Book Reviews

Unnatural (Enlightenment 4) by Joanna Chambers

Genre Gay / Historical / 19th Century / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 20-November-2017

Book Blurb

Captain Iain Sinclair has looks, charm, military honours—even the favour of the king himself. He has everything—everything, that is, except the friendship of the one man whose good opinion he has ever cared for, scientist James Hart. 

James has loved Iain all his life, but after the last disastrous encounter between them, he vowed to accept no more crumbs from Iain’s table. If Iain cannot be the lover James wants, then James will have no more to do with him. 

Disenchanted with his career, and miserable without James in his life, Iain decides to leave military service and embark upon a new career in India. Before he leaves England behind, though, he is determined to try one last time to reconcile with his dearest friend.

An invitation to a country house party from James’s sister provides the perfect opportunity to pin James down and force him to finally listen to Iain’s apology. But when Iain discovers that an apology is not enough—that James is not willing settle for less than a lover—he is forced to reconsider everything: his life, his future career, and most of all, his feelings for James.

First Edition published by Samhain Publishing, 2015.

Book Review

“I thought that these feelings had faded...away yet...When I saw you today it felt as if the feelings never left me. They never left me because my love for you was and always will be real....No matter how much I try to let you go, my feelings, my love will never fade for you.” ~ Casey Michelle Silver

When young people fall in love, older people tell them that it's just “puppy love”, an infatuation that will fade with time; but that's not always the case. James Hart, of 'Unnatural' by Joanne Chambers, fell wholly and deeply in love with Iain Sinclair at the tender age of eight and remained in love with him for years, despite the acts of denial and betrayal Iain frequently performed. Eventually, it got to be too much for James's heart to bear and they parted company, which, in James's mind, was permanent. Iain has long regretted the breach in their friendship, and before he leaves the country, he wants to make one last attempt to mend fences between them.

When Iain meets James for the first time since their separation, he's hurt, but not surprised, at James's cold reception. It soon becomes clear that James has neither forgiven nor forgotten the unforgivable treatment Iain subjected him to, and it's not likely he ever will. Iain is discouraged but doesn't give up. The longer he's around James, the more Iain recalls how much he cares about him and becomes almost desperate to regain his affection. Unfortunately, the old boundaries Iain placed around himself long ago are still in force, and he can't seem to break them down, even if it means losing James forever. Iain is still haunted by the thoughts of what a man can or cannot do, regardless of his feelings for James.

James is upset when he sees Iain at his cousin's party. He wasn't prepared to deal with the man he'd given up on all those years ago, and now Iain is standing in front of him, telling him that he's going to leave England for India where he will be doing potentially dangerous work. James wonders if anyone but him sees past the brave, daring facade Iain projects, into the recklessness caused by despair. James has always seen him this way and is irritated that it still bothers him. He put up with so much from Iain in the past, forgiven him so many times for treating him almost as a stranger rather than someone he loved. So many times Iain threw his offers of affection in his face that he's given up on him ever realizing how much he loves James. James wishes he could forget it all, but he can't and with Iain actually there with him, the feelings are almost unbearable. Forgiving Iain would be one thing, but being his friend, even with the hope of more, is another. James isn’t sure he is ready to open himself up to that kind of pain ever again.

Using flashbacks, Joanne gave me Iain and James's thoughts and feelings from their experiences in the past; as they are revealed, I could feel the tension and despair growing between the two men. James kept offering his heart and Iain was terrified someone would know how he felt about James, backing away from it. I was tempted to smack Iain and tell him to wake up, but, at the same time, I understood his fear was perfectly valid for their time period. If you like historical romances with handsome gay men, betrayal, their inability to express true feelings, and love finding a way, then you may enjoy this story. Thanks, Joanne, for giving Iain and James their happy ending.





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 237 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 29-May-2017
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link