each other well, and things are coming along fine when tragedy strikes. Aubrey and Lindsey have to figure out where they go in the new reality, but they know that they want to go there together.

Lindsey was such a positive character, happy, and believing the best about everyone. He was almost naive, but in the best definition of the word. He just hadn't come in contact with anyone or anything bad, and was very sheltered, by both his family and friends. But he has inner strength, and when he is tested, he definitely stands up, rather than folding.
Aubrey has had a tough life, but there is love and nobility to him. He does what he can to help, even to his detriment. He knows that the world is a cruel, hard place, but he keeps working to better himself, and he doesn't look at everyone through jaded eyes.
The build in relationship between Aubrey and Lindsey felt authentic, and I liked how well they got to know one another. They supported each other through good and bad, and make each other stronger and more willing to fight.
The supporting characters were strong, and if some of them didn't act the way the reader might want them to, or the way Lindsey expected them to, it just made them seem more human. Overall, this was a very pleasant surprise, and I definitely want to read more by this author.
Profile Image for Chiara D'Agosto.
Author 3 books52 followers
April 19, 2021
This book is far from perfect. But I don't care! Because I fell head over heels with Aubrey and Lindsey and I love them and I want them to be safe and happy :D

Especially Aubrey, he had my heart from the start. I am very very weak for proud characters, especially if that pride is brought on by a lifetime of hard work under the direst possible circumstances.

Lovely historical setting as well, very vivid not only in the description of Manchester and London in Victorian times, but also regarding the science and the engineering and the discoveries.

A little hard on the hurt/comfort towards the end but that's just my personal preference.
Bonus points for all the nice side characters (not the evil ones!), especially Emmeline and CHARLES pls give me a book with Charles as a MC I beg of you Mr. Nothwell!
And also I am dying to read the story of Holloway and Graves. Like, noble and painter? I'm all yours.
Profile Image for Aussie54.
299 reviews6 followers
January 11, 2018
I loved this. "Mr Warren's Profession" has everything I love about reading ... an absorbing plot line, engaging characters, and very good writing.

Historical romances are one of my favourite genres, and I found the time period, with its clothing and societal mannerisms, captivating. (After Googling, I learned what a Wardian case is.) The Manchester cotton milling held my attention, with Sebastian Nothwell’s writing style providing a good visual reading experience. The story unrolled like a film in my mind as I read.

I loved Lindsey and Aubrey. Well-born Lindsey is particularly naive and sweet, but has a spine, showing gumption when needed. He’s a lovely man. Aubrey has a much harsher background, which shapes his personality. However, he and Lindsey fit together perfectly, with only a few misunderstandings and mishaps along the way. Lindsey’s love for Aubrey is steadfast and true, and despite his misgivings, Aubrey returns that love. There are a few angsty moments, just enough to be realistic, but none of these upsets last too long; the men are firmly back on track before I became irritated with the story.

I also loved the strong female presence. Lindsey’s sister Rowena has a positive effect on his life, although at times it’s easy to see why Lindsey resents her interference. Aubrey’s friendship with Emmeline Rook, the sister of one of Lindsey’s oldest friends, is refreshing. Underneath her quiet, mousey exterior is the sharp mind of an engineer. I enjoyed watching their friendship develop, while seeing Emmeline’s personality grow with the encouragement of Rowena, Lindsey and Aubrey.

The only slight niggle I had was in the ending, , but overall, this was an extremely enjoyable reading experience. 5 stars
Profile Image for Leta Blake.
Author 60 books1,425 followers
May 7, 2019
Did enjoy and do recommend. :)
Profile Image for AngelFire.
652 reviews19 followers
July 31, 2022
DNF @ 46%

While the historical authenticity of the physical things (furniture, clothes, food etc) were well done, this story felt like a convoluted mess in terms of storytelling and characterization.

Why is nearly everyone gay in this story?? It makes no sense. If characters are meeting up in places that specifically cater to a gay clientele, then it would make sense. But the characters are family members, school friends, co-workers etc so it makes no sense that nearly all of them are gay. The author uses the old 'boys at an all-boys school might sexually experiment with each other' trope and while I don't mind that...I do mind if characters imply that EVERY SINGLE student at the school was engaging in homosexual sexy times.

