This book was really good. I tore through it in a Saturday morning and ignored my fiancée when she tried to talk to me because I HAD TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED NEXT.
This romance novel's view of queerness appears very historically rooted but not focused on homophobia despite one of the major plot points being the fear of and eventual discovery of Fleming's hidden gender. .
I enjoyed the sparse style of the storytelling - the narrative focus is on dialogue and despite various flashbacks, a lot of the book relies on nuance and implication. Show not tell indeed. It is very jumpy, in places, particularly when the POV shifts around Fleming. I was able to follow it, by and large, but I did have to reread a couple places to see where the scene shifted.
The way the relationship grows between Harriet and Fleming is very organic feeling, including the way they handle Fleming's own PTSD and grief over the loss of her men. It reminded me a bit of [b:Lady Knight|596662|Lady Knight|L.-J. Baker|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1360795632s/596662.jpg|583331]'s romance, although *this* book has a much more happy ending where the characters get to live how they want.
I also particularly liked how Harriet and Sherbourne's relationship was painted - it's a dynamic that rings very real, based on a history you get glimpses of but can feel is there. Same with Sherbourne and Fleming. Also, everyone changes and grows as characters! I love sweet sweet character growth.
The historical period is painted with small everyday details that makes it feel so much more grounded in reality than most of the historical romance novels I've read. But it's also not like someone slapped a romance into their dissertation and called it a day.
I hope the author writes more books in this universe and gives us glimpses of Harry and Nora being happy and married. :)