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The Queer Principles of Kit Webb

by Cat Sebastian

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875248,631 (4.17)3

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Ok I want to rate this lower but can’t bring myself to, so I just have to deal with knowing this disappointed me. There were way too many secrets being held, and I was rather bored with them all instead of intrigued. Kit and Percy were both lovely, and I’m glad they got their HFN since there’s still more side story to tell in a future book (I mean WTF Marian you left your child). ( )
  spinsterrevival | Sep 18, 2021 |

My Review: I've been able to write harsh reviews before. It should be a doddle to write a happy one, right?

Wrong...when I'm happy, where I expected to be and really almost was, ecstatic.

First and foremost, however, let me assure anyone who likes historical fiction featuring men who get it on with other men that this is a very satisfying example of the genre. Despite the W-bomb dropped at the 17% mark. (At least it was just the one.)

I was utterly delighted by the odd-couple pairing of the future Duke with the highwayman. I was even glad that the couple took a goodly time getting down to business...I'm sure the rational side of an author of M/M romantic novels knows the inflection point of first sexual contact between men is likely to be the source of a sizable, um, payoff for their readers. Knowing it's, erm, coming and being teased to wait for it can be a lot of fun!

Until the magic moment slips by...and it becomes a Thursday-night fuck.

I was 95% there by the time the deed got done, and was fairly resigned to the men having an old-fashioned "the fire flickered and died" fade-to-black coupling. That's not really Author Sebastian's métier, but people are allowed to change and try different things. Going over half the story without the act of consummation was almost too long. It was risky to use alternating PoVs in the story, given the lateness of the sex, because it really risked disinvesting the reader in the when-will-they. There was no question that they wouldn't, of course, but waiting so long to give us the reward when we weren't able to follow one character's perspective on the cost of delay resulted in a certain distancing and detachment...we had no sense of why the particular choice that was made in the final analysis was made. It felt as surprising to me as it must've felt to the men themselves. And yet we dwelt on it not at all!
Webb frequented neither church nor tavern nor anywhere even remotely interesting. Percy had become momentarily intrigued when he realized how often Webb went to the baths, but the man seemed to spend his time there actually bathing, so Percy resumed being unimpressed.
Kit was usually very good at controlling this sort of urge. Hopping into bed with attractive strangers had never appealed to him very much anyway. It always seemed like a lot of hassle {anachronism; coinage not attested until 1945} and risk for pleasure that never quite lived up to one's expectations. And that was with women; with men things were even more complicated because a heaping great dose of danger was thrown into the bargain.
And yet this monadnock of reticence chooses the loss of virginity that most men quail before! This didn't square with what I'd been told, nor was I privy to anything in the cross-talk of the book that would let me think anything other than, "do what now? where'd that even come from?!"

There are Author Sebastian's trademark delightful aperçus, of course, like this delicious pair:
“I used to think that revenge was about defending one’s honor, but it turns out that honor is just spite dressed up for Sunday.”
Percy realized he had had it all wrong when he told Kit that honor is just spite dressed up; spite was honor when it was the only weapon you had against someone more powerful.
Thesis, meet antithesis...and both are equally true. Inarguably so. Doesn't something in you resound with the truth in each of these?

Then came a serious issue I felt really didn't get anything like the time it needed to build up to: the return of the wanderer, and the foreshadowing of the real stakes in what I feel sure now is going to be a series. I can't really say more, and was encouraged to say even less (ie, nothing at all) but there's a reason I want to tell you that you're going to need to brace yourself.

In life, as we live it, there are no unmixed emotions, no purely experienced peak moments. We drag the past with us and chuck it up as a screen to avoid looking into the nothingness of the unlived future. The present is almost never enough to really distract us from the blank wall we can choose what to project onto, but more often choose to see in all its void-of-glory through a ragged curtain of life as it was.

When that happens in fiction, it's of necessity a surprise. What stakes there are, however, are utterly and totally on the line for the author. One false step, one gesture misplaced or misused, and the trust between reader and author can crumble. It almost did for me when the past came to haunt the future.

If this is the first time you're reading one of Author Sebastian's books, put it down and pick up The Turners series or the Seducing the Sedgwicks series here and here. They lack this authorial high-wire act, and building your trust in Author Sebastian's landings being solid, if not precisely the one you're expecting, is necessary not to experience disorientation.

The fact that this will be a series is worth noting as well, since there are people whose actions and inactions we need to know more about before they make full sense. And there are some actions that are, to put it mildly, aren't easy to gloss over...and I don't mean the one many will blench at.

So take this as a solid encouragement to pick up and savor the book for existing fans, with the note to set aside some established patterns; and a shove in the direction of the previous reads by Author Sebastian for new readers. For here be pleasures you should definitely not deny yourself or remain without. We need happy distractions from ugly reality...what better way than to see love conquering the many barriers folk decide to allow there to be in its free and complete exercise. ( )
  richardderus | Jun 14, 2021 |
After being shot on his last hold-up and arrested, Kit escaped but was hurt during the hold-up and has a bad leg and a limp. He can no longer ply his trade and now owns a coffee shop where Lord Holland comes looking for a highwayman. Kit cannot do the job but he will train Percy, Lord Holland, how to do it. Naturally, their attraction for each other gets in the way.

I liked this book. I liked Kit. Percy talks a lot. The secondary characters are good although Percy's father we only learn from what Percy tells us and Kit thinks of him. I liked Betty. She is doing her best to keep Kit on the straight and narrow but she does not have much room to talk, being a fence, as well as Kit's waitress. The whole story finally comes out in the end as to who is who but it does not matter since Kit and Percy get their happily ever after. That is all I wanted for the two of them. They cannot stay mad at each other but they do improve life for each other. ( )
  Sheila1957 | Jun 9, 2021 |
I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+. All opinions are my own. The Queer Principles of Kit Webb is a M/M friends-to-lovers romance that was simply a delight to read.
Kit Webb is at a turning point in his life, his career as a highwayman has ended because of a leg injury. He has his coffeehouse to run, but he’s not sure that that is what he wants to do with the rest of his life as he misses the excitement of his previous career. Edward Percy Talbot, Lord Holland is being blackmailed, and if the information the blackmailer has is made public, he stands to lose everything that he thought was his birthright. When Percy tries to hire Kitt to obtain the book that was his mother’s most prized possession, these two opposites discover that they have more in common than one would think, and their friendship grows to something more. The book is by turns heartwarming, funny, adventurous, with twists and turns to keep your attention until the very last page. I loved that these two curmudgeonly heroes find the sunshine in each other and highly recommend this book. Steam Level: Medium. Publishing Date: June 8. 2021. #Avon Romance #HarperCollinsCanada #MMRomance #HistoricalRomance #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #TheQueerPrinciplesOfKitWebb #CatSebastian ( )
  nmgski | Jun 8, 2021 |
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Since laws were made for every degree,
To curb vice in others, as well as me,
I wonder we han't better company,
Upon Tyburn Tree;
But gold from law can take out the sting,
And if rich men like us were to swing,
'Twould thin the land, such numbers to string,
Upon Tyburn Tree.

--John Gay, The Beggars' Opera, 1728
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Kit Webb had principles.
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