The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by: Cat Sebastian

Releases: June 7th, 2022

The Queer Principles of Kit Webb Review

Cat Sebastian returns to Georgian London with a stunning tale of a reluctant criminal and the thief who cannot help but love her.

Marian Hayes, the Duchess of Clare, just shot her husband. Of course, the evil, murderous man deserved what was coming to him, but now she must flee to the countryside. Unfortunately, the only person she can ask for help is the charismatic criminal who is blackmailing her–and who she may have left tied up a few hours before…

A highwayman, con artist, and all-around cheerful villain, Rob Brooks is no stranger to the wrong side of the law or the right side of anybody’s bed. He never meant to fall for the woman whose secrets he promised to keep for the low price of five hundred pounds, but how could he resist someone who led him on a merry chase all over London, left him tied up in a seedy inn, and then arrived covered in her husband’s blood and in desperate need of his help?

As they flee across the country–stopping to pick pockets, drink to excess, and rescue invalid cats–they discover more true joy and peace than either has felt in ages. But when the truth of Rob’s past catches up to him, they must decide if they are willing to reshape their lives in order to forge a future together.

I received an ARC, ahead of the June release, from Avon Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Content Warnings: Detailed sex scenes, murder, violence, blood/gore, confinement, gun violence, and loved one with dementia. Mention of: a difficult and life-threatening pregnancy, bigamy, implied marital rape, and emotional abuse.

When I first read the summary of this book I knew I needed to read it, so when I found out I could get an ARC through Avon, for being part of their influencer program, I jumped at the chance. Having read THE QUEER PRINCIPLES OF KIT WEBB right before I was excited to see Rob and Marian’s journey unfold.

From a young age, Marian has done what it takes to protect those closest to her, no matter the cost, even if it means potentially living a life on the run…if anyone were to reveal that she, not a highway robber, was the one to shoot her husband. Never having committed such a crime before Marian is unsure of what to do so she elicits the help of the highwayman that’s been blackmailing her, really it’s the least he could do.

Having been gone a year, letting his closest friends and family believe him dead, Rob found himself looking forward to each and every correspondence with Marian, though it started as blackmail he feels a connection to Marian even before meeting her face to face. Normally a Robin Hoodesque highway robber Rob feels a lot of guilt for blackmailing Marian so when she appears, covered in her husband’s blood, Rob is determined to help her in any way he can.

I absolutely adored both of these characters so much. Between their inner thoughts and dialogue with each other, I found myself laughing so much. The way Rob pays so much attention to Marian’s body language, whether to alleviate her stress by changing the subject of their conversation or to ensure she feels safe and comfortable during more intimate moments…I just loved how much he genuinely cared about her feelings.

Marian is able to see how much Rob missed his friends and family, by reading between the lines of his letters and urges him to return to them before Marian even met him. She’s in awe of how easy it is for Rob to turn strangers into friends as fast as he does and how happy he seems to be no matter what he’s doing. Marian hasn’t trusted anyone, aside from Percy, in a very long time but the more she gets to know Rob she realizes maybe she can add one more person to the list.

Between the sweet romance developing between Marian and Rob and the shenanigans, they get themselves into over the course of the book, I absolutely adored every second! This couple will definitely be one that stays with me for a long time. I’m not sure if Cat plans on writing more books within this universe but I desperately hope that she does.

Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

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