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Unfit to Print

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,221 ratings  ·  248 reviews
When crusading lawyer Vikram Pandey sets out in search of a missing youth, his investigations take him to Holywell Street, London’s most notorious address. He expects to find a disgraceful array of sordid bookshops. He doesn’t expect one of them to be run by the long-lost friend whose disappearance and presumed death he’s been mourning for thirteen years.

Gil Lawless becam
ebook, 145 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by KJC Books
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,221 ratings  ·  248 reviews

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K.J. Charles
Apr 11, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
This is a long novella (40,000 words) set in 1875, around Holywell Street, the centre of the London filth trade, and by filth I do not mean dustheaps and rubbish collection. Holywell Street and its neighbour Wych Street were where the erotica and porn was written and sold, despite the disapproval of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, and indeed the magistrates.

Gil Lawless is a bookseller and occasional writer there, making a living off smut; Vikram Pandey is an upright lawyer who'd never
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
In a nutshell: brilliant writing as per usual for K.J. Charles, a second-chance romance, and a rather interesting mystery culminating in a HFN.

I love diversity in romance novels and was happy to read about two MCs who weren't cookie-cutter white boys.

I wanted more closure, but the story was well rounded for a novella.

My rating: closer to 3.5 stars; not my favorite work of this author's by a long shot, but a fairly satisfying read.
Moony Eliver
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Moony by: Teal
4.5 stars. I’ve read an embarrassment of riches lately, an average rating much higher than my norm. But this one had something that the others didn’t, at least not to this degree. It made me outright cackle dozens of times in its short length.

A damn lot of skill and intelligence goes into writing humorously like this. Not like a stand-up comedy type thing, but rather... exposition and inner monologue presented in a way that makes you chuckle. Dialogue that has those everyday witty comebacks that
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
”You’ve really got a problem with the pictures?”
“Of course I do,” Vikram snapped. “They’re illegal, immoral, and obscene.”
“Right, but what’s bad about them?”

This novella is, to borrow a phrase from the vernacular, supes adorbs. Vikram is a repressed, do-gooding solicitor; Gil is a seller and author of dirty books who’s never met a diem he didn’t carpe. They haven’t seen each other for years, until (very movie trailer voice) one day... the last person Gil expects to see walking into his shop..
2.5 stars

Kudos to Lost in a Book and I for actually starting and finishing a BR around the same time for once.

I'm a big fan of KJ Charles. She's my go-to author for MM historical romance. And I'm incredibly happy that she shows an often unseen side of Regency/Victorian Britain - regular non-aristocratic people of colour.

Unfortunately, 'Unfit to Print' didn't quite live up to my expectations.

I loved Gil. He's unapologetic and brash. But Vik got on my nerves pretty quickly. He's judgmental and ju
Thank you very much to KJ Charles for providing a copy of her novel in exchange for an honest review.

I didn’t realise how much I needed a romance novella about Victorian pornography until I was reading one.

Unfit to Print, KJ Charles’ newest novella, features a crusading Indian lawyer, fighting for the rights of Indian people who were taken advantage of by the British; and a nonchalant pornographic bookseller, who, after being abandoned by his family in his teens, doesn’t allow himself to get clo
One of the benefits of having a favorite author from whom I can preorder books is that by the time the book comes out, I've forgotten what it's supposed to be about.

So I read this without remembering anything about the blurb -- except, maybe, dirty books? And in that blessed state of ignorance, there was a perfect turn to the story, at about 20%, that literally gave me goosebumps. Familiarity with the blurb would have denied me that awesome moment.

While I don't love all of KJC's books (none of
Lost in a Book
3 maybeish? stars

This was a just for fun read with my buddy (one of these days we are gonna get it together) Adam.

