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The Grand Masquerade (Bold Women of the 19th Century Series) Kindle Edition
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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After their deaths Sydnee walked for weeks searching for a new beginning, and was hired to work in New Orleans for a wealthy man’s 16-year-old son. Instead, she and Tristan became the best of friends. He introduced her to his neighbor Isabel, who became her first female friend, and a stable worker Mortimer. Soon the four were inseparable.
As the years passed Madame Sauveterre matured into a lovely young woman, and Tristan made sure she had a place in high society. The four friends continued their deep bond of friendship, made ever closer due to secrets they all shared. In time this deception will lead to them making decisions that will change the courses of their lives.
I enjoyed reading about the friends and their grand masquerade, even though Sydnee’s rise from poverty, and Isabel’s deep secret seemed a bit far-fetched to me. Though labeled as #1 in Hughes’ new series, “Grand Masquerade” is a standalone book.
Recommended for Adult readers who like a bit of history and romance in their stories.
The book begins in the Natchez Trace, where a young and pregnant fourteen year old girl survives with the help of some unorthodox friends. Fortunately for her she has a mother figure that protects her and educates her in the ways of Hoodoo. Her father is a cruel man that offers her daughter to men that visit their spot on the Trace. Sydnee Sauveterre escapes her brutal life and eventually finds herself in awe of the life that was now open to her.
The author goes in great detail when describing New Orleans in the 1800’s, from the structures of the buildings, to the beautiful courtyards, the elegant gowns and the grand lifestyle of the well to do. But hidden behind the beauty are dangers of illicit love affairs, cruelty of enslavement, destitute families with children whose lives were lost to common diseases of that time. Sydnee’s social status rises but her spirit becomes weary of the soirees she is famous for hosting. She eventually finds purpose in her life, all the while keeping the secrets that entwine her and her four closest friends.
Just when it seems that love has skipped over Sydnee, she finds a man that is both arrogant and irritating. In turn, Dr. Fletcher finds Sydnee spoiled and pampered. But the romance builds slowly, and I was completely enamored with their relationship.
This novel is one of those that you wish could go on. At 90% I found myself a bit sad knowing that the story would soon end. Do not miss out on this book if you love historical fiction. The romantic tale of all the characters was a bonus, but I believe the reader will further appreciate the author’s effortless and eloquent style of writing, her imagination, and her love of all things New Orleans.
It’s been twenty years, since I’ve had a true beignet. I think I’m due for one soon.
The characters are fully developed and it is easy to feel you can in your mind that you are standing with them in their adventures. The author developed a story line, or story lines, which even make the environment and time flow, are easy to pull in the reader.
When the reader picks up this book they may find that there appears to be more than one story line.
1) The story of a physical and sexually abused 25 year old girl who rises to the Grande Dame of the New Orleans society.
2) Or a story of a group of friends participating in a grand Masquerade. There are two gay men, two token wives, a forbidden love, and a Grande Dame of Society.
3) The story of a women’s effort to protect the abused women and children of New Orleans and teen age slave trade.
Or you might find that the author does a wonderful job of weaving the three stories in to one great book. I strongly recommend this book for your enjoyment.