The Marquis of Westmarch

Frances Vernon

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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 ThĂ©ophile 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


Frances Vernon was born on December 1 1963, and raised on the Sudbury Estate in Derbyshire. At the age of 18 she embarked upon a writing career, and would complete six novels in the space of ten years. Privileged Children (1982) won the Author’s Club Award for Best First Novel, and the Daily Express praised its ‘genuine sparkle and invention.’…

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