I originally said that I would have a review up later that same day I finished the book, after I stopped swooning, but the swooning never really stopped, and then I got anxious about trying to make this review live up to how much I loved the book, and then I just gave up and said I’d get to it later. Fast forward two months, let’s just get something out there so we can all move on with our lives. The short version of this review is that this book is great, it’s my favorite of Cat Sebastian’s books so far, and I’ve almost all of them (I’m just missing two of her most recent ones).
This is a book about two people who fall in over blackmail correspondence letters. It is aggressively anti-capitalist and anti-monarchy. It is about a woman who bucks against the traditional roles held for women, and who is trying to find her own way to love the people around her without giving up her own identity. It’s about a secret duke who doesn’t believe dukes should exist. There is a lot of queerness. There are capers. There is a cat. It’s about loving people for who they are not who you want them to be. I loved it so much.
Here are some quotes:
‘”He isn’t the sort of man who ought to be a duke.” That wasn’t even a lie: Rob was indeed not the sort of man who ought to be a duke, primarily because he didn’t think dukes ought to exist.’
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‘”You have been busy,” he murmured, thinking of what a waste it was that in all the thousands of love poems written across the ages, nobody had ever thought to catalogue their beloved’s proficiency in crime.’
– – –
“There were too many parts of her, and none of them good—daughter to a man who didn’t know her, mother to a child she barely knew, wife to the man she had killed, sister to a man she counted as an enemy. She knew there was more to her than that, that she was more than the sum of those roles, but she couldn’t put a name to any of those other parts so it was hard to believe that they counted for much.”
– – –
“Oh, for Christ’s sake, Marian. If you acted sweet, I’d think you were a changeling. I’d call for the doctor. I love every prickly, sour, difficult inch of you.”
CBR BINGO: Scandal
The entire reason this story kicks off, in both this book and in The Queer Principles of Kit Webb is that Marian’s husband has engaged in bigamy, and the characters partake in blackmail and other sordid activities in order to prevent themselves from being ruined by the scandal.