A really cute, historical-fiction female/non-binary romance
This was a really cute, historical-fiction romance. I’m a big fan of queer Regency romances so I was happy that this was as fun as I hoped. It had a great cast of characters, a strong romance, and a fun side story that kept me turning the pages. While this is the second book in the series, I did not read the first book and I don’t feel like I missed anything. Ridley fills in the few holes that I needed to know so it really is fine if you start here.
I really liked that this was a female/non-binary romance. Tommy, -pronoun her- is a master of disguise and enjoys playing the role of both men and women. The other main is Philippa, a highborn Lady, who would rather read her books than be shopped around for a husband. When Tommy and her family are asked to help one of Philippa’s friends, Philippa wants in on all the scheming too. The more she and Tommy are together the more feels start to develop, but everyone knows Philippa must marry a man with a title so how could they ever actually be together?
The characters are very enjoyable and I liked Tommy’s whole family. Her sword-swinging sister Elizabeth especially was a really fun secondary character. While I have a feeling that this book would be the only queer romance of the series, I would still consider reading Elizabeth’s story. The main characters were great, with the one exception that I thought Tommy got a little whinny near the end. While this is a HEA romance, I wasn’t completely crazy about how the actual ending happened, as it didn’t seem as in tune with the time period and I felt like everything fell on one character’s shoulders instead of more compromise. But besides that one issue, I really thought all the characters were well done.
The romance itself is very well written and enjoyable. I would not call it slow burn or insta love, instead, it had a good medium pace. The chemistry really builds up nicely between the characters and the sex scenes themselves were well done and feel very passionate which is what one wants in a Regency romance. This book also has a bit of a heist feel as Tommy’s family is trying to take down a bad guy so you had a good balance between the romance and the bit of heist fun.
Lastly, I do have to mention, as Leah did in her review, that the cover does not fit the characters. Philippa, is described as having beautiful curves and Tommy is the most comfortable in trousers and a plain shirt. It just does not feel like a true representation of the characters to me –even though it is a nice cover.
TLDR: This was a super cute, yet steamy, Regency romance. The whole cast of characters is great and the book is very fun to read. There is a small heist element to give the book a little excitement, and a chemistry-filled romance to take up the rest of the pages. I would easily recommend this to historical-fiction romance fans and queer Regency romance fans. 4.25 Stars.
A copy was given to me for a review.