A Duke in Disguise (Regency Imposters, #2)
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 more time she spends with Ash, the more 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

A Duke in Disguise (Regency Imposters, #2) Details

TitleA Duke in Disguise (Regency Imposters, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 9th, 2019
PublisherAvon Books
Rating
GenreRomance, Historical, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Regency

A Duke in Disguise (Regency Imposters, #2) Review

  • WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. He held out a hairpin.“When did you start carrying those in your pocket?” she asked, recalling that this was not the first time he had produced a timely hairpin. A very faint blush darkened Ash’s cheekbones and Verity felt her lips curl upward in response.“I find them all over the house,” he said. “You ought to consider what conditions you’re subjecting your ha I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. He held out a hairpin.“When did you start carrying those in your pocket?” she asked, recalling that this was not the first time he had produced a timely hairpin. A very faint blush darkened Ash’s cheekbones and Verity felt her lips curl upward in response.“I find them all over the house,” he said. “You ought to consider what conditions you’re subjecting your hairpins to if they’d rather plummet to their death than work for you. Here,” he said, lifting a loose tendril of hair. “You expect your pins to do the work of subjugating the masses. It’s oppression. Your hair clearly wants to be free.” Second in the Regency Imposters series, A Duke in Disguise, stars Verity Plum and John “Ash” Ashby. Verity runs Plum & Co., a publishing company and her long-time friend Ash does illustrations for them. I have not read the first in the series, so I'm not sure if these two were introduced there or if some of their story was already given but I felt a little lost in the beginning, as if I should already have some comfort with these people and their world.Verity's brother likes to flirt with writing, just about line crossing, seditious editorials, so we have her worried about him and the worry of trying to get him to leave the country. Ash is friends with both of them, which is why he has tried to keep to himself his deep feelings for Verity. When Verity asks him to draw accompanying illustrations to an erotic leaning book, the sexual tension heats up between the two. The beginning was mostly about the danger to the brother, letting the readers know about Ash's long standing feelings for Verity, and Verity starting to warm to the idea of exploring a different kind of relationship with Ash. It was a bit of a bumpy start, as I mentioned, it felt like I should already know these characters and their world and it wasn't until around the mid-way mark that I finally felt placed in the story. He was going to lose everything that made him who he was. By the mid-way point, the brother has been dealt with and along with the hesitant touch and go between Verity and Ash, we get a switching of gears with Ash. In a very serendipitous occurrence, he gets commissioned to draw plants for a Lady, who turns out to be his aunt. Ash grew-up in foster care until pre-teens was apprenticed to a man named Roger. For how close and loving his relationship seemed to be with Roger, the reader never gets to meet Roger or see him with Ash, which left an emotional hole in the story for me.Turns out his aunt faked his death, after his uncle pushed him down the stairs, to protect him because Ash is actually the heir to the Arundel dukedom. His father was put into an asylum because he suffered from, what we would call today, epileptic seizures, which Ash also occasionally suffers from. Ash's uncle is a very cardboard cut-out villain, who acts like a mindless brute when he appears on page. His grandfather, who apparently doted on him when he was a child but barely wants to speak to him now, also ended up feeling like a frivolous character. These two were supposed to round out this storyline but ended up feeling very empty. Ash's aunt gets more page time and has more quality to her character and I would love to see her get a happy ending of her own in the future. She was necessary to him, and he thought he might be necessary to her. Ash doesn't act on his feelings for Verity because he doesn't want to ruin the friendship he has with her or her brother. Verity is more of a self-contained person, not wanting to lose her independence, which ties into her vulnerability in being emotionally hurt and how society is currently structured to give all the power to men over women. She had a previous relationship with a woman but ended it after the other woman developed deeper feelings than Verity had. She also doesn't want to jeopardize her friendship with Ash, as the story goes on she begins to realize how important he is to her. Add in how she is against the injustices of a monarchy government and the nobility and you can see the conflicts affecting these two.When Ash learns he is the Arundel heir, he decides to give himself a month to act on his feelings for Verity, as he doesn't think she will want to see him again once he becomes a part of the nobility. I didn't enjoy this lying by omission to Verity plot and as it folded pretty quickly, I thought it was a weak way to get these two in bed together. I enjoyed Verity's hardness and Ash's congenial personality mesh but with the rocky beginning and then Ash dealing with the dukedom, I had a problem really diving into their characters and feeling them as a couple. It felt like everything was at once impossible for them to be together and then suddenly they were, I didn't feel their emotional journey to get there, which is what I enjoy the most in romances. And yet, for Ash, she thought she could live with almost anything that let them be together. The story had a rocky beginning and a busy plot that didn't always have well rounded supporting characters. However, I did enjoy the author's writing style and this world does have some intriguing threads and characters; Ash's aunt, Verity's brother, and one of their friends, Amelia, who writes about infamous historical figures in scandalous settings. I felt Verity and Ash's friendship but I'm not sure I made it to their romance.