I'm not going to write up a full review on this one. My love for KJC writes isn't a secret. This isn't my favorite book in her catalog but it holds many of the elements I love about how she writes a historical M/M romance. Unfortunately, this one dragged for the first 1/3 and then the last 1/3 seemed too rushed. But man, the middle 1/3 was on point. *cackle* Anywhooo, this was a som
There were so many classic KJC elements in UNFIT TO PRINT and it reminded me of a few other her other novellas (the Rag and Bone books specifically, minus the paranormal aspects of course) but also.. better. The humour was definitely on point for this one and the diversity and representation is top notch, as we've come to expect from this fabulous author. But it was also just fun. I've not read many HR novels as of late and this was not only a delight in the sense that I, as a reader, could dive ...more
I've given this an A- at AAR, so that's 4.5 stars rounded up.

K.J. Charles always finds fresh, new angles to pursue in her stories and peoples them with characters in unusual walks of life - and her new novella, Unfit to Print, is no exception.  Set in late Victorian London, one of the protagonists is a purveyor of naughty books and has a shop in Holywell Street, which was, at that time, the centre of London’s porn trade; while the other is a somewhat uptight lawyer who views the whole business w
Roxana Chirilă
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unfortunately, Victorian pornography wasn't covered in our university's curriculum, something which I consider to be a bit of a letdown. On the other hand, it didn't cover pulps, Sherlock Holmes, or Mayhew's "London Labour and the London Poor", either, so I consider my education to be comprehensively disappointing, especially since I'm a geek and I want to know *everything*, please.

I guess that's part of the reason I'm so excited whenever I read something K.J. Charles wrote - I click with some b
Kaje Harper
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, m-m, mystery
This book gives us a different slice of historical context -Gil is getting by as a smut-purveyor in the porn industry of 1875 London (books and photos, although only books have been his wares), and Vik is a crusading lawyer who fights for underdogs, particularly Indian servants who have been done wrong. That Vik is a POC character in a very color-conscious society also adds a lot of interest, although racism is a side note not the main focus. As always with this author, there is deep authenticit ...more
When Lawyer Vikram Pandey went to Holywell Street -- known as the centre for the sale of pornography in Victorian London -- in attempt to find information about a missing Indian teenager, he never thought that he would reconnect with his childhood best friend, Gilbert Lawless, who now an owner of book store with obscene publications. Vikram always presumed that Gil passed away, after he was suddenly gone from their school...

Gilbert Lawless had lived a hard life after his father died. Cast away f
** 3.5 stars **

This is a very amusing historical novel full of naughty humor and second chances. I would call it PG-15 range. It's funny and filled with historical references, plenty sarcasm and a little bit of virginity. I loved Gil Lawless. He is unrepentant and enjoys his life to the fullest. He is vivacious and smart, a survivor. Vikram Pandey is very hard to warm up to. I actually actively disliked him almost up to 60% of the book. His sanctimonious attitude grated on my nerves. It felt lik
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely! What a joy to read diversity in a book! Both MCs were POC, one of Indian descent, the other of African.

I enjoyed this second-chance-ish book quite a bit. Not much happened in terms of plot, however. This was mostly an exercise in discussion and internal monologues--thank goodness for the exceptional high quality of writing from KJC.

It was rather angsty and I wish there had been more action, but it was fun learning about pornography in historical England!

The audiobook narration was exce
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
Excellent novella written brilliantly.
Vikram and Gil are total opposites, and yet like two magnets that can’t help attracting each other.
The mystery involved in the plot is fun, but secondary to the relationship development. And yes to that!
Great read!
Review written 27 January, 2019

4 Stars - My kind of yummy candy ... in an excellent audiobook edition


I listened to the 4.32 hours audiobook narrated by Vikas Adam and truly enjoyed it. Short, sensual, hot, sweet with a delicious good second chance topic. Loved the lovebirds character. Like the feel here. Liked the narrator. — Yay!!

« ..Lawyer Vikram Pandey sets out in search of a missing youth, his investigations take him to Holywell Street, London’s most notorious address. He expects to fin
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it

After a couple of shaky Charles' experience, I was happy to read this. Restored my faith.
Joyfully Jay
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jay
A Joyfully Jay review.

