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Damn it I was sure I was going to love this one I loved parts of it But then there were other parts that were less enjoyable for me spoilers below I love that Sebastian included so much real history in the form of the female lead s brother being involved in some seditious dissent against the British government and aristocracy But then he was tidily bundled up and sent to America pretty early on and that all sort of disappeared.I love that the female lead is bisexual and very upfront about h Damn it I was sure I was going to love this one I loved parts of it But then there were other parts that were less enjoyable for me spoilers below I love that Sebastian included so much real history in the form of the female lead s brother being involved in some seditious dissent against the British government and aristocracy But then he was tidily bundled up and sent to America pretty early on and that all sort of disappeared.I love that the female lead is bisexual and very upfront about her wants and needs in the bedroom I love that she is outspoken and stands up for herself both in public and in private.I love that she had some very serious and understandable reasons to not become involved with the male lead But then she just poof changes her mind about everything off page and we re not really shown why And then that indecisiveness comes back with a vengeance later on in the book and it seems to take her forever to resolve her feelings.I love that the male lead was empathetic and at times vulnerable I love the way his epilepsy was portrayed I love that he never once pressured or bullied the female lead I did not love that he kept things from her Or that he all but took her decision to be with him away by severing all ties at one point.I also didn t love the level of relationship angst in here Anyone who has been following my reviews for any length of time knows that OTT drama that could be easily avoided if the male and female leads simply talked to each other is one of my biggest pet peeves in romance There was a lot of that in here.I was also confused by the running theme that the female lead hates the aristocratic class and everything it stands for, but then when she joins it, she s suddenly okay with all the perks that come from her newly elevated status There s talk of country estates and simply buying a new, incredibly lavish, borderline gaudy town home in London because they don t want to live in the home the male lead inherits.Okay then.I mean, by all means, go ahead and spend some money if you want But paired with the fact that there s no talk of doing anything for the poor, or further fighting against such an imbalanced system makes them both seem like massive hypocrites to me.I m also struggling a little with the running theme in this series that neither of the female leads has wanted to get married because it meant they would lose so much of themselves and neither believed in what at the time was such a broken system husbands all but owning their wives and all But then, true love comes along and they, well, they kind of cave They give up a lot of themselves They lose their independence.I m all for compromising when it comes to love I ve done so myself in many ways But something about this just isn t sitting right with me I think it s because both of their reasons are so legitimate and understandable that to see it all given up just rankles.I would love to read a regency romance in which the female lead stays firm on this and doesn t marry the male lead but they still get an HEA in the form of a long, committed relationship outside the bonds of matrimony.But does that even exist Seriously, I want some recs here If you know any, please let me know.I will say that despite all my issues with this one, I ll keep reading this series The diversity and the history alone will keep me here.Blog FB Twitter IG Pinterest Tumblr YouTube It s Cat Sebastianif anyone can get me to read a straight up MF title, she can. I ve given this a B at AAR.Cat Sebastian returns to Regency London for the second instalment of her Regency Imposters series, A Duke in Disguise, in which an illustrator and a prickly publisher who have been close friends for a decade have to decide if friendship is really enough, or whether it s worth risking what they have for the possibility of somethingIt s a well written story with a very strong sense of time and place featuring two engaging and complex principals there s a nod I ve given this a B at AAR.Cat Sebastian returns to Regency London for the second instalment of her Regency Imposters series, A Duke in Disguise, in which an illustrator and a prickly publisher who have been close friends for a decade have to decide if friendship is really enough, or whether it s worth risking what they have for the possibility of somethingIt s a well written story with a very strong sense of time and place featuring two engaging and complex principals there s a nod or two to the gothic novels popular at the time as well as some shrewd