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  • Navessa
    January 1, 1970
    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
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  • Caz
    January 1, 1970
    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 something more.  It’s a well-written story with a very strong sense of time and place featuring two engaging and complex principals; there’s a nod o 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 something more.  It’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 become more and more difficult with each passing day.You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance .
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  • Sam (AMNReader)
    January 1, 1970
    "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 feeling "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 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.
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  • ⚣Michaelle⚣
    January 1, 1970
    It's Cat Sebastian...if anyone can get me to read a "straight up" MF title, she can.
  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    "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 th "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 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 grow more intimate, 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 even more important 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 learn more about 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).
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  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    BFF to more is one of my favorite things, so I was all over this book + the promise of a new to me author was something I couldn’t ignore. I loved Verity and Ash. I loved their button pushing and loyalty. I loved her saltiness and his charm. I absolutely loved how they complimented and accepted each other. Verity’s brother Nate was a bit lacking, but I was especially smitten with Amelia and I hope we get more of her. Plot wise, it didn’t quite go in the direction I was expecting. There was a lot BFF to more is one of my favorite things, so I was all over this book + the promise of a new to me author was something I couldn’t ignore. I loved Verity and Ash. I loved their button pushing and loyalty. I loved her saltiness and his charm. I absolutely loved how they complimented and accepted each other. Verity’s brother Nate was a bit lacking, but I was especially smitten with Amelia and I hope we get more of her. Plot wise, it didn’t quite go in the direction I was expecting. There was a lot of push and pull and some parts of the plot felt repetitive. I did really enjoy the last few chapters and scenes of the declaration with a hat, the bonding over an accident, and everything with the cat. Yes, this will all make sense when you read it. Overall, it was the characters that I adored. I could have easily read more scenes of banter and I desperately wanted more from the epilogue, but I think that’s just me being greedy. **Huge thanks to Avon Books for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Marlene
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published at Reading RealityI finished this a week or so ago, but unlike my usual habit, I did not immediately write up the review. It took me a few days to figure out why I didn’t want to revisit the book.I think it’s that I was disappointed.I expected to love this book. The first book in the series, Unmasked by the Marquess, was filled with light and verve and was just amazeballs. The author had managed to take a genre that has been done to death and took it into an entirely new dir Originally published at Reading RealityI finished this a week or so ago, but unlike my usual habit, I did not immediately write up the review. It took me a few days to figure out why I didn’t want to revisit the book.I think it’s that I was disappointed.I expected to love this book. The first book in the series, Unmasked by the Marquess, was filled with light and verve and was just amazeballs. The author had managed to take a genre that has been done to death and took it into an entirely new direction with its genderqueer heroine (Robin thinks of herself as “she”, so she is the heroine, after all) and its unashamedly bisexual hero.That they don’t just find each other, but fall in love and marry, and that the titular Marquess loves Robin exactly