Unmasked by the Marquess (Regency Imposters, #1)
The one you love…Robert Selby is determined to see his sister make an advantageous match. But he has two problems: the Selbys have no connections or money and Robert is really a housemaid named Charity Church. She’s enjoyed every minute of her masquerade over the past six years, but she knows her pretense is nearing an end. Charity needs to see her beloved friend married well and then Robert Selby will disappear…forever. May not be who you think… Alistair, Marquess of Pembroke, has spent years repairing the estate ruined by his wastrel father, and nothing is more important than protecting his fortune and name. He shouldn’t be so beguiled by the charming young man who shows up on his doorstep asking for favors. And he certainly shouldn’t be thinking of all the disreputable things he’d like to do to the impertinent scamp. But is who you need… When Charity’s true nature is revealed, Alistair knows he can’t marry a scandalous woman in breeches, and Charity isn’t about to lace herself into a corset and play a respectable miss. Can these stubborn souls learn to sacrifice what they’ve always wanted for a love that is more than they could have imagined?

Unmasked by the Marquess (Regency Imposters, #1) Details

TitleUnmasked by the Marquess (Regency Imposters, #1)
Author
ReleaseApr 17th, 2018
PublisherAvon Impulse
ISBN-139780062820655
Rating
GenreRomance, Historical, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Lgbt

Unmasked by the Marquess (Regency Imposters, #1) Review

  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    I beta read this book. It's *hella* queer. Trust me.
  • ☙ percy ❧
    January 1, 1970
    me looking at the cover: oh no is it m/f me reading the blurb: JDJDJSJSJDJDE OH MY GOD ITS TRANS 😍😍😍😍😍😍
  • Caz
    January 1, 1970
    I've given this a B- at AAR, so that's 3.5 stars rounded up.Unmasked by the Marquess, the first in Cat Sebastian’s new Regency Imposters series, marks something of a departure for her in that, unlike her previous books, it isn’t a male/male romance. The two protagonists are a man and a woman – but the fact that this isn’t a standard m/f romance quickly becomes apparent when we learn that our heroine – a former housemaid named Charity Church – has actually been living as a man for the past six I've given this a B- at AAR, so that's 3.5 stars rounded up.Unmasked by the Marquess, the first in Cat Sebastian’s new Regency Imposters series, marks something of a departure for her in that, unlike her previous books, it isn’t a male/male romance. The two protagonists are a man and a woman – but the fact that this isn’t a standard m/f romance quickly becomes apparent when we learn that our heroine – a former housemaid named Charity Church – has actually been living as a man for the past six years and feels far more ‘right’ in herself dressing, acting and living as a man than she ever did as a woman.(I’m using ‘she’ and ‘her’ in this review, even though Charity is non-binary; the author uses those pronouns throughout the book for reasons she explains in her author’s note, so I’m going to follow her lead).Robert Selby and his sister Louisa have come to London with the object of securing an advantageous match for Louisa. Unfortunately however, coming from rural Northumberland makes an entrée into the right circles in London rather difficult as they know no one who can introduce them. Remembering his father’s old friend, the late Marquess of Pembroke, Robert hits upon the idea of asking the current marquess for help; if a man of his standing is seen to take notice of Louisa, then surely other men will follow and a proposal will ensue.Alistair de Lacey has spent the years since the death of his profligate father working hard to rebuild the family finances and to claw back the respectability the late marquess threw away in favour of a life filled with excess and dissolution. When a charming and rather attractive young man named Robert Selby is ushered into his library, Alastair expects to be tapped for money, so is surprised when Selby tells him that the late marquess stood godfather to his (Robert’s) sister, and asks for Alistair’s assistance in launching her into society. But Alistair – who has just received (and turned down) a similar request from his late father’s mistress on behalf of her eldest daughter (Alistair’s half-sister) – isn’t inclined to help and sends the young man on his way.You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance .
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  • Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    NONBINARY HISTORICAL ROMANCE(!)There is not a single word in that exclamation I am not excited about! I need!
  • ⚣❣☙ Michaelle ❧❣⚣
    January 1, 1970
    See my Rant Here for pre-rating...Well, it appears to have disappeared. Anywho, tl;dr: Pre-rating due to troll(s) who gave it 1-star before it was even finished, let alone published.
  • Sofia
    January 1, 1970
    I consider Sebastian's take on Heyer's Frederica a job well done. I loved reading this. She might not have Heyer's wit yet but she has other attributes she uses well. The fact that she showed me clearly, made me feel in fact, how really uncomfortable Charity Church was in her clothes, is a feat. And furthermore she made me think, what makes us women, men, whatever, biology? society? If we are one thing and dress differently then prescribed by society, what are we? Gender seems to be rather unfix I consider Sebastian's take on Heyer's Frederica a job well done. I loved reading this. She might not have Heyer's wit yet but she has other attributes she uses well. The fact that she showed me clearly, made me feel in fact, how really uncomfortable Charity Church was in her clothes, is a feat. And furthermore she made me think, what makes us women, men, whatever, biology? society? If we are one thing and dress differently then prescribed by society, what are we? Gender seems to be rather unfixed at it's moorings if you say that what makes you a woman is a skirt. Bah.Good job, ok sometimes the pathos was well rubbed in but I've good hopes for future Sebastian stories.