observations about the political situation, the lack of options open to women and the way the lives of well born ladies were completely controlled by their menfolk.Verity Plum and her younger brother Nate are joint proprietors of Plum Company, Printers and Booksellers, which was left to them by their father Verity is the brains of the outfit in the sense that she takes care of all the practicalities and then some , while Nathan, who is just twenty, indulges his radical sentiments by writing increasingly seditious polemics which she fears will land him in prison in the not too distant future Verity and Nate s good friend, John Ashby a moderately successful illustrator and engraver has lodged with them on and off over the past decade, and although he and Verity are completely smitten with each other and have been for years, neither of them is willing to risk crossing the line into a romantic and physical relationship Verity doesn t believe she s cut out for romance in any case her most recent love affair with Portia Allenby, who appeared in the previous book, Unmasked by the Marquess didn t end particularly well, and she s not one for dealing with complex emotions Verity guards her independence and sense of self very jealously, and she s stretched thin as it is, what with the pieces of herself she gives over to worrying about Nate, and the business, and her friendship with Ash and if she s scared of anything, she s scared of losing herself completely to all the other demands life makes of her.Verity is desperately trying to prevent Nate landing himself in serious trouble, and with Ash s help she manages to persuade him to leave England and travel to America to set up in business there She hates doing it, but recognises it s the only way to keep his neck out of the noose Both Verity and Ash feel his loss, but aren t sure how to comfort each other without crossing their very carefully preserved line, something which is becomeanddifficult with each passing day.The we can t become lovers because we ll risk our friendship plotline is one that s often used to create an obstacle in friends to lovers stories and doesn t always work for me but Ms Sebastian makes it work here, showing just how well Verity and Ash know each other and how deeply they care in small but important ways I loved that Ash always had a spare hairpin or three in his pocket and imbues their relationship with such visceral longing that it leaps off the page That said though, Verity s determination to keep things between her and Ash strictly platonic just seemed to evaporate without much of an explanation.Ash is a gorgeous beta hero who hides his insecurities behind a veneer of impassivity but who feels deeply His life has been difficult and filled with loss he longs for stability and connection, and those longings are the main reasons he is so reluctant to pursue anything other than friendship with Verity, even though he knows she s as attracted to him as he is to her After a childhood being passed from pillar to post, fostered by one family only to be passed on after suffering an epileptic seizure, he eventually went to a charity school where one of his schoolmasters recognised his artistic talent and arranged for him to be apprenticed to an engraver It s in that capacity that he first makes the acquaintance of Lady Caroline Talbot, who wishes to engage him to illustrate a book of the plants and flowers in her herbarium Right from his first visit, Ash is struck by a strange sense of familiarity and wrongness at the same time he can t know that his visits to Arundel House will change his life.I don t think it s too much of a spoiler, given the book s title, for me to talk about what that change is and it s in the synopsis although Ash isn t so much a duke in disguise as he is one who has no idea of his true identity The discovery of his origins is naturally a shock and his instinct is to deny that he is likely the Duke of Arundel s heir not only has he not been brought up to it, Verity will want nothingto do with him should he really be a member of the aristocracy she so despises But it seems he cannot escape his birthright and over, he can t abandon Lady Caroline who is his aunt to the not so tender mercies of her violent, abusive brother, whose murderous intentions were the reasons she sent Ash away into hiding when he was a little boy.I enjoyed the book overall, even though I had a few niggles with the way things played out I liked Ash and Verity and the strong connection the author has created between them, and I liked the historical and political background to the story and the cheeky nods to gothic romances but I wasn t completely convinced by the way the couple reached their HEA We re repeatedly told and shown that Verity absolutely hates the aristocracy and everything it stands for and that she intends never to marry and yet she s very easily persuaded to become Ash s duchess I also didn t much care for Ash s lie by omission when he accepts he really is the heir to a dukedom, he decides not to tell Verity for a