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The Marquis of Westmarch (1989) was Frances Vernon’s fifth novel, and perhaps her most original and richly imagined work, fit to stand comparison with Théophile Gautier’s famous gender-bending historical romance Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835).
Its protagonist is Meriel Longmaster, a handsome and well-liked nobleman who conceals a secret known only to the loyal steward who has known him since youth. Meriel begins to feel the need to confide that secret in another, while sensing, rightly, that this will have dire consequences.
‘A book which combines the narrative excitement of Georgette Heyer with the sexual premises of Germaine Greer … a provocative and lively presentation of feminist issues.’ Caroline Brandenburger, Independent
‘A fantastic, haunting, and extremely well-written story of love and death.’ Philippa Toomey, The Times