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  • Kindling Micky
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsThis is my first book from Cat Sebastian, but I had no hesitation picking it up because my friends have been recommending her work for a year and I’ve just not got to her books until now. UNMASKED BY THE MARQUESS didn’t disappoint with this unexpected story that was delightful, emotional and beautiful.If you want traditional characters from HR, then this probably isn’t what you expect but if you hang around for a few pages, you’ll be sucked in like me. I know Cat Sebastian writes mainly 4.5 starsThis is my first book from Cat Sebastian, but I had no hesitation picking it up because my friends have been recommending her work for a year and I’ve just not got to her books until now. UNMASKED BY THE MARQUESS didn’t disappoint with this unexpected story that was delightful, emotional and beautiful.If you want traditional characters from HR, then this probably isn’t what you expect but if you hang around for a few pages, you’ll be sucked in like me. I know Cat Sebastian writes mainly m/m and this story of Robin and Alistair chronicles a beautiful friendship into something more. Robin is not all that character might seem but the life is borne of necessity turning into preference. I was immediately won over by Robin, a caring, selfless and brave character. The initial friendship dynamic between these two is relatable, just like when you click with someone. “His mouth quirked into approximately one-sixteenth of a smile - you would need a protractor to be sure it had really happened - and his left eyebrow shot up as if to say, What in God’s name am I doing in this place?” Alistair started off as a dry, overly pompous character but Robin was the making of the Marquess. Alistair just needed someone in his life to care enough about, to bring out the goodness hidden inside. Alistair’s greatest facet was his comfort in his own skin and identity alongside the same feeling towards Robin. The chemistry between these two grew so naturally over time and it was utterly palpable.The story was interesting and absorbing from cover to cover. So, in summary, new Cat Sebastian fan over there. Give me all the books!I voluntarily read an early copy of this book.Reviewed for Jo&IsaLoveBooks Blog.
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  • Renae (Romantic Parvenu)
    January 1, 1970
    Hello, good day, and welcome to a review of the most delightful romance of 2018! If you haven't purchased Unmasked by the Marquess yet, please do so. Then read the book and come back to join me in general happy shrieking over how great this novel is.I will wait.Unmasked by the Marquess is a book that, above all, exudes hope and vitality, even in situations that seem very hopeless. Often while reading, I had to wonder how on earth everything would work out. How could Alistair, a straitlaced lord, Hello, good day, and welcome to a review of the most delightful romance of 2018! If you haven't purchased Unmasked by the Marquess yet, please do so. Then read the book and come back to join me in general happy shrieking over how great this novel is.I will wait.Unmasked by the Marquess is a book that, above all, exudes hope and vitality, even in situations that seem very hopeless. Often while reading, I had to wonder how on earth everything would work out. How could Alistair, a straitlaced lord, and Robin, a nonbinary orphan, get what they deserved out of life? I had to trust that Cat Sebastian would see them through this, that she would—in all of her mysterious authorly wizardry—deliver on the promise of any romance: Happily Ever After. And I promise, while the way seems dark at times, it does all sort itself out to perfection.This is, obviously, not your grandmother's traditional Regency romance (no offense, Georgette). This is not a story where the dashing lord meets the shy-yet-beautiful wallflower at the ball and pursues her in spite of obstacles until they end up, in a sugary sweet epilogue, with 10 chubby children (named, in alphabetical order: Asparagus, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Dragon Fruit, and so on) running amok at their feet. Nope. While Unmasked by the Marquess is a sweet and charming book, it's not that kind of sweet and charming.At the beginning of the book, we meet Alistair, a very serious and rather dour marquess, who's spent the past few years cleaning up the messes his scandalous, irresponsible father left behind. Alistair prides himself on being above reproach, and on not doing anything hasty or improper. But then Robin comes galloping into his office, asking for help with her sister's Season, and Alistair's stodgy life gets tossed about. Robin, meanwhile, is a merrily irreverent person with a gorgeous personality. I love her the most. When her oldest friend asked her to switch places and go to Cambridge in his stead, she jumped at the chance, and for the past five years she's been succesfully masquerading as a man. But it's not quite a "masquerade," because Robin feels more at home in a masculine sphere than she ever did when her name was Charity. Throughout the book, Robin is joyful and gloriously herself, and always quick with witty comebacks. 10/10 would like her for a friend.The contrast and (dare I say) culture shock as Alistair and Robin grow close to one another is delightful. Robin brings out not just "the best" in Alistair, but life in general, as he's been so pinned down by always trying to do the correct thing. And I think that, in turn, Alistair makes Robin feel seen and loved a very special way—he doesn't love her in spite of her masculine clothes and behavior, but because of them. Ah, my heart. BRB, taking a break to snuggle both of those wonderful idiots and their wonderful kitten.In terms of the more technical aspects of the book: not to worry! Cat Sebastian is a wonderful writer with a true talent for infusing dire situations with an upbeat, optimistic atmosphere. The internal musings of both protagonists were often hilarious, the sex scenes were phenomenally written, and the supporting cast was vivid. Everything about this was just...ah. *kisses fingers*I know the universe has been sending me signs to read Cat Sebastian's books for a while now, but damn. The universe really knew what she was saying. Unmasked by the Marquess is glorious, charming, sexy-af perfection. Thank you for coming to this meeting of Fangirls Anonymous.
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  • Jan130
    January 1, 1970
    Two unconventional MCs. The H, a marquess, who privately accepts that he is attracted to both women and men, although he hasn't actually been with a man for some time. The h, a foundling orphan raised as a charity girl, is a cross-dresser, and has lived the last several years in the guise of a male, including some years at university. And when they meet, they are attracted to each other from the start.I quite liked the MCs, and whenever they were both on the page, the book was very entertaining. Two unconventional MCs. The H, a marquess, who privately accepts that he is attracted to both women and men, although he hasn't actually been with a man for some time. The h, a foundling orphan raised as a charity girl, is a cross-dresser, and has lived the last several years in the guise of a male, including some years at university. And when they meet, they are attracted to each other from the start.I quite liked the MCs, and whenever they were both on the page, the book was very entertaining. Their relationship felt quite genuine, and the author doesn't wait too long (view spoiler)[ to have Robin reveal her true gender to Pembroke (hide spoiler)]. I think my main issue was with the plot. It was a little complicated. Robin had gotten herself into very difficult life circumstances, although with the finest of motives. But there was going to be no easy way out. No easy HEA, no matter how much she and Pembroke loved each other. There was some mild suspense during the read as to how the author would resolve this tricky situation. Well, it was resolved, and there is a HEA, but it was not really done convincingly enough for me. I didn't really buy it. At the end of the read, the author provides a few interesting examples of women from history who successfully lived as men. I suppose that did address some of my doubts about Robin spending years at university and no-one figuring out she was a woman. But I still had many reservations about a cross-dressing charity child, probably illegitimate, with a very chequered past, marrying a marquess. And the thing is, to the world Pembroke had been a very conventional marquess, very straight-laced, correct and cool, even if he did have a secret bisexual nature. Perhaps the writer did a little too good a job of establishing Pembroke's nature at the start of the book, because that was part of the reason I wasn't convinced in the end. It just didn't seem believable to me. I also didn't really connect with the secondary characters. Some of them were quite important to the plot, but they seemed rather two-dimensional. The cousin whom Robin had wronged, in particular was a mere cipher. I think he needed to be a stronger, more defined character for the plot to really work for me.So, parts of the story were well-done and entertaining, but overall it wasn't a totally successful book for me.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    When I saw that Cat Sebastian wrote a m/f historical romance I thought she would be the one author to pull it off. I love her m/m books for their rational characters who face problems head-on and work hard on their relationships. When I saw that this features a nonbinary heroine and a hero who actually falls for her in her male get-up I was SO excited! I thought, YAY, finally a nice spin on HR! But I guess it wasn't meant to be...I absolutely LOVED the beginning. Seeing Alistair just accepting t When I saw that Cat Sebastian wrote a m/f historical romance I thought she would be the one author to pull it off. I love her m/m books for their rational characters who face problems head-on and work hard on their relationships. When I saw that this features a nonbinary heroine and a hero who actually falls for her in her male get-up I was SO excited! I thought, YAY, finally a nice spin on HR! But I guess it wasn't meant to be...I absolutely LOVED the beginning. Seeing Alistair just accepting the fact that he was falling for his new, MALE friend was perfection. Those two had bickering, chemistry, everything! I thought them finding a way to make their relationship work while Robin figured out who she was would be the main plot, and I was so on board with that.And then... I don't even know what happened in the middle there. Ok, I do (DRAMA!), but. I thought it was just a bit. Pointless. Those two had so much to work through, and what do they do? Yell, pout, go "oh no, us not being together is so much better because you will grow to hate me eventually" (one of my least favorite clichés ever), and break up for no other reason than add even more tension. Add a villainous cousin, a bunch of other random things that lead to more DRAMA, and I sort of hated the entire middle part. I mean. I went back to the Turner series and re-read the entire thing instead of finishing this...The ending did make up for it (view spoiler)[I KNEW I could trust Cat to make this work without resorting to the heroine giving up her identity because of true love *gag* (hide spoiler)], so I'm rounding up to three stars.
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  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come for RHR.