And the few characters who aren't gay are extremely accepting of homosexuality, to the point where nobody bats an eye lid if male characters flirt with each other in public, visit each other's homes with the clear intention of having sexy times and invite their boyfriends to formal dinner parties. It was absurd.

I also hated the way the characterization for many characters randomly changed, depending on what plot idea popped into the author's head. For example, the story starts with Lindsey having a crush on Aubrey when first meeting him and then slowly ramping up his flirting efforts over time, which culminates in Lindsey putting his hand on Aubrey's leg in way that clearly communicated what he wanted. But later, we learn that Lindsey was kept so sheltered by his father (who apparently could tell that his son was the most gay of all the gays from the time he was a toddler - a fact that wasn't supported by the narrative) that Lindsey has no idea he's actually gay...? His sister has hired a staff full of homosexual men (how the hell did she know that they're gay??) in order to give Lindsey a controlled outlet for his supposedly uncontrollable homosexuality...except he never took advantage because he didn't realize they're gay or that he's gay. We're told he's a complete innocent who doesn't know anything about sexuality...yet he was the one who flirted with Aubrey and came onto him. Make it make sense!

Another example: Aubrey is having an argument with a co-worker. The co-worker knows Aubrey has been doing both of their duties for ages and he acknowledges that Aubrey is very good at bookkeeping. But in the next sentence, he's accusing Aubrey of not having the required knowledge and getting his job by sleeping with his male boss? Once again - this made no sense, it was contradictory and of course, the boss is gay because that's how this book works.

I also hated that the author slowly turned Lindsey from just being ignorant of certain things outside of his class to making him child-like to a point where he was acting like a toddler. I really liked that he had no idea how certain parts of his own privileged life were strange and discomforting to Aubrey. I thought this would be a great opportunity for them to learn about each other's lives.

But then Lindsey got more and more child-like as the story progressed. Before long, he was treating Aubrey like a toy, something he wanted just because he though Aubrey was pretty. He did things like demand that Aubrey be invited to a formal dinner and he ignored his sister and friends when they pointed out how Aubrey would be uncomfortable and ostracized. Lindsey didn't care because he wanted Aubrey there because Aubrey is a shiny new toy that Lindsey liked playing with. Then I was even more appalled when Lindsey ignored Aubrey for most of the dinner, not caring that he's clearly uncomfortable and having no idea what to do. Then Aubrey got sick because he wasn't used to eating that much rich food and Aubrey is so embarrassed by the whole thing that he would rather have Lindsey's valet take care of him than Lindsey. It emphasized that Lindsey's feelings for Aubrey weren't genuine affection and that Lindsey had no idea how his actions were hurting Aubrey. It was incredibly off putting because this was so much more than Lindsey being naïve. This was him acting like a clueless child who didn't have the maturity to engage in a serious romantic relationship.

I also got annoyed that the author kept jumping to new plotlines randomly. According to reviews, this crazy pattern of introducing plotlines and then dropping them continues.

I'm really disappointed because I loved the whole mill plotline and I thought Lindsey and Aubrey would bond as Lindsey decides to take his new ownership position seriously. Unfortunately, the lack of a coherent plot and the random characterization changes mean this isn't for me.
Profile Image for Cristina.
Author 23 books88 followers
April 11, 2021
I've had Sebastian Nothwell's Mr Warren's Profession in my Kindle for a while and I now regret not reading it any sooner.

It's been a delightful surprise, that kept me hooked to the pages as if I was reading a 19th century's serial full with plot twists, cliff-hangers, forbidden loves and villains.

The aristocratic, eccentric and generous Lindsey Althorp falls head-over-heels for Aubrey Warren, a lowly clerk working in the mill Lindsey has just won gambling with a friend.

The trope of the insta-love is played by Nothwell in a clever fashion by making Lindsey the kind of character driven by an innocent and endearing enthusiasm. His blunders when dealing at first with Aubrey (e.g. giving him absurd gifts or asking pointless questions without realising the social chasm between them) makes him a sort of lovable fool. There's a darkness however surrounding him and

Aubrey Warren is Lindsey's perfect counterpart. Aubrey is wary and extremely reluctant in relinquishing control and trust someone besides himself. When faced by Lindsey's interest, he reacts through dissimulation and retreat.

