Title: How The Other Half Lives
Author: Clare London
Series: London Boys
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 02-15-2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, M/M Romantic Comedy
Page Count: 65
Heat Level: 1 flame out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
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.
I am so disappointed – that I haven’t discovered this author sooner! It has been a very long time since I read a book that made me properly laugh out loud. Repeatedly. It’s the sweetest story of two strangers who manage to slowly change the other’s habits for the better without having ever met. Russ lives a chaotic lifestyle as a cook, he’s messy, disorganised, confident and suffers from verbal diarrhoea whereas Martin is pretty much the opposite. An antiques sourcer, who has everything in it’s rightful place and he verges on OCD with every breath he takes. The one thing they do have in common is their aversion to relationships and being fortunate to have friends that interfere because they want them to be happy.
To appease their respective friends, they sign up to a house sitting rotation within their building, which as they both work away a lot, suits them. They end up looking after each other’s flats and rather cheekily begin making changes from re-arranging Russ’ CD collection into alphabetical order and generally tidying his home, to over watering Martins Bonsai trees and hanging up the hidden abstract art that he hates. Over time, they come to appreciate what they other does for them and the notes they leave along the way.
When they do finally meet, they don’t find the person that they had envisioned and they very quickly become attached to one another.
If you’re looking for wild sex and lots of nakedness, then this is not for you but if you do want humorous, rambling inner monologues, a couple that are so wrong they’re perfect together, a story that will have you with a perma-grin on your face and a (dare I use the word ‘sweet’ again?) super-sweet innocence that makes them adorable, then you have to read this. There’s a happy ending that gave me warm and fuzzies and I wish I knew these guys. I hope the next instalment is half as good.