Title: Mr. Warren’s Profession
Series: Aubrey & Lindsey: Book One
Author: Sebastian Nothwell
Length: 366 Pages
Category: Historical Romance
At a Glance: Hurt/comfort, betrayal and intrigue, bribery and attempted murder, and a heartfelt love story make Mr. Warren’s Profession another winning read from Sebastian Nothwell.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Lindsey Althorp, the only son of a wealthy baronet, has never worked a day in his life.
Aubrey Warren was born in a workhouse and hasn’t stopped working since.
Buoyed by Lindsey’s optimism and fuelled by Aubrey’s industry, the two men strive to overcome the class gulf between them. But a horrific accident reveals a betrayal that threatens to tear them apart forever.
Review: Unless I’ve failed at the Google-fu, Sebastian Nothwell’s Mr. Warren’s Profession borrows some from George Bernard Shaw’s play Mrs. Warren’s Profession, which was a commentary on prostitution and the idea that it was not a profession of immorality but one that sprung from poverty and necessity. Nothwell ties that into his story through Aubrey Warren and his ability to survive after escaping a workhouse at the age of fifteen, while avoiding starving to death on the streets in the process. His survival was owed entirely to his job as a telegraph boy, who supplemented their meager wages with payment for sex with wealthy gentleman. But it’s Aubrey’s intelligence and resourcefulness, with the aid of one of his customers who went on to become a benefactor of sorts, that saw him move on to something new. His needs at the time didn’t do much to erase the stigma of his past, though, and Aubrey carries it with him, even years later, into his job as a clerk at the Rook Mill.
As opposites attract stories go, Lindsey Althorp and Aubrey couldn’t be further apart on the social spectrum. Lindsey’s wealthy and well-heeled gentleman, countered by Aubrey’s working man with a past, is an obstacle in and of itself. It’s only thanks to Lindsey winning the textile mill from Clarence Rook in a card game that Lindsey met Aubrey in the first place. That Lindsey takes an interest in the mill, how it operates, and in the well-being of the workers, is an anomaly; it’s unheard of for a man of his station and breeding to lower himself to something so menial as to care about the day-to-day operation of his business. That’s what he has people for.
But Lindsey Althorp isn’t like most high-born gentleman.
Lindsey is sunshine in the form of a person, and it hurt a bit to see people try to dull his brightness—not only his father but his older sister as well as his friends, even if they believed they were doing it for the most pragmatic reasons, in the name of his preservation. The only reason Lindsey returns to the mill is to see and speak to Aubrey, which also draws the attention of a distasteful co-worker (“worker” being used in the loosest sense of the word, “distasteful” not nearly accurate enough). Lindsey wanting to spend time with Aubrey outside of the mill only adds fuel to the fire of rumor and innuendo, because there is no practical reason for two men of such varying means to be seen together. But Lindsey will not be deterred by anything as mundane as practicality. His heart knows what he’s found in Aubrey, even if Aubrey’s humbler past means he doesn’t fully trust Lindsey’s intentions.
Lindsey commits himself to Aubrey in every way, and in spite of the fact that he’s being blackmailed. Their attraction to each other and their growing bonds of affection are impossible to miss, Aubrey’s desire to remain emotionally detached notwithstanding, and I not only grew to love them both but was rooting them on through every obstacle and challenge they met along the way—through betrayal and extortion, Lindsey’s engagement to a kind and lovely woman who becomes a staunch ally, an attempted murder, and a rigged explosion at the mill that has far-reaching and long-lasting implications for Aubrey. This author’s brand seems to be the hurt/comfort trope and characters who defy the romance genre’s idea of the perfect physical specimen, which I seem to be a fan of.
Nothwell resolves the conflict at the eleventh hour of Mr. Warren’s Profession, to the point I thought I was going to be left with a cliffhanger ending, but not to worry; the story wraps on a perfectly romantic note and in a way that, while the intrigue did come to a quick resolution, it didn’t feel inauthentic either. “Needs must when the devil drives” and whatnot. Lindsey, along with his sister Rowena, his fiancée and friend Emmaline, and Aubrey too, made an impression and left me eager to read their sequel.
You can buy Mr. Warren’s Profession here:
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