Tell me there’s a new book from Cat Sebastian and I’m all in. Make it the second in her Regency Imposters series, which challenges ‘expected societal norms in terms of sexuality, and I’m even more intrigued.
A Duke in Disguise
This was a story that brought in some characters from the first book, added new ones and new issues, and spun them all together to make a solid installment for the series. John Ashley (Ash) is an illustrator, growing up without family, suffering from epilepsy, and shuttled from house to house because he never quite ‘fit’. Fortunately for him, his talent and a good friend in Verity kept him hopeful, and their friendship is one they rely on to keep them grounded and involved with someone who ‘knows’ them. And knowing Verity is quite the two-sided coin. She’s as prickly as a rosebush and determined to maker her own way in the world, without help (or as she sees it, interference) from anyone else. If it weren’t for Ash’s ability to ground her and know of the many struggles she faces, she’d not have anyone to bounce ideas and worries off. Of course, falling in love with Ash would simply complicate her life beyond belief, so it’s a decided no-no: they want different things from life and she’s not willing to give up her fragile grasp on all she believes she has gained in determining her own destiny.
Of course, there are twists as Ash is surprised with his own history and is, in fact, a duke – a member of the aristocracy with all of the responsibilities that entails without ever being ‘prepared’ for the role. Even more difficult for him will be explaining it to Verity – as she has a deep-seated hatred for the ‘aristos’, and her brother is not so quietly rebelling against the ‘class system’ in Britain. A wanted man, Verity wants only to keep him from prison and save her relationship with Ash, as he won’t be ‘one of them’.
An interesting tale as Sebastian inserted historical facts and events into the story, grounding both Ash and Verity into a time of societal chaos, while adding the realities of both society and the time solidly into the story. As Verity tries to reconcile her own dislike of most people with her worries for her brother and her attraction to Ash, she is struggling with the tension and discord that having feelings for someone else brings to her own sense of self and balance. She’s still reeling (although she’d deny it to her last breath) from her last relationship with a woman we’d met in the first book, and more than a little cun shy. Not ashamed of her bisexuality, but embracing it as an ingrained part of her – there is a bit of hesitation in her willingness to give in to her feelings for Ash. Carrying all of the hallmarks of a Sebastian title, the story did slow with some OTT conflict and a bit of disconnect between the couple that seemed to fall in more with Verity’s change of stance on her desire to change society, and a bit of indecision on her part. But, handling the epilepsy, the clear acceptance of the couple for people of all stances: classes and sexual orientation making it a solid inclusion in the series.
Title: A Duke in Disguise
Author: Cat Sebastian
Series: Regency Imposters #2
Also in this series: Unmasked by the Marquess
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Avon Impulse
Published on: 9 April, 2019
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
One reluctant heir
If 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 bookseller
All 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 more time she spends with Ash, the more she wonders if maybe she’s been wrong about herself.
One disaster waiting to happen
Ash 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?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: