ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
http://www.nancymoser.com/ and http://www.sistercircles.com/.
ABOUT THE BOOK
They risk it all for adventure and romance, but find that love only flourishes in truth...
1886, New York City: Charlotte Gleason, a rich heiress from England, escapes a family crisis by traveling to America in order to marry the even wealthier Conrad Tremaine.
She soon decides that an arranged marriage is not for her and persuades her maid, Dora, to take her place. She wants a chance at "real life," even if it means giving up financial security. For Charlotte, it's a risk she's willing to take. What begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl wanting adventure becomes a test of survival amid poverty beyond Charlotte's blackest nightmares.
As for Dora, it's the chance of a lifetime. She lives a fairy tale complete with gowns, jewels, and lavish mansions--yet is tormented by guilt from the possibility of discovery and the presence of another love that will not die. Is this what her heart truly longs for?
Will their masquerade be discovered? Will one of them have second thoughts? There is no guarantee the switch will work. It's a risk. It's the chance of a lifetime.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Masquerade, go HERE.
View the book trailer:
I have to admit that I had mixed feelings before I started Masquerade. Stupid me read a few less-than-stellar reviews of this book, and I immediately set myself up for a disappointed reading experience. Well, let's just call me stupid to the 10th power because Masquerade was an AWESOME book!!! I've only recently become slightly addicted to everything about the Gilded Age, so this book was right up my alley.
There are so many great things about this novel that I almost don't know where to begin. Let's start with the fashion. Nancy did a LOT of research about the clothing and jewelry of this period that it was so easy to visualize, even without the aid of the Harper's Bazaar and Bloomingdale's photos in the back. I felt for Dora and Charlotte as they had to wear such heavy dresses and undergarments because the "poof-ier" your dress, the richer you were.
I also loved all the details of what it meant to be a lady in the Gilded Age: always greet dignitaries by their title (your lordship, your ladyship, etc.), remove your gloves at the dinner table and place them in your lap, do not go out in public without a proper headpiece, etc. From a young age, Charlotte is taught all of these things that are proper and expected of her. And then, bless her heart, she's got to teach Dora everything she knows in just a few days so they can succeed with their masquerade.
Another incredible feature of the book was the experience of New York City as an immigrant. So many people traveled there to escape bad situations that it must have been like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. The conditions in the slums were simply awful, and through Nancy's masterful writing, it was not hard to envision. I felt like I could smell the mustiness of the closed, cramped spaces and the horrid odor of garbage that no one cared to clean up.
Those are just a few snippets of what I loved about this spectacular novel. Even though I've read several of Nancy's contemporary novels, this is the first historical novel of hers that I've read (hanging my head in shame). Now, it's a must on my to-do list that I need to pull out either the one about Jane Austen or maybe the one about Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I can't believe I've put those off! Oh, and if Nancy decides she needs to write another Gilded Age novel, you better believe that I'll be first in line to get a copy of it!
**Thanks to Bethany House through CFBA for providing a copy for review.