The push and pull between the characters is also effective because it's not based on unnecessary miscommunication - I've found refreshing the scenes where Aubrey and Lindsey express their inner thoughts and fears to each other to try and take further their tentative relationship. Once they finally get together, their relationship is equal parts support, friendship, trust and sexual attraction.

The characters surrounding them provide a solid cast of friends and foe. Emmeline Rook is particularly surprising, whilst Rowena, Lindsey's sister, is ambiguous enough to provide some narrative tension and suspicion when it comes to her motivations and actions.

The sense of location is strong and convincing. Manchester in the full swing of the Industrial Revolution is vivid and loud, but I also appreciated the pockets of quiet provided by Lindsey's Wiltshire mansion and by the various well-stocked libraries he possesses in his multiple houses.

The writing is overall solid and engaging - there are a few drops in tone but the tension remains consistently high and there are some very nice touches of understated irony that add an interesting layer to the story.

A thoroughly delightful novel, which I don't hesitate to recommend if you enjoy well-written historical novels with nicely-rounded and sympathetic characters.
Profile Image for Frankie.
464 reviews120 followers
April 2, 2021


3.5 stars

3 stars isn’t a bad rating. This is exactly what I needed—a fun historical romance that made me giggle, swoon, and do nothing but read all day. I’m super charmed by both protagonists. We’ve got a classic rich and poor, employer and employee relationship complete with naive Golden Retriever Gentleman meets stiff, sullen, no-nonsense brunet.

They fall into bed a little fast, but lots of matters conspire to keep them apart. It’s historical romance; you know what to expect: difference in station, the scandal of it, disapproving family and friends, etc.

One thing I was pleasantly surprised by is how overt the queerness is? Well, obviously it’s Victorian England so homosexuality is very much illegal... But Lindsay’s family and friends love him and aim to protect him, his sister is implied to have a girlfriend of her own, and the author outright discusses the things that history likes to gloss over. Public school boyhood romances, gentleman’s clubs, male prostitution, relationships that are discreet. Society’s deadly, criminalized homophobia is treated with the gravity it deserves... but man, I love how Nothwell didn’t brush all this under the rug.

My rambling aside, my main reason for rating this 3 is due to lack of editing. First off, I don’t know if Scribd messed up the formatting or not... But there are no scene breaks. Every time we’d switch POVs I was soo confused at how sudden it was. I also spotted a few typos.

Second, the plot is honestly all over the place. Random things kept happening and they could have benefited from better transitions. The villain was cartoonishly obvious, but meh.

Despite that, it was a cute read! I will continue onto the sequel. I want to see more of Aubrey and Lindsay ❤️❤️
Profile Image for peach.
416 reviews24 followers
March 24, 2022
I really liked this book, and it was mostly because of Aubrey and Lindsey. They were two very loveable characters in a book with a lot of unlikeable people and I really wanted them to get their happy ending. I sympathized a lot with them and their issues, and felt that the book did a very good job balancing their relationship despite their class differences. The book dragged a bit in the middle and the ending felt a bit quick, but the writing was really lovely and fit the genre well. A really nice read.
Profile Image for Mercutio.
32 reviews16 followers
August 9, 2017
An absolutely delightful read- steeped in a very lively, sensually real sense of place and time. Clearly thoroughly and lovingly researched; has the vibrancy a period-romance ought to have.

The dialogue feels natural, the characters all fascinating in their own ways, the plot is both tense and sweet, and dangit, it's just a fine book.
Profile Image for Stacey.
119 reviews5 followers
December 4, 2021
Lovely and very realistic (in terms of a romance novel) but I felt the ending was a bit rushed. I will be reading the second novel soon, so hopefully that will correct the feeling.
Profile Image for Tex Reader.
465 reviews20 followers
June 7, 2020
3.5 - Nice Contrasts of Class, Street-Wise vs. Naive, Being Gay in 1891
[Thanks to the author and Goodreads' MMRG Don't Buy My Love program for a free copy in exchange for an honest review]

This was a good period romance - kudos for the cast of characters and how the time, classes and industry was portrayed, and the romance in that day ... but that was offset a bit by it being "too romantic"? - things were just too unnecessarily and conveniently unrealistic.