as she is, male clothing, behavior and ALL, was remarkably refreshing. And a whole lot of fun.After that, and after her two highly regarded male/male Regency series, The Turners and Seducing the Sedgwicks, I was expecting something other than the rather traditional male/female romance I got in A Duke in Disguise.This is an author whose Twitter bio proclaims her as “writer of Marxist tracts with boning…” In A Duke in Disguise, we got plenty of the Marxist tracts, as heroine Verity Plum heads a publishing house that publishes radical political tracts – and is branching out into publishing very dirty books with plenty of boning.That Verity is politically active, and that she very definitely works for her living, makes her a bit different from the standard Regency heroine. Verity isn’t just part of the radical political movement, she’s also unashamedly bisexual and is completely unwilling to marry – because marriage will cost her the independence she both needs and prizes.But the hero of this tale feels like he’s a bit too much cut from the standard Regency hero mold. In fact, he reminds me a teensy bit of the hero of A Most Unlikely Duke (although I liked that book considerably more), in that he has no clue that he is a duke until a series of fortunate (actually unfortunate from his perspective) coincidences returns him to the family who gave him away for adoption when he was a toddler.Before he discovers he’s a duke, James Ashby makes his living as a highly skilled engraver. He’s the artist who is designing the plates for that dirty book that Verity plans to publish.Ash, as he’s called, Verity and her brother Roger, have been friends for years, forming a family-of-choice for the seemingly orphaned Ash. However, Ash has been in love with Verity for years – merely too afraid to risk the friendship he needs for a romantic relationship that he’s sure has very little chance of working out.His angsty pining over Verity gets to be a bit much after awhile – and feels very traditional at the same time – albeit with the proverbial shoe on the other foot. He pines after her, while she is aware of the sexual tension and the risk that it might be more – or might explode in their faces – but it doesn’t break her heart or interfere with her rational processes in quite the same way – at least not for a considerable while into the story.When Ash discovers he’s the heir to a dukedom, he finally decides to risk a relationship with Verity – because he believes it will be brief. He assumes that once she discovers that he is part of the aristocracy they both loathe, she will leave him behind without a second thought.And he will have some beautiful but bittersweet memories to keep him warm in the cold company he must keep in order to rescue his aunt and all of his family’s dependents from the murderous impulses of the man who will otherwise inherit the title and the power that goes with it.In the end, Ash gives up love for duty, and Verity, surprising to both of them, gives up independence for love. It does all tie up neatly with a bow.I expected more fun and much less tradition.Escape Rating B-: I was disappointed in comparison with the previous book in the series, but that doesn’t mean that A Duke in Disguise was not a fun read – because it mostly was. I’ll also confess that I thought that Verity was a much more interesting character than Ash – in spite of his sudden and unexpected elevation.She was different from the usual run of Regency heroines, while still being plausible. Ash, in spite of the illness that caused his family to send him away, felt too much like he was cut from the standard cloth.The story reminds me rather a lot of Dare to Love a Duke by Eva Leigh, in a couple of important ways. Ash, like the hero of that story, conceals his heritage in order to spend time with the woman he loves – a woman he believes that he will have to give up because of their relative positions in society – and a woman who he believes will not want to be part of that society with the restrictions that it places on the women in it.Unfortunately, the two books also resemble each other in the way that both were good reads in themselves but slightly disappointing compared to their predecessors in their respective series. Your reading mileage may vary.
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  • Amy Aelleah
    January 1, 1970
    *snicker/snort* 'Yes, this is an actual M/F romance.' *cough* Definitely hoping that we will still get some LGBT rep.