  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, so even if this is the first book of hers that hasn't made me drool with unbridled enthusiasm, I still really enjoyed it, and it's clear to me that Cat Sebastian is going to continue to publish books that I will enjoy reading. I think maybe I was just expecting a lot more from this than it was capable of giving? I don't know. It's also the first non M/M book of hers I read, but I don't think that's why I didn't enjoy this one as much.So, the book. The first half of our couple is Robert Sel Okay, so even if this is the first book of hers that hasn't made me drool with unbridled enthusiasm, I still really enjoyed it, and it's clear to me that Cat Sebastian is going to continue to publish books that I will enjoy reading. I think maybe I was just expecting a lot more from this than it was capable of giving? I don't know. It's also the first non M/M book of hers I read, but I don't think that's why I didn't enjoy this one as much.So, the book. The first half of our couple is Robert Selby, nee Charity Church, a former maid who has been living as a man for the past six years. The real Robert Selby was the son of her employer, and when he decided Cambridge wasn't for him, he decided Charity should go in his place and pretend to be him. Charity thought this an excellent idea as well, especially when it turned out she liked acting and dressing as a man much better than she ever liked doing so as a woman. (The book isn't explicit on how Charity/Robert would identify today, but it's pretty clear by the end that non-binary is the appropriate term, which is confirmed in the author's notes at the end of the book.) Only when the real Robert Selby died, Charity kept on being him. For many reasons, really, but mostly because his estate was entailed, and that means his sister Louisa will be left out in the cold. Charity/Robert is determined to see her married before giving up the fraudulent identity of Robert Selby.And the second half would be the man with the largest stick up his bum, Alistair, the Marquess of Pembroke. Well, actually that's not true. He's just very sensitive about propriety and money because his father ran their estate into the ground, and as Alistair sees it, flaunted his mistresses and illegitimate children around as if it were nothing. He is determined to be proper and responsible, and bring respectability back to the De Lacey name. If he really had a large stick up his bum, he wouldn't fall so hard for Robert/Charity/Robin, Robin being the name the former Charity Church starts to go by after meeting Alistair. Alistair has known for some time his liking for both men and women, and can't help but be attracted to young Mr. Selby. For obvious sexy reasons, Robin can't keep her secret for long.I think what I've determined is the flaw for me in this book is that Sebastian skips the best part of the romance, which for me is all the interactions and things where they actually do the falling in love. She nails the initial attraction and flirtation between the two of them, but then sort of skims over the meat of the actual friendship/relationship building, so the next thing we know, they're ready to do it and stuff, and I'm like, WAIT! I want more of that other thing! I know she had to make room for the angst and the coming to terms with things, but dangit, I know she can do it all because she's done it in literally every other book I've read from her.There is some angst here, but surprisingly the book does have a very HEA. Not entirely sure how historically accurate it is, but frankly, don't really care. It's nice to think it could have happened this way, even if it couldn't.Now eagerly awaiting her next book being published in July.[3.5 stars, rounded up]
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  • Tess
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsHow often do you see an m/f romance between a bisexual man and a non binary woman??? I really enjoyed this! No surprise, though, as it's from one of my favourite historical m/m authors.
  • Ioana
    January 1, 1970
    This book was everything i wanted from it and more (even if the *fluffball doesn't make an appearance until the last part) *what's a Cat Sebastian book without at least one adorable fluffy animal?
  • Kris
    January 1, 1970
    Kudos to Ms Sebastian for giving us a nonbinary character and sticking to it all the way to the end instead of Robin giving up her freedom for love! gag barf gag However, she then turned around and screwed the pooch by adding in the "you will grow to hate/resent me, so we need to break up and be miserable" trope. I LOATHE that trope, it's overused and really who the hell cares? A lot of true loves split up in the future, be happy NOW while you can, you stupid female.Overall it was a well written Kudos to Ms Sebastian for giving us a nonbinary character and sticking to it all the way to the end instead of Robin giving up her freedom for love! gag barf gag However, she then turned around and screwed the pooch by adding in the "you will grow to hate/resent me, so we need to break up and be miserable" trope. I LOATHE that trope, it's overused and really who the hell cares? A lot of true loves split up in the future, be happy NOW while you can, you stupid female.Overall it was a well written book, the characters were nicely fleshed and and intriguing, the plot was reasonable and no deus e machinaing went on, even though Alistair seemed to get over his tempers and his priggishness a bit too rapidly, it wasn't bad enough to kick me out of the story.