Overall, Sebastian Nothwell's style flowed nicely, had a decent, if uneven, pace, and expertly depicted the times. One of the reasons I like historicals is to learn more about the period. I'm familiar with but not an expert on this period, so I put myself in the author's hands trusting that their depictions and details are accurate. Nothwell fulfilled that trust. The culture, industry and technology were described in a way that I felt I was living it. A usual trope in this historical setting was class difference, and again, Nothwell really brought out the contrasts and tension of this between the two MCs.

And a nod to another aspect of the historical setting. Nothwell made clear how one had to deal with being gay in a repressive society. I wondered at why 1891 Maybe it's related to how homophobia reached a zenith at that time - I appreciated the mention the Labouchere Amendment (1885) and what it meant in terms of the subsequent Cleveland Street scandal (which built up to the Oscar Wilde trial 4 years after this that cast a long shadow).

I liked the 2 MCs and enjoyed the secondaries. The two men were shown as human, with strengths and weaknesses, and with backgrounds that seemed realistic and created quite a contrast. And the romance was sweet with a fairly cautious build, followed by some good sex scenes. But that is where some of my issues start. I understand the street-wise vs. naive trope, but Lindsey was SO naive for someone at his age and with his upper-class experiences.

I could see that characters' motivations might be plausible, but there were exceptions. Even at the start, Lindsey's immediate pursuit of Aubrey, in hindsight, seemed out of character with what I found out later about how he had approached such matters up until then . And later, even with the prodding from another, the continued revenge leading up to a major incident seemed excessive when it appeared revenge had already been had. Which it so happens, conveniently introduced a nice twist in the story that increased the tension.

Add to that the bit too convenience of money - especially with how nice it is to have a bottomless well of wealth, where money can be used to solve all your literary problems, such as .

As an aside, I could see how some liken this to Dickens, with the class differences, but he was mid-1800s. So more to 1891, I also saw a bit of Oscar Wilde, like The Importance of Being Earnest, with its critique of society, the importance of appearance, the insensibilities, different identities and improbable circumstances.

Two authors from the 1800s that I have loved to read, so why wouldn't I at least enjoy a taste of their flavors from this author.
Profile Image for Vera Leigh.
Author 2 books13 followers
June 7, 2020
I received a copy of this book to review from the M/M Romance Goodreads group’s Don’t Buy My Love Program. What follows is my honest review:

While reading Mr.Warrens Profession, one word kept coming to mind: refreshing.

I found the main characters, Lindsey and Aubrey refreshing as well as lovable. Lindsay, the lord with all the money and social prestige, is naive and sexually inexperienced. He also gets pushed around a lot in the beginning by his father and others. Through his relationship with Aubrey, he learns to wise up and grow a backbone.

When you meet Aubrey, you would think he’s never known pleasure in his life, that he works himself to the bone for very little and hopes for very little. But there’s much more to Aubrey than you’re led to believe. And he’s also more experienced in the bedroom than your average clerk 😉 Through his relationship with Lindsey, he learns to accept the good things in life and hope for the future.

The book is set in late 19th century Manchester, right in the heart of the industrial revolution. Although there are some slow parts in the novel, with long passages about 19th-century technology, there are more than enough page-turning scenes to make up for it. The focus on technology and engineering is also integral to the plot. The 19th century isn’t just window dressing. You get the impression that the industrial revolution is an important part of who these characters are. It informs their entire world view.

The depiction of the class difference between Lindsey and Aubrey was refreshing. The book takes place during a time where homosexuality was illegal in England (Think about what happened to Oscar Wilde). And because of their class difference, it looks highly suspicious for them to be together, which draws a lot of unwanted attention. This is the book’s main conflict and it’s fascinating to see the trials Lindsey, Aubrey and the other LGBTQ characters in the book have to go through to be able to find love and happiness in a hostile society.

I also liked how the novel isn’t set up as ‘lower class character gets whisked away to upper-class utopia’. though there is some of that. It’s equally about Lindsay learning and sympathizing with the tribulations of the working class. In the end, Lindsay and several other upper-class characters get interested in the technological innovation going on around them. They use their power to better the lives of the people they’re responsible for. They realize that they can’t just sit around in their estates if they want to fully participate in life.

