This is Book Three in K.J. Charles Sins of the Cities Series
Summary: A private detective finds passion, danger, and the love of a lifetime when he hunts down a lost earl in Victorian London.
On the trail of an aristocrat’s secret son, enquiry agent Mark Braglewicz finds his quarry in a music hall, performing as a trapeze artist with his twin sister. Graceful, beautiful, elusive, and strong, Pen Starling is like nobody Mark’s ever met—and everything he’s ever wanted. But the long-haired acrobat has an earldom and a fortune to claim.
Pen doesn’t want to live as any sort of man, least of all a nobleman. The thought of being wealthy, titled, and always in the public eye is horrifying. He likes his life now—his days on the trapeze, his nights with Mark. And he won’t be pushed into taking a title that would destroy his soul.
But there’s a killer stalking London’s foggy streets, and more lives than just Pen’s are at risk. Mark decides he must force the reluctant heir from music hall to manor house, to save Pen’s neck. Betrayed by the one man he thought he could trust, Pen never wants to see his lover again. But when the killer comes after him, Pen must find a way to forgive—or he might not live long enough for Mark to make amends.
Before I start my review, I need to tell you what one of the most important aspects of this novel is: the beautiful portrayal of Pen Starling.
Pen Starling is a non-binary character. It’s not often that you come across an author who can make a character feel as real as KJ Charles did with Pen. The way Pen identified throughout the novel wasn’t mentioned in passing. It was present the entire novel. There were explanations, feelings and a need for the reader to understand just who Pen Starling was. There were scenes that showed the thoughts that swirled around Pen’s mind. There were some days his mind and body was more masculine and others its more feminine. It wasn’t a joke to KJ Charles and that was beyond important to me.
But on to the other bits!
I’m a fan of historical fiction, it’s the historian in me. I get picky when I read what’s supposed to be historical and the language, the buildings, the actions of characters don’t reflect the time period. I didn’t have this issue with An Unsuitable Heir. The language used and the imagery used immersed the reader in the time period. All the descriptions of clothes, Pen’s job, character reactions, and how society would have truly acted towards a non-binary person like Pen and a person in not the best societal standing, enhanced that feeling. It was easy to get lost in the world that was presented. I wanted more. I was very glad to have had a chance to read this early.
Would I recommend this to friends? I already have. I recommended it when I was about 30% into the novel. I’ve got the entire series on my iPad but I’m hoping to buy physical copies soon.
I received a copy of An Unsuitable Heir by K J Charles from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.