month and to finally embark on the sexual relationship they both want and as if that wasn t enough, when he s forced to own the truth, he just ups and leaves Verity without really talking to her about anything, instead just assuming that she won t want to be with him once he s a duke and that she won t consider marrying him regardless of his social status For two people who ve been friends for a decade and know each other pretty much inside out, and considering Ash s abandonment issues, that refusal to communicate didn t make a lot of sense.The writing is excellent and the principals are refreshingly different Verity is bisexual and makes no secret of it , pragmatic and somewhat grouchy, while Ash iseven tempered and is an utter sweetie and a virgin to boot I ve knocked off a couple of grade points for the inconsistencies I ve noted, but I nonetheless enjoyed A Duke in Disguise, which is one of the better historical romances I ve read over the past year or so Leave it to Ash to spend a fortnight courting the meanest cat in London He looked at her, his eyes lit up with amusement, his mouth round with surprise He has a type The first 20% 30% of this book just clicked with me I ve seen everyone s ratings and was confused during that time thinking But I LOVE this and now I see why they are mediocre.There s so much Cat Sebastian does right, but in the second installment of the Regency Imposters, tension is missing Everything ends up feelingLeave it to Ash to spend a fortnight courting the meanest cat in London He looked at her, his eyes lit up with amusement, his mouth round with surprise He has a type The first 20% 30% of this book just clicked with me I ve seen everyone s ratings and was confused during that time thinking But I LOVE this and now I see why they are mediocre.There s so much Cat Sebastian does right, but in the second installment of the Regency Imposters, tension is missing Everything ends up feeling a bit shallow Despite its strong beginnings, I didn t feel a connection to the characters past the first 1 3 of the book, which was odd and a true disappointment The characters started to feel strangely one dimensional yet inconsistent It was an odd reading experience I m having trouble with this one On the one hand, I liked it On the other, I thought it needed just a little something else I never really cared the way I should have, the way I ve cared about her other characters in past books Verity Plum is a publisher and bookseller John Ashby is an engraver They have known one another for ages, and always a low simmering attraction they ve both ignored has been present Both for different reasons have been scared to change their dynamic But then a ser I m having trouble with this one On the one hand, I liked it On the other, I thought it needed just a little something else I never really cared the way I should have, the way I ve cared about her other characters in past books Verity Plum is a publisher and bookseller John Ashby is an engraver They have known one another for ages, and always a low simmering attraction they ve both ignored has been present Both for different reasons have been scared to change their dynamic But then a series of events occur that convince both of them to give in, just for a little while As the title may imply, Ash discovers he s the lost heir to a duke, after believing his whole life he d been abandoned by his family, some illegitimate by blow, crippled and thrown in the gutter he has epilepsy, which was NOT understood back then And Verity, newly successful publisher and sole creator of The Ladies Register, has just had to send her brother to America for his own protection, as she and Ash both thought his activities and published works were becoming so seditious the Redcoats were bound to come for him soon, and prison, or execution would be the result This is the author s first straight up m f romance and even then, the heroine is bisexual, and there are other queer characters that aren t the main pair I m not sure whether that affected my rating here, but I don t think it did Although, I wasn t super enthusiastic about her other non m m book, the first book in the series either And, I think, for similar reasons She skips over my favorite parts of a romance, the getting to know you dynamic Here, obviously, the two characters have known each other for forever, but when you introduce a new dynamic, we should get to see them navigating it And we don t We also don t really get to see Ash getting to know his aunt, or really doing the emotional work in coming to terms with his new title And and this may not be the fault of the author, but the person who wrote the blurb copy it s barely about publishing dirty novels at all I would have liked to seeof Verity s work there, and maybe have it tie eveninto the plot than it did The naughty novel is basically just an excuse for them to get all hot and bothered, and I think it could have been a lotthan that.Basically, I just wantedThis book was not fleshed out enough It kind of read like she was jumping from