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  • Elena
    January 1, 1970
    Cat Sebastian's previous books have centered on gay couples, so when I read the description for this book I was startled that this seemed to be about straight folks. But no! Ms. Sebastian has not dramatically deviated from her norm and written a straight romance, she has instead expanded her queer romance repertoire by introducing characters with queer identities that are super underrepresented in fiction.Here we find the common "woman disguised as boy" trope used to tell a story about a nonbina Cat Sebastian's previous books have centered on gay couples, so when I read the description for this book I was startled that this seemed to be about straight folks. But no! Ms. Sebastian has not dramatically deviated from her norm and written a straight romance, she has instead expanded her queer romance repertoire by introducing characters with queer identities that are super underrepresented in fiction.Here we find the common "woman disguised as boy" trope used to tell a story about a nonbinary person frustrated by the confines of her assigned gender, which was a lovely and refreshing take. I also loved that Alistair (who is bi!) had a conflict largely centered not on struggling to accept his attraction to this unconventional person but rather on how to fit her into his life as a marquess in a way that would be fulfilling for both of them and not a minimization or erasure of key aspects of her identity. (view spoiler)[And instead of Robin sacrificing her menswear and masculine-centered social life to become a marchoiness, which is what always happens in these stories, Alistair comes to terms with the fact that his choices are to lose the person he loves or say "fuck it" to the haters (i.e. nearly everybody) and embrace his love for precisely who she is--yes, even in public. (hide spoiler)]As always, Cat Sebastian paints a too-rosy-to-be-real portrait of queer acceptance in this era, but truly, if you're reading for historical accuracy, just go ahead and get out of the entire historical romance genre now. Is it unrealistic? Yes. But not any less realistic than handsome dukes marrying chambermaids or noblemen running away to become dashing pirates with hearts of gold, or dissipated, hedonistic rakes with muscle-bound bodies that they somehow acquired without any exercise whatsoever. And LGBTQ+ folks deserve to find their fun, heartwarming, unrealistic HEAs in this genre just as much as anyone else.I'm always looking forward to the next Cat Sebastian book, but I'm even more excited than usual to see where she takes this series.Thanks to Edelweiss and Avon for providing a digital review copy.
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  • Ira
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 stars.A very entertaining read but little bit fall short of my expectations.I will write the review later.
  • Tamara (緑)
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure I have the proper words to describe how much I loved this book. The writing flowed easily and had moments that I can only describe as poetry.Alastair seems like an unsympathetic character at first, but further into the story you realize he doesn't really have a cold heart, only ice walls around it. “Robin, I don’t think I’ll ever have the words to describe what you did for me. I was living a half life until that day you let Louisa’s bonnet loose in Hyde Park. Portia says I was on ic I'm not sure I have the proper words to describe how much I loved this book. The writing flowed easily and had moments that I can only describe as poetry.Alastair seems like an unsympathetic character at first, but further into the story you realize he doesn't really have a cold heart, only ice walls around it. “Robin, I don’t think I’ll ever have the words to describe what you did for me. I was living a half life until that day you let Louisa’s bonnet loose in Hyde Park. Portia says I was on ice, and she has the right of it. I wasn’t living. I was only . . . there.”I loved Robin. She is spring, and self-sacrifice, and will of steel and human. “Well,” she said, her eyes wet, “somebody really ought to build a statue of me. I’m amazing.”And they were perfect together."For weeks she had felt lucky to be desired by a man who was open-minded enough to tolerate her strange attire. But it occurred to her now [...] that it wasn’t a question of toleration. He liked this. He liked her, funny clothes and odd hair and the entire in-betweenness of her. She wasn’t an ordinary woman, but he wasn’t an ordinary man either. They fit together, and it felt right."[...]"He felt sorry for the man he had been before knowing Robin. That man had been worried about all the wrong things—money and prestige and respectability, but like she said, those things were only feathers, useless until you fly."I have no more words. Just, if you're a fan of any kind of historical romance, go and read this NOW.
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  • Erica Chilson
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads 5 Stars I attempted to read this book from cover-to-cover, and was quite frustrated when I was forced to stop reading to go make dinner, right at the ending, no less. To clear up any confusion or misunderstandings, I'll preface this review by stating this novel is MF historical romance, featuring a bisexual hero and a heroine who chooses to dress as a male to assume another identity. This is not transgender nor MM romance. Durin I received a copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads 5 Stars I attempted to read this book from cover-to-cover, and was quite frustrated when I was forced to stop reading to go make dinner, right at the ending, no less. To clear up any confusion or misunderstandings, I'll preface this review by stating this novel is MF historical romance, featuring a bisexual hero and a heroine who chooses to dress as a male to assume another identity. This is not transgender nor MM romance. During the commission of the con, Charity finds the identity one in which she identifies with, like putting on a well-worn coat she hadn't realized was her own. 'Robin' was a better fit for Charity, as were the clothing and the freedom she felt. To return to the role of a woman in this era was not a life Charity wished to live. In the era of primogeniture, Charity assumes the role of her childhood friend- Robbie Shelby -to protect his young sister. With his death, Charity wasn't thinking of her own welfare, but that of her 'sister'. Charity wished to protect the girl, wishing the beauty to have an advantageous marriage. If she hadn't assumed the role, a cousin would take control of their estate, leaving them both on the street. At the start of the novel, Alistair was a stuffy, uptight Marquess. While it fit perfectly with the times, there's a lack of compassion and empathy, which made liking Alistair difficult to begin with. He didn't see the children his father had with a mistress as his sisters, while treating his full-blooded brother as a sibling. This was hard to swallow for me, as if his father had no say in the matter of making 3 illegitimate daughters, Alistair blaming the mistress and her daughters for their existence. Obviously Alistair's character growth throughout the novel is a major facet of the premise. The chemistry between Alistair and Charity sparks immediately, showing a different side of Alistair as he appreciates the intimacy and affection of another male in the role of friendship, one where societal influence over how to treat a woman wouldn't affect their budding friendship/relationship. This was sweet, because Alistair wasn't an easy man to befriend, proving how easily the couple came together. They just 'fit'. As for the romance, it was slow-burn with the secrets and lies between them, but ignited brightly with realism. There are other relationships riding shotgun- that of the sister, as well as the familial connection Alistair slowly builds with his sisters and their mother. Angst, frustration, secrets and lies, sweet affection, scorching intimacy, and an intriguing premise of a woman assuming the life of a male, these threads wove together to create an addictive page-turner. The only thing better would've been if the author had thrown in a kitten... Highly recommend to historical romance readers, both mainstream and LGBTQ, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment.
