I mostly read SF or fantasy, but I also enjoy a good queer romance or mystery once in a while. So this year I’m trying to expand my reading to cover a bit more of that (if it’s a SFF romance or mystery it’s even better!) and I’d been looking for more regency/historical F/F. I’ve been recommended this novella a few times, and enjoyed Unmasked by the Marquess by the same author, so I thought I’d give it a go!
A seductive thief
Lady’s maid Molly Wilkins is done with thieving—and cheating and stabbing and all the rest of it. She’s determined to keep her hands to herself, so she really shouldn’t be tempted to seduce her employer’s prim and proper companion, Alice. But how can she resist when Alice can’t seem to keep her eyes off Molly?
Finds her own heart
For the first time in her life, Alice Stapleton has absolutely nothing to do. The only thing that seems to occupy her thoughts is a lady’s maid with a sharp tongue and a beautiful mouth. Her determination to know Molly’s secrets has her behaving in ways she never imagined as she begins to fall for the impertinent woman.
Has been stolen
When an unwelcome specter from Alice’s past shows up unexpectedly at a house party, Molly volunteers to help the only way she knows how: with a little bit of mischief.
Trigger warnings – sexual abuse, emotional/physical abuse, alcoholism
This novella is part of a bigger series, but it read perfectly fine as a standalone. My main complaint is that it is on the short side, and I’d have liked a bit more detailed/longer pining.
The romance itself is sweet and fun, with both leads unsure if their feelings are really reasonable, considering their positions.
Alice’s backstory is quite dark, hence the content warnings, but I liked how that was handled. Molly fully believes her, and supports her, which for me was the turning point in rooting for their relationship. There’s also a bit of revenge going on, which in the current context was quite cathartic, I’ve got to say. Without spoiling, I can say the ending was quite satisfying and made me really happy – beyond the usual Happy Ever After that you expect from a romance.
I also really enjoy historical romance that’s not just about the dukes and earls and whatnot, but about the common people, and the poorer among the gentry, so this ticked quite a lot of boxes for me.
I just hope Cat Sebastian writes more women loving women stories. I’ll be here waiting for them, anyway!
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