  • Elley Murray
    January 1, 1970
    Rating 4.5 starsFirst off, HOORAY for a neurodivergent MC and a bisexual MC! *throws a party* When Cat Sebastian tweeted something about A Duke in Disguise being her first m/f romance, I was little like "but why?" Not that I don't read all sorts of romances (I do), but Cat does queer romance SO WELL. And if you haven't read the first book in the Regency Imposters series, Unmasked by the Marquess yet, GO DO IT - Robin is a nonbinary MC and the entire book is just AMAAAAZE. But I digress. I'm a li Rating 4.5 starsFirst off, HOORAY for a neurodivergent MC and a bisexual MC! *throws a party* When Cat Sebastian tweeted something about A Duke in Disguise being her first m/f romance, I was little like "but why?" Not that I don't read all sorts of romances (I do), but Cat does queer romance SO WELL. And if you haven't read the first book in the Regency Imposters series, Unmasked by the Marquess yet, GO DO IT - Robin is a nonbinary MC and the entire book is just AMAAAAZE. But I digress. I'm a little disappointed that the cover isn't a better representation of Verity... After reading this book, I can NOT picture her lounging so passively in that gorgeous pink dress. Her hair should be all askew, with ink smudged on her face, and her position in relation to Ash should be one that is MUCH more forceful, direct, and from a place of power. She is a dynamic and complex character that I just can't make jibe with the cover model. Oh, also, Virgin Hero Alert!!Also, both Verity and Ash are so insecure and damaged, which is apparently my catnip. There are several moments in this book where my eyes welled up and my heart cracked open. "No, Verity, it's just that we got carried away last night. It's not a good idea." Of course it wasn't a good idea, she wanted to yell. What kind of fool would think it was a good idea to entrust one's heart to a cold, unfeeling creature such as she? He wanted to mean something to somebody. But he couldn't without risking ending up with nothing and nobody at all. Arrows, straight into my heart. I just love them together, and how they walk this tightrope trying to stay friends and not fall into the pit of attraction yawning open in each of them. I wasn't quite as enamored of Verity's brother, Nate, but one side character I did really enjoy is Amelia! I really hope she either gets her own book or that we'll get to see her progress through the other books in the series. A Duke in Disguise is the second book in the Regency Imposters series, but can be read as a stand alone with no spoilers for the first book. In fact, I don't think the characters from book 1 even show up in this one... just some side characters in common.An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for review.Like this review? Check out more of my reviews on my blog, Elley the Book Otter
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  • Tess
    January 1, 1970
    Putting this on pause at 30%. I love the concept of having queer MCs in an MF romance. However, I'm having difficulties connecting with the characters.
  • Aarya Marsden
    January 1, 1970
    Link to live tweeting thread: https://twitter.com/aarya_marsden/sta...I said it on twitter and I’ll say it again: A DUKE IN DISGUISE is a more effective manual/recruiting tool for socialism than The Communist Manifesto.
  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    This is only the second book I've read by Cat Sebastian, but I've already become a fan of her writing. I loved "A Duke in Disguise," a refreshingly different take on historical romance. Verity and Ash were such likeable, well-developed characters and I really appreciated the fact that they managed to stay true to themselves despite the many changes that took place over the course of the story. Not only that, both Ash and Verity were clear on what they wanted and were willing to accept in terms o This is only the second book I've read by Cat Sebastian, but I've already become a fan of her writing. I loved "A Duke in Disguise," a refreshingly different take on historical romance. Verity and Ash were such likeable, well-developed characters and I really appreciated the fact that they managed to stay true to themselves despite the many changes that took place over the course of the story. Not only that, both Ash and Verity were clear on what they wanted and were willing to accept in terms of a relationship, and they actually communicated those desires and expectations to each other. One of my pet peeves in a romance is when the main characters fail to communicate honestly with their partner, and it was truly delightful to read about a couple who, despite the many challenges they faced, managed to avoid that trap and work together to build a relationship that allowed them both to be happy. I also enjoyed this book's unique setting away from the typical ballrooms and other trappings of upper class Regency society. It was interesting to get a sense of what life might have been like for families like Verity's, who weren't wealthy and actually had to worry about things like how to make four mutton chops feed eight people when there were unexpected dinner guests or how to stretch a stew so it would last for two meals instead of one. The courtroom scenes were also interesting and different, though the timeline for Ash's court case was probably unrealistic (which, to be fair, is acknowledged and explained in the Author's Note).Finally, it was good to catch up with Mrs. Allenby and her daughter Amelia, who appeared as secondary characters in the first book of this series as well. I really hope there are plans for Amelia to get her own book in the future!*ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Niki
    January 1, 1970
