I really enjoyed this intriguing crime mystery, perhaps because the main character is trying to live their best life, despite the many obstacles in their way.
Charlotte takes the brave step into independence and severs the ties between herself and her family in an attempt to live how she wants and love whom she wants. That life is being Leo, because for all intent and purposes he is a man waiting to walk free from the physical constraints of his female body. Free to love. Free to partake in the pleasures of a physical and sexual relationship. And this is where the story becomes a tale of crime, murder, unrequited passion and jealousy.
What Reeve captures really well is the inequality of gender in that particular time period, although to be fair some things haven’t changed much. He describes the privilege Leo enjoys as a man and then the oppression Charlotte has to endure in equal measures as a woman.
Although in our day and age it is considered more politically correct to assign the correct personal pronoun to Leo, I believe to do the story justice one has to speak of both Charlotte as a woman and Leo as the man Charlotte lives as and is on the inside. It’s important to acknowledge the difficulty, struggle and opposition Charlotte experiences because of her brave choice to live as the man she knows herself to be on the inside. The other side of the coin is the constant fear Leo lives with, because he fears he will be discovered. It would mean prison.
I’m a little disappointed this has been put under the genre of erotic transgender fiction on at least one major retailer. First of all any eroticism is only hinted at and secondly it means a lot of potential readers may not even consider reading this really well-written historical crime fiction story. It’s a cracking read.
I sincerely hope this is the first of many Leo Stanhope books and I’m looking forward to the second in the series, The Anarchist’s Club, in May.
Buy The House on Half Moon Street (Leo Stanhope #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Raven Books; pub date Dec. 2018
Preorder/Buy The Anarchist’s Club (Leo Stanhope #2) at Amazon Uk (pub date 2 May 2019)
Read my review of The Anarchists’ Club by Alex Reeve.
Follow Alex Reeves @storyjoy or @BloomsburyRaven onTwitter