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  • Katinka (Unquietly Me)
    January 1, 1970
    UNMASKED BY THE MARQUESS is a lovely, unforgettable romance. It was such a pleasure to read. It was sexy and sweet and had all the feels. I was invested in Alistair and Charity’s story from the start and rooted for them the whole way through.Because Alistair and Charity had different personalities and upbringings, they gave each other what they needed and what was missing from their lives. Charity’s charming personality broke down Alistair’s walls, and lit up the darkness in his life. I loved ho UNMASKED BY THE MARQUESS is a lovely, unforgettable romance. It was such a pleasure to read. It was sexy and sweet and had all the feels. I was invested in Alistair and Charity’s story from the start and rooted for them the whole way through.Because Alistair and Charity had different personalities and upbringings, they gave each other what they needed and what was missing from their lives. Charity’s charming personality broke down Alistair’s walls, and lit up the darkness in his life. I loved how he described her sparkling laughter as a pop of champagne. I loved how Alistair loved her just the way she was and didn’t want or try to change her. The sexual tension was simply delicious, and the plot was so suspenseful I couldn’t put the book down. Because Charity had many hurdles to overcome after assuming another man’s place in society and Charity’s gender identity would have caused a scandal if Alistair married her, I worried that she and Alistair wouldn’t make it. I was in tears near the end. I wanted them to have their happy ending so much, and I was so happy for them when everything worked out.I liked how Charity saw the light as well. I liked the symbolism of her rebirth. And I liked how Alistair as well as Charity went on a journey to realizing their true selves that the novel also could have been titled “Unmasking the Marquess.” I loved how in the end Charity achieved the freedom she so desired and deserved.I loved the funny moments in the novel. Alistair’s wooing of not only Charity but her acquaintances and his estranged family was rather cute. I loved the goose and the chickens and the kitten, and Alistair in gothic villain mode. The secondary characters were just as entertaining.Alistair and Charity’s understanding of each other, their sexual chemistry and devotion are everything I would want in a romantic relationship.I wholeheartedly recommend this gem of a novel, and look forward to reading Cat Sebastian’s future books.*ARC received from Edelweiss
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Smart nonbinary/genderfluid person + bisexual stuffy marquess + Regency + secrets + hijinks = Cat Sebastian upping her game. Loved it so much. Y’all will want to read this immediately on 4/17.(Richard Armitage is now Pembroke, I accept this headcanon) Tho, a petition is needed to have Avon get Cat better covers. The general design is fine but they need to look less like student Photoshop projects. (Like, is Pembroke missing a thumb here?)
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  • herdys
    January 1, 1970
    This is book has what was missing in It Takes Two to Tumble for me. I loved it. I laughed, I swooned and I just enjoyed the heck out of these two wonderful individuals. As always, even the sidecharacters were great!
  • Jaclyn Loschiavo
    January 1, 1970
    One of the MCs is non-binary, the other is bi. This is exactly what i needed, when i needed it. So we’ll done.