The love and sex scenes were sweet and enjoyable to read about. An important part of both MC’s development is learning how to accept love and affection. For Aubrey, he had been used so much by others in the past that he has trouble trusting Lindsey at first. Lindsey was sheltered in his youth. His desires were actively suppressed by his father and friends for fear of the damage it might do to his position in society. So, for Lindsey too, being with Aubrey is about charting love and desire with another person.

The love scenes are sweet and the sex scenes are hot. Always a plus.

I would give this book 4.5 stars if I could. Aside from a few slow passages in the beginning, it’s exciting, romantic, and constantly reveals unexpected turns. If you’re into mm historicals, Mr. Warren’s Profession is a must. Can't wait to read the next book in the series!
Profile Image for W.
1,432 reviews128 followers
June 25, 2019
Offer me something I cannot find in myself.

Once in a while, you read a story that captivates your attention and imagination from the very start.

One of those books that pesky little things 😏 as eating, working or answering questions from your kids and husband 😲😉 is a chore because it means , you have to stop reading and do stuff.

That book is Mr. Warren's Profession (Aubrey & Lindsey Book 1); a well researched and crafted historical MM romance story .

Sebastian Northwell wrote an original, fascinating and candid story about two gay men , from completely different social class ; who fall in love and want to be together against all odds, the law , a murder attempt and blackmail.

Lindsay is a Peer of The Realm and Audrey is a lowly clerk in a mill factory. It is set in 1891 , England, during a time where being an 'introvert', homosexual acts between men, as well , as procurement or attempted procurement of such acts, was punishable by law and up to two years' imprisonment with or without hard labour.

This author did something I would like to read more often in romance books. He did not used OTT drama to move the narrative.

Our heroes already lived during a time when being who you are , loving who you want and socializing above and/or below your socio-economic status was a struggle.
So, when 'well meaning ' family and friends tried to interfere and create conflicts between them. Aubrey and Lindsey confronted those issues and people head on. Their friendship and devotion to each other never falter. No unnecessary drama , the era and the obstacles were more than enough. Well done ,Mr. Northwell you you wrote a story were common sense and trust in the one you love , prevailed.

By now, you most realized I loved reading this unique, touching and unconventional story. My first by this author and I am very much looking forward reading all of his other books.
Profile Image for Shawna (endemictoearth).
1,686 reviews18 followers
October 12, 2019
This historical romance is very much in the style of a Gaskell novel. While the two main characters seem to connect rather quickly, it is easily understood as Lindsey is one who makes fast and firm attachments. There are quite a lot of revelations and twists and turns, but the story is very affecting and Aubrey's impassioned speech about his past and how he needs to earn his place in the world was truly moving.

Technically, this probably tracks closer to the literature of the time it is portraying, but I ever so slightly prefer historicals that have a more modern sensibility/view. Not so much as to be preposterous, but one that is a little sly/wry.

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this and commend the author for such accuracy! I plan to read the sequel in short order.
Profile Image for Sasha Ambroz.
464 reviews43 followers
April 9, 2019
You never know when life teaches you a lesson.
I was always skeptical about the imperative writing rule that protagonist must develop through the book and turn out as a changed character at the end. I thought it was unnecessary demand that makes the plot strained and artificial.
But when I read the book where both main characters don't care about each other flaws, don't have any inner moral scruples and therefore don't work them over by the end of the book - I suddenly understand why this rule is so important.
Profile Image for JD Crittendon.
1,118 reviews10 followers
March 23, 2021
Overcoming Obstacles for Love!

This is an historical tale of “like” at first sight by naïve, sheltered Sir Lindsey & office clerk Aubrey. The story incorporates betrayal, abuse, blackmail, attempted murder, death, an explosion along with the usual romance and sexy times. What’s not to love! I enjoyed the storytelling, the MCs are well developed, the co-characters enhance the tale and the protagonist was evil (a love to hate personality).
I’m a fan of Mr Sebastian Nothwell books and recommend another one ‘Hold Fast’. On to the next installment...’Throw His Heart Over’.
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