4 stars

I am a big K.J. Charles fan and would read pretty much anything she writes, but I was particularly excited to see her latest story featuring two men of color, something almost unheard of in historicals. Charles does a nice job establishing the background for both of these men and showing how their race and their culture have impacted them in numerous ways. But at the same time, race isn’t the focus of the story, and instead it mostly deals with both reuniting these
I've given this a B+ for narration and an A- for content at AudioGals, so that's 4.5 stars rounded up.

If you like the sound of an historical romance in which one of the principal characters makes his living by selling pornographic literature and the other is an uptight lawyer, then you need look no further. In Unfit to Print, K.J. Charles has crafted a romantic, witty and socially observant story in which two long-lost friends reunite to solve a mystery while they ponder morality and sexuality,
 ♥ Rebecca ♥
I loved these two cinnamon rolls! 😍 And I usually hate intrigue getting in the way of my romance by KJ is the only one who can manage to actually grab my interest with a great mystery. Although I wish we had learned more about Matthew and why he had such a varied collection. Maybe it wasn’t only his.
Chris, the Dalek King
Vikram Pandey, a lawyer set on righting the wrongs of the world–especially those against the Indian immigrants who have made their new homes in London–has been asked by a client to help find their missing son. Vikram knows that the chances of the boy being found are small, considering that the young man had most likely been selling himself to help the family get by after his father was injured, but at the very least he can maybe give the family the comfort of an answer. Even in the answer comes ...more
I always do love books by Charles, and this is not an exception. It's a little short for my taste, because I'm greedy and always want more. I like the friends-to-lovers and second chances themes, and of course the KJ Charles' classic of redeeming an apparent villain.
Books? Dirty Books? Regency? Inter racial? Yes, please.

I liked this romance very much. It is pretty fast paced as it is a second chance romance between two men who first met in school and then now.

I like Vikram much better than Gil. And its not just because he is noble and good and Gil is more practical. I adore practical but Gil is reactive and for all his claims of being emotionially controlled pretty high drama.

And yes he changes but I needed a bit more here. I would have also loved a much d
Anna Kļaviņa

Personally, I found the main plot and sub plot to be dissonant.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent!!! Amazing! I loved it! I only regret it was so short!! I would have loved an epilogue. Two very opposite people, one privileged and self righteous the other a bastard whose self preserving. Both taking shit for the color of their skin and finding comfort in one another. Torn apart by cruelties of life can they find the courage and heart to trust again?
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, historical, romance
A quick and fun read - a little too quick perhaps, but that's novellas for you. I enjoyed the Victorian pornography angle and it was nice to have two POC main characters. My main problem is I really want to read Theo's gay Victorian Gothic romance novel, lol. It sounds delightful.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up because this is KJ Charles, after all.

This was an interesting glimpse into the illicit trade of "indecent" books back in Victorian London with a second chance love story mixed into it. I just wish it could've been longer, the characters given more time to develop, and the book trade explored a bit more. But, this is one of my favorite authors, and I spend a few enjoyable hours immersed in the story!
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
A missing youth, a crusading lawyer and a bookseller of smut—it's a second chance romance in the time of Victorian flesh peddling, folks!

Unfit to Print is a solid historical m/m novella. It's certainly worth picking up. I just wish - as I usually do with novellas - that it was longer. Vikram Pandey (the lawyer) and Gil Lawless (the bookseller) are awesome characters that deserve way more page time. I wish Unfit to Print was an introductory novella for a Victorian mystery series featuring t
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love this one!!! Is a really beautiful love story with an amazing historical setting. It has a small mystery on it so perfect for me 😍

I really want to hype about the mIn characters because the two of them are so likeable and is lovely that they fit together so well although being so different.
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I'm a writer of romance, mostly m/m, often historical or fantasy or both.

I'm also a freelance editor, and I blog about writing and editing at

I live in London, UK, with husband, two kids, and a cat of absolute night.

Follow me on Twitter @kj_charles or friend me on Facebook at
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