- Series: Regency Romance
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Revell (March 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 080072089X
- ISBN-13: 978-0800720896
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,334,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Moonlight Masquerade: A Regency Romance Paperback – March 1, 2013
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From the Back Cover
Sometimes it is hard to tell if you are the cat or the mouse.
Lady Céline Wexham seems the model British subject. French by birth but enjoying life in 1813 as a widowed English countess, she is in the unique position of being able to help those in need--or to spy for the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte.
When Rees Phillips of the British Foreign Office is sent to pose as the countess's butler and discover where her true loyalties lie, he is confident he will uncover the truth. But the longer he is in her fashionable townhouse in London's West End, the more his staunch loyalty to the Crown begins to waver as he falls under Lady Wexham's spell.
Will he find the proof he needs? And if she is a spy after all, what then will he do?
With sharp wit, fast-paced dialogue, and infectious intrigue, Ruth Axtell deftly creates a world where black and white burst into a confusion of colors--and no one is who they seem.
"Intrigue, romance, a clandestine kiss . . . all cast in a Regency setting so magnificently detailed I could see the fabrics and feel the glow of another era. A wonderfully romantic and memorable read!"--Maureen Lang, author of Bees in the Butterfly Garden
"The first paragraph drew me into the story, and the next twist held me there to the end."--Laurie Alice Eakes, author of A Flight of Fancy
"A wonderful romance, graced with expert detail of the Regency period, as well as with Ruth Axtell's usual flair for intensely romantic situations between characters so real I couldn't stop thinking about them."--Melanie Dickerson, two-time Christy Award finalist and author of The Healer's Apprentice and The Merchant's Daughter
About the Author
Ruth Axtell is the author of many novels, including Moonlight Masquerade and Wild Rose, one of Booklist's Top Ten in Christian Fiction. Currently a resident of Downeast Maine, Axtell has lived in the Canary Islands, Miami, and the Netherlands. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
I also do not care for the spacing of the book. Often, the next paragraph would deal with a different person's chain of thoughts or a totally different situation or setting than the previous one. A space or markings in between such paragraphs or even a new chapter would alert the reader of the shift in the story.
Book is clean, with a good dose of history and tepid romance. But for all the spying, totally lacked suspense.
Rees may not be the best candidate for a spy. Celine suspects him pretty early on, and the more he gets to know her, the more drawn he is to the woman. He finds that he is more interested in protecting her than being patriotic to his country. When her life is in danger, will he choose to help her or betray her to his country?
I was a fan of this book for the most part, but the end really dragged on for me. Once we get resolution to the main problem, there was just way too much explanation and randomness for my taste. It ends in a weird way and then you have to read the epilogue for things to get wrapped up.
The next book in this series is called A Heart's Rebellion and is due out February 25, 2014. It follows the story of Jessamine, a minor character in this book. Due to the minimal interactions between Jessamine and the main characters in this book, it seems a safe bet that it would be okay to read these out of order. All in all, a decent read, but I probably wouldn't read any more in the series.
I found this to be a compelling story. The two main characters seem so real and likeable that they’ve stayed with me after I finished the novel. The story is told from both points of view, and I wondered how their opposing viewpoints might be reconciled. I found only one incident of questionable grammar, when commas were needed to make sentences clear. The ending seemed weak to me, especially considering the strength of the rest of the book, but it wasn’t bad enough to warrant a drop from five stars. At least it ended happily, which I appreciate. I also appreciate it shows desire in the romance without bad language or sex scenes.
Rees Phillips has spent a decade toiling away as a clerk in the Foreign Office in London, and has grown a bit despondent that a promotion has not come his way. He is given a chance to prove himself when he is sent to infiltrate the home of Lady Celine Wexham, a suspected spy for the French. Posing as the nephew of her injured butler, Rees is able to assume an interim hold on that position, which allows him access to much of the household and a level of privilege among the servants.
I confess that I started this novel thinking Rees would discover that Lady Wexham wasn't a French spy, but to my surprise it turns out that she actually is! Celine and her mother had fled France during the Reign of Terror, and then Celine was pressured into an unhappy marriage with a wealthy Englishman. Now a widow for three years, Celine still moves in London's first circles but has been recruited to pass along any pertinent information she might discover which would help the war effort in France. She sees this as a way of bringing some meaning to her rather tedious existence.
It does not take long for Celine to detect that her new butler is not all that he says he is. Thus begins a cat and mouse game for Rees and Celine to outwit and catch the other in their suspected activities. Things heat up when Celine takes Rees and other household staff to visit the Count of Provence, the would-be king of France who was in exile in England during the latter part of Napoleon's reign as emperor. While staying at Hartwell House, Rees discovers that Celine's espionage has become suspected by French royalists, and plans against her life have been made. Torn between his duty to his country to unmask Celine as a spy, and what he feels is God's will in protecting her life from her own countrymen, Rees decides to put himself in harm's way for the lonely and intriguing woman.
I found the story a little hard to get into at first, as it's a very character-driven novel, but once the action started I had a hard time putting it down and enjoyed it very much. I learned a lot about England's relationship with France during this time period, which was a unique bonus. I'd recommend this novel to all fans of Regency fiction or historical fiction in general. I look forward to reading more books by this author in the future.