One thing I’ve really come to expect from a K.J. Charles book is a very understated and grounded story that has a lot of heart. She eschews the melodrama that can be so rampant in this genre and instead focuses on human beings – with their foibles, doubts, and passions. As such, the stories are very reflective of their period and don’t feel anachronistic. But that can also frustrate some readers who perhaps expect the interactions and plot to be action-packed and overwritten.
Story: Clem runs a boarding house owned by his brother. One of the tenants owns a taxidermy shop next door and has always been fairly quiet and reserved. As Clem comes to know Mr. Green, the two men form a bond. But both have secrets that refuse to stay hidden and will end up endangering not only their relationship but also their lives.
Author Charles takes a cue from the sensationalist stories of the time but channels them through her understated writing. We have a mystery, some skeletons in the closet, and ne’er do wells who will threaten our two protagonists. It makes for an interesting plot beyond the relationship growth and also creates needed friction.
What I really liked about Unseen Attraction is that we have some key differences than one usually finds in this type of historical romance. For one, our protagonist is half Indian. For another, the sexual relationship is not the usual cliches and instead takes on a very distinct turn based upon the protagonists’ personalities. It makes sense and it works. Note that the sex is graphically described.
I really enjoyed the dimension of the characters and how Charles allows them to show their personality defects/flaws. We also get a glimpse of the ‘friends’ who will be in the next two books – and they look to be equally intriguing. It appears there will be a series-long story arc as well as the in-book mini arcs.
My only nitpick is the cover – that ill-fitting suit looks like a bad costume and is wearing the poor guy in it. It looks silly, to be honest. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.