    Ash has never been able to deny Verity Plum anything, so he reluctantly agrees to help her with some scandalous illustrations for a novel she's publishing in an effort to keep her family's publishing company afloat. He's always tried his best to hide his feelings and keep them from developing further since his friendship with Verity and her brother, Nate, is a fragile thing. Ash has been mostly alone his entire life and he can't afford to lose either of them. Besides he knows Verity has made it Ash has never been able to deny Verity Plum anything, so he reluctantly agrees to help her with some scandalous illustrations for a novel she's publishing in an effort to keep her family's publishing company afloat. He's always tried his best to hide his feelings and keep them from developing further since his friendship with Verity and her brother, Nate, is a fragile thing. Ash has been mostly alone his entire life and he can't afford to lose either of them. Besides he knows Verity has made it clear she never desires marriage and though he's come to terms with being illegitimate himself, Ash would never inflict that stigma on his child, so any long term relationship he has must ultimately end in marriage. Verity just wants to keep her publishing company afloat and keep her brother from being jailed, or worse, for sedition. She knows she's not cut out for romance or caring relationships so she tries to stay away from Ash. When the opportunity to publish a risque novel presents itself, Verity knows it's necessary for their business and asks Ash to illustrate it. As the two spend more and more time working together, the carefully drawn lines of their friendship become even more blurred. Making a fragile living as an engraver and illustrator, Ash is also plague by seizures and has had a very sporadic education at best, so when he learns he is the lost heir to a dukedom, no one is more shocked than himself. Ash begins to question everything he thought he knew about himself. He has no interest in becoming a duke, but his newfound uncle, the current heir, is an evil man who will no doubt use the position for ill. Ash has never been able to turn away from someone asking for help and his newly discovered aunt is no different. He fears this his elevation in society means losing Verity for good so he asks to delay the revelation for a month and throws caution to the wind with regards to their relationship since he has nothing to lose anyway.This whole premise was different for me and a bit odd. Verity wasn't likable to me, especially at first; I found her to be too catty and hard and Ash to be too weak. I could at least understand Verity's need for self-sufficiency, but I got annoyed with her resentment of Ash when he was nothing but supportive of her. These two have spent years awkwardly dancing around each other and I began losing my patience with them and the plot after a while in which nothing really happened. The pace was a bit slow for me, with the first half mostly devoted to the details of their seditious printing, the volatile political climate, and Ash and Verity's awkward dance. Ash doesn't learn about his true origins until halfway through the book and that's about when I finally started to get into it.Despite the slow pace, this was an extremely well-written book and after it finally picked up I began to enjoy it. I did feel like it was a bit anticlimactic in terms of their relationship. I liked the fact that the hero was the one to declare himself first, but found the heroine to be very rigid and unlikable. She wasn't here for any discussions of the future or feelings and yet was insulted by Ash thinking she'd never love him. You can't have it both ways honey and hypocrisy is one of my pet peeves. Other than that I did really like it and how different the characters were from the norm.I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    What the blurb says this book is about: sekrit identity, Regency porn. What this book is actually about: emotional labor. It's... really good. The conflict is real, and the stakes are emotionally very high. And they're all doing their best to be true to themselves and each other. Which means that this was a book I liked very, very much.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Ash has a problem: after successfully keeping his fondness and attraction for best friend Verity Plum under control, things have changed. First, she asks him to illustrate an erotic novel and deliver illustrations where the woman looks like she's enjoying herself. Then, he discovers that he's not the illegitimate nobody he was raised to believe, a duke's missing heir. He asks for a month to indulge in what his heart most desires, but will a month of Verity Plum ever be enough? I loved this book. Ash has a problem: after successfully keeping his fondness and attraction for best friend Verity Plum under control, things have changed. First, she asks him to illustrate an erotic novel and deliver illustrations where the woman looks like she's enjoying herself. Then, he discovers that he's not the illegitimate nobody he was raised to believe, a duke's missing heir. He asks for a month to indulge in what his heart most desires, but will a month of Verity Plum ever be enough? I loved this book. It was a little rocky at the beginning, but once I got into it and learned the characters, I was totally sold. Verity Plum was such a treat. Strong willed, smart, independent, and bisexual. She's enterprising and impetuous and just a delight to read. I liked her relationship with Ash, from the beginnings when it was just undercurrents between them, to the first moment of weakness, to the conclusion. All the characters were wonderful and this was just a delight to read. Honestly, as much as I love Cat Sebastian, I almost was going to give it a pass because it was M/F, but it was an utter joy to read and I'm so glad I gave it a try.