point to point, and just wanting it to be over Which is a shame, because I really liked both Verity and Ash, I liked the setting, and I would have liked to have really seenof all of it 3.5 stars, rounded down for now, I think Be serious, Plum There s far too much cheese for you to eat on your own How little you know me, she said mournfully This was a seduction She was being seduced with cheese and lewd drawings and she could not be happier about it.To quote Marie Kondo, This sparks joy Cat Sebastian is one of my favorite historical romance authors, and I was thrilled to receive an early copy of the second installment in the Regency Imposters series Her books never fail to make me feel warm and fuzzy, and thBe serious, Plum There s far too much cheese for you to eat on your own How little you know me, she said mournfully This was a seduction She was being seduced with cheese and lewd drawings and she could not be happier about it.To quote Marie Kondo, This sparks joy Cat Sebastian is one of my favorite historical romance authors, and I was thrilled to receive an early copy of the second installment in the Regency Imposters series Her books never fail to make me feel warm and fuzzy, and this was no different A Duke in Disguise follows publisher Verity Plum and illustrator John Ash Ashby They ve known each other for years, and each has harbored a secret crush for the other As an orphan, Ash grew up being shuttled from place to place due to his guardians not understanding his epilepsy He struggles with abandonment issues and fears that any move he makes on Verity will ultimately result in losing her in part due to her dislike for marriage Fans of friends to lovers romances and slow burn romances will find a lot to love here Together Ash and Verity have the ease that only comes with the deepest of friendships, but there s still plenty of tension as they navigate their feelings for each other and what it means for their friendship.Ash would give the shirt off his back, everything he owned, to help the people he cares about Verity, on the other hand, is delightfully prickly She doesn t particularly care for other people, or rather for dealing with the complex feelings that happen when you start to deeply care for another person As the two growintimate, Verity loves that Ash feigns nonchalance around her and it helps her adjust to their changing relationship.One of my favorite things about Sebastian s books are that there is essentially always a grump and a cinnamon roll, and I loved Ash s giving nature matched with Verity s practical and no nonsense attitude These are characters who support each other without ever trying to change the other which becomes evenimportant as Ash s social status changes with the surprising discovery that he s the heir to a dukedom There are some fun twists and turns to that plotline that I won t reveal here, but I will say it takes a dramatic turn at the end that I loved.As usual for Sebastian, the flirting here is top notch There are erotic drawings being shared, cheese plates, and some light bondage What s not to love Even with a man and a woman on the cover, this is Cat Sebastian and LGBTQ rep continues to be a present theme Verity s last relationship was with a woman readers who follow this series have met her ex before and will likely be as excited as I was to learnabout her There are also queer relationships present in side and background characters On a rating scale, I think this falls closer to a 3.5 for me But I round up because Sebastian always delivers exactly what I m looking for in her books I d definitely recommend this to her fans, but I d suggest newbies start with the Turner series my personal favorite |E-PUB ♫ A Duke in Disguise ♫ One reluctant heirIf anyone else had asked for his help publishing a naughty novel, Ash would have had the sense to say no But he s never been able to deny Verity Plum Now he has his hands full illustrating a book and trying his damnedest not to fall in love with his best friend The last thing he needs is to discover he s a duke s lost heir Without a family or a proper education, he s had to fight for his place in the world, and the idea of it and Verity being taken away from him chills him to the bone One radical booksellerAll Verity wants is to keep her brother out of prison, her business afloat, and her hands off Ash Lately it seems she s not getting anything she wants She knows from bitter experience that she isn t cut out for romance, but the time she spends with Ash, the she wonders if maybe she s been wrong about herself One disaster waiting to happenAsh has a month before his identity is exposed, and he plans to spend it with Verity As they explore their long buried passion, it becomes harder for Ash to face the music Can Verity accept who Ash must become or will he turn away the only woman he s ever loved Content Warning off page domestic violence, off page neglect of child, epileptic seizure 2.5 starsUnfortunately, this is my least favorite and probably, in my humble opinion, Sebastian s most below par