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Masque (The Two Monarchies Sequence) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 335 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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A reimagining of the Beauty and the Beast tale, Masque has a remarkable freshness and a unique approach. It is light and funny with charming characters -- in spite of the rather dreadful murders that occur.
Lady Isabella Farrah is the daughter of Civet's Ambassador to Glause and a very independent minded, happily unmarried spinster in her late twenties. Attending the Annual Ambassadorial Ball, Isabella finds herself besieged by the much younger Lord Topher, who seems determined to fall in love with her. Isabella has no intentions of letting his budding interest go further, but wants to let him down gently.
In the meantime, Lord Pecus does catch her interest. Known as the Beast Lord, Lord Pecus is under a curse and always wears a masque. Her friend Dylesia has done her best to dislodge the masque, quite unsuccessfully. This piques Isabella's curiosity.
Then events at the ball go haywire when an old and trusted friend is murdered and suspected of espionage. And away we go.
Isabella is a daunting investigator. Gathering allies who are dedicated and a little in awe of her, she proceeds at will to tackle the twists that occur. Even when she ends up as a hostage, Isabella manages to untangle many of the threads to the mystery.
I loved the dialogue. Isabella is never at a loss for just the right words for the occasion. Gingell has created amusing, articulate characters who romp through the pages, enjoying themselves immensely.
A light, clever, and engaging fairy tale retelling that manages to be fresh and original.
I had 3 minor quibbles. I won't mention them here, but don't think that they put me off the book. It was great fun!
Kindle purchase. :) for .99 and well worth it!
Fairy Tale/Fantasy. 2015. print version: 335 pages.
I haven't read this author before, but this was a really fun read and I'm certainly going to look for other books by W. R. Gringell.
I can't tell you how many B&B and fairy-tale themed books I've read over the decades. Most are OK. This one, thankfully, played around only loosely (and in an amusing way) with the Beauty and Beast elements, but went off happily on it's own way with solid world-building (Isabella is aiding her Ambassador father in a neighboring kingdom), and focus (lots of murder and intrigue and comedy of manners--with romance being a thread, but not really the main feature).
I loved the mash-up of fantasy/alt.history sort of Regency/ adventure-intrigue/ murder-mystery/ magic vs. tech/ feisty heroine who still observes (some) of the proprieties/ hero who isn't stepping in to save the day. Definitely lots of fun.
Heroine is 28 years old, so while this can be read by YA readers, this is fine for the more adult reader, too.
This story mixes the intrigue of a murder-mystery thriller and the high society setting of a historical romance with the magic and sorcery of a fantasy novel. I absolutely loved it. This was a bit longer work than the novellas that initially got me to read Gingell's work, but it moves at a steady clip and I was never sure quite what to expect.
It's nice to finally have a heroine in a "girly" society that likes the "girly" things while still taking names and running the show. Isabella is feminine with the graces of the most proficient socialite, but hardcore and kind-hearted. I low-key want to be her. I also loved that she didn't take it easy on Pecus...AT ALL. Their banter and constantly trying to outmaneuver each other made this story all the better.
Lord Pecus is Mr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, and Aragorn rolled into one. If WHEN you read it, you'll see what I mean. ALL THE HEART EYES TO THIS MAN, OKAY?
Also, we have a story with a heroine who has actual friends! Female friends and more than one. They talk girl talk and political talk and actually matter to the storyline! It's revolutionary, people!
I honestly have no idea what order these books are supposed to be read, but this one makes sense on its own. I'm preordering the upcoming one and have downloaded the others. I love how this author writes and 100% recommend pretty much anything she's written.
I did find the conclusion a little bit abrupt and the epilogue a little less than what I would've wanted. However, that is really my only complaint in the entire book.
I do seem to have read the books out of order as this is my first W.R. Gingell book, but it will certainly not be my last . Since Gingell is an indie author, I was also extremely impressed with the editing as it is not uncommon to become so involved in the errors in an indie writer's book that you lose the pleasure of the book. That was certainly not the case here.
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Gingell's spin on the story we know is refreshing.Read more