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  • Em
    January 1, 1970
    A very solid 4 stars. 4.25, even. It didn't tear my heart out (it's not that brand of angst) but this book felt like someone you look up to putting a hand on your shoulder and saying with confidence, "You can do this". In this case "this" is "decide to marry your friend even though you're a radical bookseller and he's suddenly a Duke and you might have to wear bonnets now". And it's GOOD. Full review---> https://dukedukegoose.wordpress.com/2...
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  • Helen Kord
    January 1, 1970
    Full review to come later but please know that Cat managed to make me love a book with Duke in the title and as someone who hates dukes in histrom, that's a huge deal
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Friends to lovers romance with a wee bit of sedition and Perkin Warbeck slash-fic. What’s not to love?If you were hoping for a little Pembroke-and-Robin action, they don’t appear as characters here, although Mrs Allenby and Amelia appear as wonderful additions to this story. This narrative is almost parallel to that of Unmasked by the Marquess.(To the cover designer: Verity would NEVER wear that gown.)
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  • Didi
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars rounded Up“A Duke in Disguise” is a second book in Cat Sebastian’s “Regency Imposters” series but it can be read as a standalone. It’s a love story between two friends - a bisexual bookseller and a virgin engraver; a slow burn romance and long time crush that finally came to fruition! And let’s not forget the surly, demonic cat who adopted Ash (and Verity) as her human AND the lewd novel that bridged Ash and Verity’s so-called wooing. Told alternately from Ash and Verity’s POVs in stea 3.5 Stars rounded Up“A Duke in Disguise” is a second book in Cat Sebastian’s “Regency Imposters” series but it can be read as a standalone. It’s a love story between two friends - a bisexual bookseller and a virgin engraver; a slow burn romance and long time crush that finally came to fruition! And let’s not forget the surly, demonic cat who adopted Ash (and Verity) as her human AND the lewd novel that bridged Ash and Verity’s so-called wooing. Told alternately from Ash and Verity’s POVs in steady pace, the story hinted at hidden feeling both MCs felt as well as Ash’s hazy past, before going on to reveal ALL. The circumstances that kept both from expressing their true feeling - for reasons of their own because these two good friends knew one another too well - wasn’t so far fetched even if somewhat frustrating. I loved how Ash never judged Verity for her prior affairs nor Verity mocked Ash when she found out about his innocence. In fact, the budding romance between these best friends was so tender yet sizzling at the same time. That they worked their issues to be together in the end without drawing out more time than necessary was also a bonus. The perk of these particular pair to me was how clear-headed they were and rarely let emotion got the better of them. I think my issue with this book had more to do with the family issue and the way everything revealed. The overall process felt like too much telling and less showing. Adding to that was what I thought the oversight in impeding the true brigand from doing (more) harm. ALTHOUGH, I loved how the author turned it around into moment the heroine took charge and SOLVED THE PROBLEM. A bit too blood-thirsty perhaps. But aah... what a perfect ending to a certain someone. :)Advanced copy of this book is kindly given by the author/publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Norah Gibbons
