Title: How the Other Half Lives (London Lads: Book Two)
Author: Clare London
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 65 Pages
At a Glance: I liked How the Other Half Lives a lot. It’s short and sweet, the perfect sort of book when you’re looking for a quick fix of happy and romantic.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Compulsive neat freak meets chaotic slob: Can their living space survive the conflict?
Martin Harrison keeps himself to himself and his Central London flat as neat as a new pin. Maybe he should loosen up and enjoy more of a social life, but in his mind, that’s tantamount to opening the floodgates to emotional chaos. He agrees, however, to join the flat-sitting scheme in his building and look after another tenant’s flat in exchange for a similar watch over his when he’s travelling for his work.
A floor away in the same building, Russ McNeely is happy with his life as a freelance cook and a self-confessed domestic slob. He also joins the flat-sitting scheme, both to be neighbourly and to help keep his flat in order, as Russ also travels for his work.
For a while, the very dissimilar men never meet. Martin is horrified at the mess at Russ’s flat, while Russ finds Martin’s minimalist style creepy. But in a spirit of generosity, each of them starts to help the other out by rearranging things in their own inimitable way.
Until the day a hiccup in the schedule brings them face-to-face at last.
First Edition published by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2011.
Review: Clare London is always a great go-to author when you’re looking for a little humor with a healthy dose of romance. How the Other Half Lives is an “Odd Couple” story, an attraction of opposites in the fastidious and fussy Martin Harrison, and the scattershot and rather slobby Russ McNeely, and I loved the way London brought these two men together in spite of themselves and their differences.
In a short sixty-five pages, How the Other Half Lives treats its readers to the buildup of a relationship that begins before Martin and Russ ever even set eyes on each other, and the way they begin by subtly intruding in each other’s lives is such a welcome detour from the usual romantic tropes. As flat-sitters for each other when Martin and Russ have to travel on business, they both mean well when they enter each other’s private spaces and then start making small but noticeable changes—Martin attempting to give order to the chaos of Russ’s apartment, and Russ attempting to add a little life and hominess to Martin’s living space. It’s sweet as they each begin to accept those little breaks in their norms—the subtle placement of things here and there, a new recipe waiting for Martin when he gets home—and finally, as they confront each other and realize that the disruptions in their routines haven’t been all bad. And, that, surprisingly, they’ve grown comfortable in each other’s spaces.
One of my favorite parts of this novella may have been the little title asides at the start of each chapter that add, in their own way, to the narrative and also give us a little insight into the characters too. I found it such a fun and clever way of telling without it feeling like I was being told what was happening, if that make sense. It will when you read the story, trust me.
I liked How the Other Half Lives a lot. It’s short and sweet, the perfect sort of book to turn to when you’re looking for a quick fix of happy and romantic.
You can buy How the Other Half Lives here:
About the Author
Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.
Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.
All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!
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