  • Gaele
    January 1, 1970
    Alistair, Marquess of Pembroke is so rigid he’d shatter into pieces were he bent in half. Obsessed with propriety and the mantle of power the title he holds brings, he’s steadily working to regain and rebuild the reputation of his title so ill-used by his father. This has required a near laser focus, years of scrimping and careful management have turned the account books from red to black. But the opportunity for disgracing the title are everywhere: a younger brother who seems aimless and conten Alistair, Marquess of Pembroke is so rigid he’d shatter into pieces were he bent in half. Obsessed with propriety and the mantle of power the title he holds brings, he’s steadily working to regain and rebuild the reputation of his title so ill-used by his father. This has required a near laser focus, years of scrimping and careful management have turned the account books from red to black. But the opportunity for disgracing the title are everywhere: a younger brother who seems aimless and content to continue, and his father’s ‘second family’ – three girls and his former mistress, left in reasonable comfort before his death. The old man’s death, however, did more than leave debts and headaches: his behavior being so scandalous has left Alistair a rigid, propriety first man –icy cold, unemotional and wholly intimidating. That is, until one Robert Selby approaches and begs a favor for his sister, Alistair’s father’s god-daughter Louisa. While not in the habit of providing ‘favors’ for family or unknowns, Alistair’s curious attraction to Selby, combined with his belief that doing this one favor will serve multiple purposes and serve as a ‘warning’ for those who may ask in the future. But while Alistair is attracted to (and without guilt or self-conscious berating) the young man, having no particular shame in his own bisexuality, there’s something different about Selby – and the man that he is when with him. Robert Selby is, in fact, Charity Church – a foundling brought into the Selby home to help raise Louisa after her mother’s death. Good friends with the Selby children, she and Robbie were close and his enjoyment in her seeing further afield than the family lands led to a series of deceptions and twists not common in historical romance. See, Charity donned men’s clothing and took Robbie’s place at Oxford: first as a convenience, then as she discovered the freedoms of men, the comfort and her own behavior adopted the role as a man, and life was proceeding apace, until Louisa’s 18th year. She’s in London as Selby to make Louisa a solid match, and then will decide on his/her next move. Of course, she never expected to find someone like Alistair, and the attraction that she has is a never-ending worry. Slowly a friendship develops, and Alistair in a very uncommon moment of tenderness to this point, bestows a pet name, Robin, upon Selby. Followed by kisses and a scene that could quickly go over the line and unveil Robin’s secret. This story had so many layers and levels – from the attraction and love that is momentarily troubling for Alistair as he believes Robin a male, to the ‘dressing as a boy’ and coming to see oneself and one’s life as integrally entwined with the perceptions and reactions of society in that role, to the actual thawing of Alistair’s countenance and behavior under the influence of the well-intentioned and kind-hearted Robin, and even their own hopes for the future. You know that Robin / Charity will be found out – and from all of the information given – that discovery will be disastrous: but can’t help to admire her for the act, and all she gave up to see Louisa settled and safe. The ending, for me, was wholly unexpected as I thought that a demand for Robin / Charity would mean she’d forego the person she had become in Robin, men’s clothes and all – but kudos to Sebastian for allowing the non-conformity to continue, supported by the person, power and title of Alistair. Sebastian’s books are always a treat to read- mixing gender roles and sexuality with the times, adding a dash of politics and society that serve to highlight the connections without overwhelmingly stifling it, and allowing readers to develop empathy with and for people so very different to themselves. I wholly loved this title, even as the challenges managed to unknot fairly easily, perhaps not quite as in real life – but this is fiction and I was cheering their connection and potential happiness early on. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at I am Indeed
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed on my blog, Becky on Books, on 4/12/18.I've loved all the books so far in Ms. Sebastian's Seducing the Sedgwicks and The Turner series, and was actually a bit bummed when I saw from the cover and the description of this one that Charity was a woman (and further that Alistair was quite obviously a man) but knew that I enjoyed her writing anyway, so I was sure to like this book too... (not to mention I obviously read M/F Regencies all the time, so...)But then I heard Ms. Sebastian on an e Reviewed on my blog, Becky on Books, on 4/12/18.I've loved all the books so far in Ms. Sebastian's Seducing the Sedgwicks and The Turner series, and was actually a bit bummed when I saw from the cover and the description of this one that Charity was a woman (and further that Alistair was quite obviously a man) but knew that I enjoyed her writing anyway, so I was sure to like this book too... (not to mention I obviously read M/F Regencies all the time, so...)But then I heard Ms. Sebastian on an episode of the podcast The Wicked Wallflowers Club and learned that Charity was actually nonbinary and Alistair was bi, and knew that all was right again with the world. Honestly, I would have read it anyway, because I have loved all her books so far, but I really do look forward to seeing how her characters will navigate the situations that their orientation and the time period will throw their way...plus, I just love her writing. Have I mentioned this? ;)Alistair and Charity/Robin's romance is absolutely delightful. I was (pleasantly) surprised when Alistair found out rather earlier than I'd expected about the whole Robin-impersonating-Robbie bit, but of course it ended up being at exactly the right time because there were so many other aspects of the story that needed to be worked out before they could reach their HEA. Watching Alistair go from a rather stuffy prig to the much looser, much happier man he is at the end thanks to Robin's influence was absolutely delightful. (I wasn't his biggest fan in the beginning, but by the end was starting to think of him with lots of exclamation points: The kitten! A goose! His spectacles! etc.) I did love from the start, though, that even though he seemed to have a stick up his posterior about so many things that his own bisexuality wasn't something that bothered him at all.Plus, he did get over himself eventually and came to realize what Robin needed without being hit over the head with it, so...And I loved, loved, loved that Robin stuck to her guns and refused to be less than she was, even if it meant that she might not (gasp!) end up with Alistair in the end. I loved even more how Ms. Sebastian did get them to their HEA eventually, and can't wait to see where else this series is going to take us.