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+ in exchange for a fair review. A Duke In Disguise is the second book in Cat Sebastians excellent The Regency Imposters series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I do highly recommend reading the first one Unmasked by the Marquess because I enjoyed that book as well. This is a story of friends to lovers and a missing heir. Verity Plum is an awesome heroine, she is the one everyone turns to and depends upon and she’s grumpy and disgruntle I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+ in exchange for a fair review. A Duke In Disguise is the second book in Cat Sebastians excellent The Regency Imposters series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I do highly recommend reading the first one Unmasked by the Marquess because I enjoyed that book as well. This is a story of friends to lovers and a missing heir. Verity Plum is an awesome heroine, she is the one everyone turns to and depends upon and she’s grumpy and disgruntled trying to make ends meet, keep her brother’s head on his shoulders and the has vowed never to marry after watching her parents union. John Ashton(Ash) has been in love with her for many years but because he doesn’t want to lose her as a friend they tread a delicate balance neither one willing to risk their friendship over something as fleeting as passion. A job engraving pictures of plants for Lady Caroline Talbot leads to the discovery that he is the missing heir to the Duke of Arundel and everything in his life is about to change. You will cheer for these two as they try and find a way to make things work and boo the nasty villain. This book was such a fun read that I went back and re-read a few favourite chapters because I was not ready for it to end. Medium Steam Publishing Date April 9, 2019 #CatSebastian #Edelweissplus #ADukeInDisguise #HarperCollinsCanada #AvonImpulse
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  • Lauren K.
    January 1, 1970
    I'll preface this by saying I'm newer to reading romance novels. I've only read a handful and only in the last two years. That being said, this is the third novel I've read by Cat Sebastian and it won't be the last. The characters have their own very distinct personalities and honest to God, I laughed out loud at a couple different parts. It's charming, and tangible and feels appropriately sexy. My only issue is that I run into a Goldilocks situation - I want it to be just right. Since I haven't I'll preface this by saying I'm newer to reading romance novels. I've only read a handful and only in the last two years. That being said, this is the third novel I've read by Cat Sebastian and it won't be the last. The characters have their own very distinct personalities and honest to God, I laughed out loud at a couple different parts. It's charming, and tangible and feels appropriately sexy. My only issue is that I run into a Goldilocks situation - I want it to be just right. Since I haven't read a ton of romance I'm not sure if it's romance novels in general or what, but the characters having secret issues keeping them apart only to be overcome by having misunderstandings thing gets a little old. But that being said, I really enjoyed this. If you like historical romance and enjoy reading about characters you can really see fleshed out I would highly recommend this. As well as the authors other books. I will definitely keep reading her work.
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  • Monica
    January 1, 1970
    SQUEE! I ADORE VERITY PLUM! She is probably my favorite romance heroine ever. She's grumpy, forthright, and wonderful. She thinks deeply and speaks passionately about a woman's place in society and her role in marriage. She's passionate and wonderful and everything I love in a character! Also the best bi rep that I've read. And Ash is the perfect cinnamon roll love interest. He supports her and treats her with respect without losing himself. Love, love, love this book!
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  • Tracy DeNeal
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it!I love the way that Cat Sebastian infuses her stories with history and creates characters with depth of emotion and true feeling. Ash and Verity were such delightful characters. I enjoyed reading this book immensely.
  • melanie
    January 1, 1970
    This was just an absolute delight and those who know me can only imagine the unholy shriek I let loose at the Isabella of France mentions.
  • Vendela
    January 1, 1970
    A glorious romp, with a lot of sweetness that really works.
  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    thoroughly enjoyed this one.
