The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
"Kit Webb has left his stand-and-deliver days behind him. But dreary days at his coffee shop have begun to make him pine for the heady rush of thievery. When a handsome yet arrogant aristocrat storms into his shop, Kit quickly realizes he may be unable to deny whatever this highborn man desires.
In order to save himself and a beloved friend, Percy, Lord Holland must go against every gentlemanly behavior he holds dear to gain what he needs most: a book that once belonged to his mother, a book his father never lets out of his sight and could be Percy’s savior. More comfortable in silk-filled ballrooms than coffee shops frequented by criminals, his attempts to hire the roughly hewn highwayman, formerly known as Gladhand Jack, proves equal parts frustrating and electrifying.
Kit refuses to participate in the robbery but agrees to teach Percy how to do the deed. Percy knows he has little choice but to submit and as the lessons in thievery begin, he discovers thievery isn’t the only crime he’s desperate to commit with Kit.
But when their careful plan goes dangerously wrong and shocking revelations threaten to tear them apart, can these stolen hearts overcome the impediments in their path?"
Thank you to NetGalley for this electronic ARC! The Queer Principles of Kit Webb is a snarky, mysterious, playful, and heartfelt book placed in (what seems to be) 1700s England. As the title implies, these two leading men find themselves attracted to one another at first sight despite their drastic differences. Percy is a pampered but sweet highborn man and Kit is a good-hearted, mysterious, and bored coffee shop owner with a thieving past that commoners sing about. I love historical romances and this romance trope. Each time Kit and Percy interact, he can't help but feel his grumpiness slip away.
What makes this novel so different from many romance books is that it confronts capitalism through Kit's hatred of nobility. While stealing from nobles gave him a thrill, it was also something he did out of principle. This brought a lot more depth to the character and an overall message against those who hoard wealth. Naturally, privilege is also centered in more than one conversation between the lovers.
Sebastian's writing was filled with clever and funny quips as well as thoughtful character building. All that seemed to be missing was the revelation of Percy's final plan. So as not to provide any spoilers, I'll just say that skipping over the resolution into an epilogue was frustrating. Percy mentioned how smart his plan was multiple times and then the reader is left to only imagine based on a few of his actions leading up to this deed. I would have given this book 5 stars if the plan was included.
The Queer Principles of Kit Webb is a wonderful addition to anyone's collection of queer historical romances! I highly recommend it to those who also enjoy stories of kindhearted criminals.