(And don't skip the author's note at the end--I need to get my hands on some of the history she researched for this one. Sounds fascinating!)Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    Note: This ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, which can be read in its entirety on Dog-Eared Daydreams.First things first: yes, Robert (aka Robin) is actually Charity Church, and yes, she wears men's clothing and has done so since she was eighteen. There were reasons why she did what she did six years ago, and has even greater motivation to continue the farce at present. While Robert Selby actually being Charity Church is not a secret--it's mentioned in the offic Note: This ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, which can be read in its entirety on Dog-Eared Daydreams.First things first: yes, Robert (aka Robin) is actually Charity Church, and yes, she wears men's clothing and has done so since she was eighteen. There were reasons why she did what she did six years ago, and has even greater motivation to continue the farce at present. While Robert Selby actually being Charity Church is not a secret--it's mentioned in the official synopsis for the book--I'm not going to go into detail as to what led her down that path and why was still on said path when she meets the Marquess of Pembroke. Suffice it to say that when Robin's secret is revealed, things only become more complicated for her as well as those closest to Robin.Robin, which is the name she prefers to be called by the end of the book, being what could be considered today as being a non-binary individual--someone who doesn't identify as either male or female--is probably one of the most notable things about the book. However, I would be remiss if I fail to mention that Alistair's attraction to Robin regardless of the clothing worn or by who Alistair believed Robin to be--i.e. male--prior to learning the truth is also noteworthy. After all, it's not as if one's sexuality and gender identification being different from what was considered the norm is exclusive to contemporary times; there are simply far more labels nowadays.Having a novel story line and main characters is one thing, but if Cat Sebastian's writing were not up to snuff, this book could have very well failed miserably. Fortunately, she has once again shown that she has the writing chops to not merely pull a plot and a cast like these off but does so with aplomb. Kudos to Sebastian, as well, for taking the time to provide information that shows how Robin's situation was not as implausible as one may think during that time period. The author an admirable tale of romance and family and how legacy and integrity are not necessarily tied to one's public persona and reputation. Five-plus stars for Unmasked by the Marquess. ♥
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  • Zili
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars in my Sky!Unmasked by the Marquess is a very different historical romance. It's quite unlike any other historical book I've read. It has a hint of Twelfth Night with gender swapping and misunderstandings.Robert/Robin aka Charity has been hiding in plain sight, dressing as a man for years now (sorry I can't say why it's a big spoiler). Whilst there are reasons for her doing so, I enjoyed her more gender fluid approach because it definitely adds something to the usual female meets male h 3.5 Stars in my Sky!Unmasked by the Marquess is a very different historical romance. It's quite unlike any other historical book I've read. It has a hint of Twelfth Night with gender swapping and misunderstandings.Robert/Robin aka Charity has been hiding in plain sight, dressing as a man for years now (sorry I can't say why it's a big spoiler). Whilst there are reasons for her doing so, I enjoyed her more gender fluid approach because it definitely adds something to the usual female meets male historical romance.Alistair, the Marquess of Pembroke has his own complicated history. He's attracted to both men and women. He's drawn to her as a male called Robin. He likes Robin even before her identity is revealed.The writing is fun and descriptive. The issues are well handled to the point where I was so invested in their story that the gender questions fell away and I focused on them as individuals.Cat Sebastian has written a sweet and dramatic historical story with likeable characters and intrigue.I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review!
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  • *~*~*Kael*~*~*
    January 1, 1970
    NOT M/M!! Most definitely NOT interested!!*** Doh! I had this as a duplicate entry and deleted the wrong review o__O!! Thank you for the info, JenMcJ!! ***From her website: Unmasked by the Marquess, will come out in April 2018. It’s the story of a servant who dresses as a man to impersonate her employer, realizes she doesn’t identify as a woman anymore, and accidentally falls in love with a prickly bisexual aristocrat. Featuring: spectacles, lemon drops, and a kitten. *************Is this M/M th NOT M/M!! Most definitely NOT interested!!*** Doh! I had this as a duplicate entry and deleted the wrong review o__O!! Thank you for the info, JenMcJ!! ***From her website: Unmasked by the Marquess, will come out in April 2018. It’s the story of a servant who dresses as a man to impersonate her employer, realizes she doesn’t identify as a woman anymore, and accidentally falls in love with a prickly bisexual aristocrat. Featuring: spectacles, lemon drops, and a kitten. *************Is this M/M though?!? It's tagged as M/M but one of the MCs on the cover genuinely looks like a woman o__O! So I am wondering if this is M/F and was just tagged incorrectly. It HAS happened with other authors before. If anyone can shed some insight, that'd be great. Not interested if it's an M/F book!!
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  • Alpacapanache
    January 1, 1970
    I knew I was going to enjoy this, and I wasn't at all surprised. It's too bad the cover is so mainstream/stereotypical when the story itself is unique, and not just your typical m/f romance. The main character being trans/nonbinary! :OAlso, slightly spoiler, but I have to say I really enjoy how Cat Sebastian can write stories where the characters have major secrets, and the reader isn't left angsting about the inevitable big reveal for 90% of the book. It's refreshing?
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  • ConM
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this, but not my favorite by this author.The characters were witty, and the story good, but the last quarter dragged.
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