  • Kara Jorgensen
    January 1, 1970
    A romance is nothing without its characters and let me say that I absolutely love Ash and Verity. Verity is a spit-fire and Ash is incredibly sweet and even-tempered, which works well to balance them out. Both are driven characters with their own talents and goals, and that fact that their stories go before the text begins makes them seem even more real. Plus, it's rare to have a good friends to lovers that doesn't feel awkward or stilted. As someone who is in a long-term relationship with their A romance is nothing without its characters and let me say that I absolutely love Ash and Verity. Verity is a spit-fire and Ash is incredibly sweet and even-tempered, which works well to balance them out. Both are driven characters with their own talents and goals, and that fact that their stories go before the text begins makes them seem even more real. Plus, it's rare to have a good friends to lovers that doesn't feel awkward or stilted. As someone who is in a long-term relationship with their best friend, their romance felt so right to me since it had a strong foundation of friendship. Verity's bisexuality was handled well as well as the romantic/sexy scenes between the characters. It all feels very plausible and the characters well-written and realistic. I especially loved Aunt Caroline and I hope we see more of her in the future (please give Caroline a partner or at least close friend. She deserves it).Overall, a great romance with a hint of danger and a lot of well-done history. I can't wait for the next installment and more of Amelia and Nate's erotica/biographies of horrible people.
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  • Shivani Seth
    January 1, 1970
    Review en route soon, but I loved this book so much I devoured it in a night. The wit and back and forth are so evident and I loved the realism of how they deal with getting to their HEA. My heart.
  • Jenny Rae Rappaport
    January 1, 1970
    I occasionally review books, especially when they blow me away, and Cat Sebastian’s A DUKE IN DISGUISE fits that description exactly. There’s so much to love about this book—the hero, Ash, is a sensitive, intelligent person; the heroine, Verity, is strong and independent without seeming cliched; and the love story that develops between them is rooted in an incredibly strong friendship. Ash, who has a seizure disorder, doesn’t remember his early childhood as an orphan, and most of his memories a I occasionally review books, especially when they blow me away, and Cat Sebastian’s A DUKE IN DISGUISE fits that description exactly. There’s so much to love about this book—the hero, Ash, is a sensitive, intelligent person; the heroine, Verity, is strong and independent without seeming cliched; and the love story that develops between them is rooted in an incredibly strong friendship. Ash, who has a seizure disorder, doesn’t remember his early childhood as an orphan, and most of his memories are hazy before he was apprenticed to an engraver at ten or eleven. When the book opens, his long-time master, Roger, has just left England in search of a climate more conducive to his health. Virtually alone in the world, Ash follows Roger’s final orders, and moves back into the house of his only other friends in the world: the Plum siblings. He’s terrified to act on the feelings he has for Verity, lest he lose the only people in the world who matter to him. Verity Plum is an intelligent, passionate woman, who runs the book publisher, Plum & Company, with her younger brother, Nate. She’s a rarity in historical romance novels—not only is she openly bisexual, but she’s proud of her sexuality. When the book opens, Verity is warily navigating the post-breakup waters of the affair she had been having with a good friend, Portia Allenby. She’s convinced that love affairs cannot last forever, and refuses to act on her years-long attraction to Ash. But this is a romance novel, after all, and as Ash says in the book, “She was necessary to him, and he thought he might be necessary to her.” Of course, they act on the attraction. They fall riotously in love, helped along by 19th-century British politics, the risk of sedition, and a very funny, very lascivious novel about Perkin Warbeck and his amatory adventures. By the time Ash realizes that he’s actually the long-missing heir to a dukedom, you’re so invested in the couple that the significant plot point feels like a minor obstacle to them getting their happily-ever-after. Not to mention that the book sparkles with humor. These lines are some of my favorites in the whole novel: “This was a seduction. She was being seduced with cheese and lewd drawings and she could not be happier about it.” What could be better than cheese and historical figures caught in compromising positions? Reading about characters who love both, that’s what. (X-posted to Patreon and Amazon.)
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