novel to date The reasons for 10 years pining and keeping the feelings to one self feel weak I found the romance to be sparkless I tend to love friends to lovers romance, but I can t get excited for this one Doesn t help that I felt like there were TONS of background story started off page.I appreciated a bisexual female heroine though, and we have the female lover on page as well 2.5 starsUnfortunately, this is my least favorite and probably, in my humble opinion, Sebastian s most below par novel to date The reasons for 10 years pining and keeping the feelings to one self feel weak I found the romance to be sparkless I tend to love friends to lovers romance, but I can t get excited for this one Doesn t help that I felt like there were TONS of background story started off page.I appreciated a bisexual female heroine though, and we have the female lover on page as well She doesn t just disappears from Verity s life The only two things that most appealed to me were the demonic cat, which sadly, didn t have enough time on page And Verity s passionate brother, Nate, who sadly was view spoiler shipped to America, per Verity s request, to escape prison hide spoiler 3.5 stars Very enjoyable and amusing It s Cat Sebastian, so that s a given, right How cool to read a queer m f historical romance This is an entertaining radical love story about sedition and friendship between a grumpy and independent radical queer lady publisher and a lovely radical epileptic orphan artist engraver They both hate the nobility and Ash is completely disgusted to discover he is to become a duke and he resists it and I loved that They are best friends and have been in love 3.5 stars Very enjoyable and amusing It s Cat Sebastian, so that s a given, right How cool to read a queer m f historical romance This is an entertaining radical love story about sedition and friendship between a grumpy and independent radical queer lady publisher and a lovely radical epileptic orphan artist engraver They both hate the nobility and Ash is completely disgusted to discover he is to become a duke and he resists it and I loved that They are best friends and have been in love with each other for years, but are both afraid to make a move and wreck their awesome relationship When the moves are finally made, I liked how Verity took the lead in the steamy scenes and that she s the experienced one Portia Allenby from Unmasked by the Marquess is her former lover and she shows virgin Ash the ropes There was so much I loved about this, such as the excellent trope subversion, but I just didn t connect with it strongly and the plot was a maybe unnecessarily complex and there s some moments of waffley characterization I loved the grand gesture at the end, though Perhaps not this author s strongest work, but still full of awesome, awesome stuff, such as Ash s malicious cat and that Verity is publishing an illustrated dirty novel about Perkin Warbeck, a 15th century pretender to the English throne who was executed All in all, this was lots of fun This is Cat Sebastian s first m f pairing but it s still queer as hell Verity has only been with women before and doesn t find much to commend about men She certainly never wants to marry a man, as it strikes her as a raw deal for women Ash, on the other hand, has been in love with Verity for years but knows he doesn t have a shot with her, at least not something long lasting Because he was orphaned at a young age, he does not want the possibility of his children being bastards So there s A This is Cat Sebastian s first m f pairing but it s still queer as hell Verity has only been with women before and doesn t find much to commend about men She certainly never wants to marry a man, as it strikes her as a raw deal for women Ash, on the other hand, has been in love with Verity for years but knows he doesn t have a shot with her, at least not something long lasting Because he was orphaned at a young age, he does not want the possibility of his children being bastards So there s Ash, pining impossibly over Verity and there s Verity, being a kickass woman getting stuff done When they have to ship her brother off to America to keep him safe from the authorities, Verity sees her old friend Ash in a new light and forgetting all the reasons why they shouldn t beto each other There was so much unrequited longing and yearning and angst between these two and I could not get enough of it I loved every development of their relationship.There are real obstacles in their relationship at the start of the book but then as events unfold, the stakes get even higher I wasn t sure how they d be able to navigate their differences I really liked how Verity had to learn about the true nature of friendship, that there isn t a ledger of checks and balances as she s believed but that people are there for one another because they care It was a lovely development in a lovely story.Also I loved the cat in this story More cats in books, please.CW seizures, domestic violence, attempted arson, attempted murder, threat of violence, grief